Long Overdue Newsletter & New Address

Where Have We Been?

We apologize for not getting a newsletter out since Memorial Day weekend. We have been busy with trips out every day since Easter! It’s exciting but a lot of work and at times exhausting, hence the 4-month delay in getting this newsletter out!

Fishing Report For This Summer

We have had a wonderful season to date. Water temperatures and flows have been in good shape all summer long, good for the fish and the anglers. We had no “hoot owl”  closures on our waters this summer. “Hoot owl” closures are enacted when Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks steps in and closes rivers from 2 pm to midnight due to warm water temperatures. Because the temperatures have been cooler, our salmon fly hatch was about a week to ten days late this year. Typically we will start to see the first adults around June 18th, but this season we didn’t see them until around June 28th, and even then the fish weren’t that hungry for them. The caddis dry fishing during the salmon fly hatch made up for the slower than average salmon fly bite. Fast forward to late July and our terrestrial fishing turned on! The hopper and ant bite was amazing this summer! During the start of the hopper bite, some of the fish were suicidal when it came to eating the hopper; we would have two or three fish try to eat our hoppers at the same time. It doesn’t get any better than that! As word got out on how good the terrestrial bite was on the Madison River, every guide in Montana and Idaho and their siblings departed their “home” waters and made the pilgrimage to the Madison River. The crowds didn’t seem to slow the bite down one bit. Around late-August, the fish started to wisen up to the hoppers and they began to be more selective on what they were eating. The two best hoppers were the Thunder Thighs in pink and tan and Morshs pink or orange body. Finding these two hoppers in a sizes 14 or 12 in Montana was like winning the lottery! As I write this email the fish are still eating the hopper. When will they stop eating the hopper? Who knows but we are enjoying every day they do! The Yellowstone River was amazing some days with the hoppers and slow the next day, typical for the Yellowstone, but a blast when they were on it!

Moving forward to current conditions of area waters: We had a weather cold snap from September 6th through the 11th that just let up, triggering some fall run-up rainbows and browns to make their way into the rivers from area lakes and reservoirs such as Hebgen Lake, Ennis Lake, and Holter Lake. Our favorite time of the year! From now into November you could catch the brown trout of a lifetime! A typical day on the Madison River right now will start out with nymphing or streamer fishing in the morning, then switch to a hopper and ant when the air warms up. The fish seem to be keyed in on the terrestrials when it is sunny out on the Madison River. The nymph fishing has been solid with Baetis patterns such as PT Spanker, Green Machine or the Micro Mayfly.

We Have Moved

My family and I have moved back to Bozeman, MT from Butte, MT. This was a decision we made to ensure our kids would have the best opportunities for academics, sports, and social life.

For those of you who don’t know the story of TOTF; I moved to Bozeman, MT from my hometown in Billings, MT in the mid-’90s for college. I fell into the fly-fishing guiding world as an independent contractor in the late-’90s and have never looked back. I lived in Bozeman, then Big Sky, then Gallatin Gateway, then the Madison Valley near Raynolds Bridge and five years ago my wife got a job in Butte, MT as a general surgeon, and now we are back in Bozeman, MT!

We are not a brick and mortar store. We are a full-service outfitter and guide service that tailors trips to each individual’s needs and wants. From all-inclusive packages to vacation rentals. We accommodate beginners or experienced anglers, large groups, corporate groups or single anglers. We offer drift boats, walk-n-wade, and jetboat trips. We can outfit you from head to toe with waders, boots and rain gear. We provide the use of rods at no extra cost on all of our trips.

New Rates

To stay competitive in pricing TOTF will be raising our trip rates effective 1/1/2020. At this moment we are unsure of the new rates that will be adopted. If you would like to book for 2020 but pay the 2019 trip rates, please contact us with the dates you want, how many anglers in your party and a 50% deposit to secure your spot.


Because we are not a brick and mortar store, anglers always ask how they can buy a hat, shirt or sun mask. We have a full line of apparel on our online store. Here are a few samples.

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

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