2022 End Of The Year Review

In This Newsletter

  • 2022 Overview
  • Bookings for 2023, and Beyond
  • Upcoming Trade Show Schedule
  • Madison River Management Plan Update
  • Snowpack

We hope all of you have enjoyed the holidays with family and friends! Now it’s time to start planning your 2023 and 2024 Montana fishing adventures.

2022 Overview

First, we would like to thank everyone who fished with us in 2022; thank you for choosing Trout On The Fly! We appreciate your business and hope to see you again in 2023.

The biggest news of 2022 was our spring run-off; some said it was “biblical”, especially for the Yellowstone River and its tributaries. To put it in perspective, the Yellowstone River peaked at the Livingston gauging station on June 13th, 2022, at 55,200 cubic feet per second (cfs); currently, the flow is at 1,300 cfs. Local communities like Gardiner, MT, and Red Lodge, MT, were hit the hardest with flooding and damage to their infrastructure, declining the number of tourists in these tourist-driven communities. However, our higher-than-normal snowpack was a welcome gift to fill our lower-than-normal reservoirs and maintain good flows on the rivers like Madison, Missouri, and more. The Missouri River and our lakes were the best options during this higher-than-average run-off period.

We have had a lot of questions about how the Yellowstone River fished this year since the severe flooding and destruction. Yellowstone is often a hit-and-miss river, to begin with, it stayed true to its title in 2022. One of the changes that the guides noticed was that the trout were not consuming the nymphs as well as they had in the past. It seemed like the trout were more interested in streamers and terrestrials post-flooding. Post-flooding, we have not received any data from biologists on fish numbers or any information on its effects on aquatic life. We will keep you posted if we receive any!

Yellowstone River brown trout Montana Yellowstone River Montana

Post-ice off through pre-runoff again was the best time to be on our waters in Montana in 2022. This time frame falls between mid to late March through early May. This time of year is always great due to lesser crowds of anglers and less pressured fish. The overcast days produced prolific Blue Winged Olive hatches with some great opportunities to fish the dry fly. The biggest factor when fishing during this time of year is the unpredictability of the weather. In March, average highs in Bozeman, MT are 46°, April 56°, and May 65°. And any of these months, we could experience snow storms.

Rainbow trout Missouri River Blue Wing Olive Hatch Blue Wing Olive Hatch

We had minimal river closures this past summer, which was great! Closures are put in place due to low water levels and high water temperatures. The most affected rivers that were up for closure include the Jefferson, Big Hole, and Beaverhead Rivers.

Jefferson River Guide Trip Jefferson River Montana Fly fishing the Jefferson River Montana

Our summer trips in Yellowstone National Park were a big hit, especially among the guests willing to hike away from the more accessible access locations.

Yellowstone National Park Fly Fishing Trips Couples fly fishing in Yellowstone National Park Yellowstone National Park Cutthroat Trout

The fishing on our reservoirs/lakes in 2022 was great! Fishing still water is a great way to spend a day, especially during our peak season months, to escape the busy rivers. You may not be interested in fishing still water, but we encourage you should step out of your comfort zone and give it a try; you will be pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable it really can be.

Upper holter lake guided fly fishing trips in Montana Hebgen Lake Brown Trout Hebgen Lake Montana Hebgen Lake Montana guided fly fishing trips Hebgen Lake guided fly fishing trips in Montana

Fall fishing for run-up browns and rainbows was hit and miss-this past year. The weather was favorable for anglers, and as a result, we experienced a lot of competition for “A” spots on the Madison River in YNP. However, if you were able to get in one of those “A” spots, it produced some quality fish.

Montana fly fishing madison river brown trout fly fishing in yellowstone national park Madison River brown trout in Montana fly fishing Brown trout in yellowstone national park fly fishing Madison River brown trout Montana

Booking For 2022 & Beyond

Our bookings are very strong for 2023 as we head into the new year, and we have a few bookings for 2024 as well. We anticipate another busy year of anglers wanting to get out on the water with a guide. We strongly encourage you to reserve your fishing and lodging dates as soon as possible. We are here to help you make the best decision on when and where to fish as well as the best lodging options according to your budget, needs, and group size. To reserve your dates for 2023 and beyond, you can do so through our online store; contact us at [email protected] or call (406) 580-7370.

Upcoming Trade Show

The only show we will be attending this winter will be in Edison, NJ. This is the world’s biggest Fly Fishing Show. The scheduled dates in January are 27, 28 & 29th. We have not been assigned a booth space yet; however, we were guaranteed the same spot from January 2022. We will keep you all posted on booth space once it is announced. For more information and to buy tickets online, click HERE.

The fly fishing trade shows The Fly fishing show

Madison River Management Plan Update

The following information is from F.O.A.M, which Trout On The Fly is a contributing member of. Published date of 12/20/22.

Following a summary of the public scoping of the Madison River Work Group’s Recommendations at the Fish & Wildlife Commission (Commission) meeting held today, Commissioner Pat Byorth made a motion that the Commission initiate rulemaking on the Madison River Recreation Rules as stated in the “Madison River Work Group Recommendations: FWP Staff Assessment for Commission,” dated June 1, 2022, excluding COMMERCIAL WATERCRAFT RENTAL DELIVERY PERMIT and NON-COMMERCIAL BEAR TRAP CANYON FLOAT PERMIT, which bear more consideration.  The Commission failed to act on Commissioner Byorth’s motion because of a lack of a second motion.

Instead, Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) and the Governor’s Office proposed that the recreation management issue on the Madison River be forwarded to the legislature this session as a Legislative Study Resolution.  If passed, a Legislative Study Resolution is a recommendation established by this forthcoming legislature that will direct the Environmental Quality Council (EQC), an interim legislative committee, to study the issue across the legislative interim (2023-2024) and potentially provide recommendations to the next legislature during the 2025 legislative session.

The EQC is a state legislative committee created by the 1971 Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA). The EQC has 17 members: 6 senators; 6 representatives; 4 public members; and 1 nonvoting member who represents the Governor.  Traditionally, the legislative membership has been equally divided between the major political parties.   (The statutory duties of the Council are described in MCA 75-1-324 of MEPA and in other sections of the Montana Code Annotated.)

As with any bill or resolution, a Legislative Study Resolution would need to be drafted, require a legislative sponsor, pass out of committee, pass both the House and Senate, then be filed with the Secretary of State before becoming an actual study.  It can be amended at any point in that process.  After the legislative session adjourns, the full legislative body ranks the priority of all interim studies to determine the relative amount of time each study should receive, and the Legislative Council then assigns studies to respective interim committees.  At their first meeting each interim committee sets their own workplan, assigning the relative amount of time they will spend on each study based on the recommendations from the legislative polling as well as other permanent and assigned duties.

Madison River Work Group members were appointed to the group for three years; however, at this time we do not know to what extent the Legislative Study Resolution or the EQC will use this established resource.  Commercial use rules on the Madison River will remain as last year.  As this proposal advances through this legislative session, we will certainly keep you all informed.” 

We will keep you posted as we hear more.

Snowpack

Our winter in Montana has been a roller coaster so far this year. Starting with some great snow storms early in the season which has pushed our snowpack numbers up substantially! Followed by a high drop to -39°F on December 22nd and back up to +47°F on December 25th!

Montana current snowpack December weather in Montana

Happy New Year from the Trout On The Fly Team! We hope to see you in 2023!

Happy New Year 2023

Thank you for staying connected with us on current conditions, reports, and news!