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Lateral view of a Female Hexagenia limbata (Ephemeridae) (Hex) Mayfly Dun from the Namekagon River in Wisconsin
Hex Mayflies
Hexagenia limbata

The famous nocturnal Hex hatch of the Midwest (and a few other lucky locations) stirs to the surface mythically large brown trout that only touch streamers for the rest of the year.

Lateral view of a Onocosmoecus (Limnephilidae) (Great Late-Summer Sedge) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
This specimen keys pretty easily to Onocosmoecus, and it closely resembles a specimen from Alaska which caddis expert Dave Ruiter recognized as this genus. As with that specimen, the only species in the genus documented in this area is Onocosmoecus unicolor, but Dave suggested for that specimen that there might be multiple not-yet-distinguished species under the unicolor umbrella and it would be best to stick with the genus-level ID. I'm doing the same for this one.
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
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Ike
MN

Posts: 14
Ike on Feb 4, 2013February 4th, 2013, 6:49 am EST
hey trout nuts i'm planning a trout fishing trip to montana next june. ill be staying a few nights in three forks and the rest of the two weeks right outside of missoula. in addition to fishing the large madison and Gallatin rivers id love to get to some smaller creeks and streams around missoula. just wondering if anyone could help me out a bit? id also love any possible information on patterns i should be tying or any other info that could help me out? thank you in advance!
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Feb 4, 2013February 4th, 2013, 4:37 pm EST
Hey Ike,

Have you done a Troutnut search for this inquiry? You are askig for what might be alot of data and some of the answers may already exist in the archives.

While I've fished Montana for over forty years almost all of my fishing has been in SW Montana in the Dillon, Ennis, and Bozeman areas. Now I fish the Missouri river which is still east of Missoula.

When exactly are you planning to go in June? When you say "next June" do you mean 2013 or 2014? I just heard today that some parts of Monatana already have 100% snow pack and there are still two and a half months of winter in front of us.

You need to get the USGS web site and click on "Water Resources" and then click on Montana, and then find a gaging site for rivers in the Missoula area like the Blackfoot, Rock Creek, Clarks Fork, etc. Those sites show not only current cfs data but also the average historic cfs flows for that day.
You need to determine what a good wadeable cfs flow is for the rivers you intend to fish so when you get out there you won't be disappointed if they are too high and you will be able to create some fall back trips to waters that are not blown out due to snow melt.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Feb 4, 2013February 4th, 2013, 4:38 pm EST
Since few of us seem to hale from that area, you may not get many replies here; but what I'd do is to go into a couple of local fly shops after arriving, buy some stuff, talk a bit with the guys at the counter, then ask them for tips.

Oh, I just saw Matt's reply. Yes, June can be blown out depending on when the snowpack melts. One other thing you might do is call some of the shops ahead to see how conditions are shaping up, and to make some contingency plans. Some of the guys will talk over the phone and give you some tips. But the best ones often come after you've talked a bit person to person.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Ike
MN

Posts: 14
Ike on Feb 5, 2013February 5th, 2013, 5:39 pm EST
im planning for late june to early july of 2013 ive heard they have a lot of run off usually in early summer but that its usually cleared up by july. hoping this will hold true for 2013 as well. i truly do appreciate all the help and ill definitely explore the ideas youve both shared!
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Feb 6, 2013February 6th, 2013, 2:50 am EST
Ike wrote,

"im planning for late june to early july of 2013 ive heard they have a lot of run off usually in early summer but that its usually cleared up by july."

Normally this would be considered a correct assumption. But one thing not normal in Montana is the weather. Rivers and stream conditions (flow volumes) in the spring and early summer are a resultant of winter snow packs in the higher elevations. The tailwater I fish in Montana normally has very wadeable levels by July 01. However in 2008 the entire watershed was blown out with flows of over 12,000 cfs throughout much of July and I had to regroup and fish in lower elevations where the mountain snows had already melted.

In 2011 the prior winter snow pack was well over 150% of normal and all the rivers were so high that I cancelled my entire MT trip for 2011. I've been in touch with a number of people in south & mid western Montana since the beginning of the year and they are indicating that the snow pack is already at 100%. There still remains at least another seven weeks of potential regular snow fall. Then you have early spring rains to contend with.

Bearing this in mind you need to remain flexible and be willing to recognize that where you really wanted to fish may be blown out and you might have to drive elsewhere to find good water conditions. You'll be wanting to consider smaller rivers and streams that are the feeders and tributaries of the larger river systems as they will drop in volume sooner than the big rivers they feed. Look to lower altitude watersheds as the snow will melt quicker on mountains with less altitude. The Big Horn river is an option because it emanates from huge reservoir and for at least a decade the flow regime below Yellowtail Dam has been significantly reduced to allow recreational boaters in the reservoir more water to reach their docks and launch their boats.

Their are a number of spring creeks in the Livingston, Bozeman, Dillon, and Belgrade area that will remain pretty much static in the their flow because they begin in underground aquifers and are not dependent on snow or run-off for their flow. Some are pay fisheries and some are free. All have superb insect life and hatches and you will be fishing over well conditioned wild trout.

All I'm saying is you will be able to fish somewhere in Montana during your trip as long as you are prepared to explore other water sheds and you have brought the correct rods, lines, and flies to cover a broad spectrum of fishing possibilities.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.

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