2018, The Year In Review

We want to start off by thanking everyone who fished with us in the 2018 season. Without your support Trout On The Fly and its team would not be where we are at today, so thank you!


We came into 2018 with a fantastic snowpack that would set us up for a fantastic year, and it was fantastic! The snow we received during the winter of 2017-2018 was stacked high and much needed coming off of several seasons with low water levels, high water temperatures, river closures and some fish mortality. 2018 had none of these issues; water was high, cool, and the fish were happy! Once spring and the warm weather arrived, the much needed water started to flow, refilling reservoirs such as Hebgen Lake (on the Madison River) and Holter Lake (on the Missouri River). Our Missouri River jet boat and drift boat trips battled high water all the way into early July. For the nymph and streamer anglers, the fishing during this high water was great. The dry fly game was hit or miss and seemed to be more miss than hit. The Madison River fished very well during run-off in the walk and wade section from Raynolds Bridge to Palisades as the high water pushed the fish into the slower water behind boulders and tight to the banks.The highlight to the 2018 season was our terrestrial fishing, hoppers in particular. I have been guiding the Madison, Yellowstone, Gallatin and Missouri Rivers for over 20 years and this was one of the best hopper fishing seasons I have experienced in my career! Every day our guides and I asked each other “if today is the day they will stop eating the hoppers?” And the answer was NO, they kept on eating the hopper well into September, amazing!One thing we cannot control is the fishing. After coming off of a spectacular hopper season we anticipated a fall run equally as exciting, but such was not the case. Our fall run out of Hebgen Lake, Ennis Lake and Holter Lake were not up to our usual standards. This was the report across the board. Despite this, we still caught quality fish and I would always suggest fall fishing for a shot at a large brown making their way up river.Felt Ban
Yellowstone National Park banned felt sole wading boots as some of you experienced. Here at Trout On The Fly we made a huge investment and purchased numerous pairs of Simms wading boots without felt for our clients use during the 2018 season and for the future.

Management Plan

As some of you may have followed, the Madison River came under scrutiny with the attempt to put a management plan into effect. Thankfully the commissioners unanimously rejected the proposal. FWP has now hand picked a committee to revise the management plan that was shut down. If the new plan gets approved by the commissioners then the Madison River will have a management plan put in place starting in 2020. We will keep you posted on this issue as we receive information.


Just when you thought you were finished hearing about politics I have one more item to recap from 2018- Initiative 186. If passed, this initiative would have not allowed new mining companies to mine in Montana if perpetual water treatment was necessary in their operation. Unfortunately, this initiative did not go through. The fishing community of Montana, Trout Unlimited and many more put a lot of effort into campaigning for YES on I-186. Some of you may have even seen an article in TROUT magazine with Nate Stevane’s view on the initiative. What we learned is that it was a close race and there were an amazing number of people on board to get this passed, a good sign for future initiatives towards protecting our valuable waters.

Looking ahead to 2019, we have two big announcements and will keep you up to date on the upcoming trade shows. Stay tuned!

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy New Years! We hope to see you in 2019.

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