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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.

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.
Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

Johnvan61's profile picture

Posts: 9
Johnvan61 on Jun 20, 2014June 20th, 2014, 10:47 am EDT
I have fly fished for almost 30 years , seems like a nice informative site. Most of my fishing was done in western Massachusetts and northwestern Connecticutt. I have been itching to go to Montana for years now. If I do where would a "tenderfoot" like me go for a first time self guided trip? Thanks---John
"my mind is like oatmeal"
Martinlf's profile picture
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Jun 22, 2014June 22nd, 2014, 7:52 pm EDT
John, welcome to the site. One of our members more informed about the West than I will probably respond soon.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Gus's profile picture

Posts: 59
Gus on Jun 23, 2014June 23rd, 2014, 11:57 am EDT
Welcome John!
I haven't fished there myself but a buddy of mine fishes the Thompson outside of Kalispell every year and has had great success.
When were you thinking of headed down there?
"How do you help that son of a bitch?"

"By taking him fishing"

-A River Runs Through It

Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Jun 23, 2014June 23rd, 2014, 5:16 pm EDT
Hi John,

Welcome to the forum.

It's a big state - do you have a region in mind? If you are going self-guided without access to a driftboat, it's hard to beat the Park for your first visit. Trying to reserve a day or two on one of the Paradise Valley spring creeks would be good as well.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Johnvan61's profile picture

Posts: 9
Johnvan61 on Jun 24, 2014June 24th, 2014, 4:00 am EDT
Thanks for the welcome. I am thinking if I am able to do it this year I will try in the fall, Maybe September or October.---John
"my mind is like oatmeal"
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Jun 24, 2014June 24th, 2014, 3:58 pm EDT
I've fished Montana over forty times. Back when I was a younger fellow I would spend June, July, and August trying my luck on many rivers in SW Montana. I've only used a guide twice in all the hundreds of days I've fished out there. Admittedly there are some big rivers where a good guide is necessary but there are dozens and dozens of smaller rivers and streams where you can wade fish without a guide.

As Kurt mentioned it would be hard to beat fishing in YNP for your first western experience. You can fish the Madison, Gibbon, Firehole, Lewis River, Lamar & Soda Butte rivers and dozens of lesser known waters.

Another option to fishing in YNP would be to base in Ennis, MT as the Madison flows right through town. The better water would be south of Ennis about 30+ miles. You could start around the Three Dollar Bridge and keep moving back to Ennis as the day progresses. While still in Ennis you could take a day trip over to Dillon to fish the Beaverhead or go to the Melrose area and try the Big Hole. Both the Beaverhead and especially the Big Hole can be severely dewatered in the summer time due to the demands of irrigation so you would want to keep your eyes on the USGS site for Montana as well as calling Frontier Anglers in Dillon for stream reports.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.

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