The Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Spring

In This Newsletter

  • NEW – Yellowstone National Park (YNP) fishing license
  • Fishing report.
  • Update on Montana Fishing license and Mother’s Day Free Fishing
  • New Apparel

YNP Online Fishing License

Finally! All anglers can now purchase their Yellowstone National Park (YNP) fishing permit online. This is welcome news and much overdue. Those anglers whose flights arrive late but they plan on getting an early start the next day can do so now without waiting for a licensing agent to open their doors.

The cost of a fishing license has increased, and this was necessary. Let’s face it! Spending a little more to fish in Yellowstone is well worth it, and this money would be spent on a good cause. The three-day permit’s fee has gone up from $18 to $40, the seven-day permit’s fee has gone up from $25 to $55, and the season’s permit’s fee has been increased from $40 to $75.

The additional revenue from the permit fees will be reinvested into the park’s efforts to strengthen the Yellowstone ecosystem, prevent aquatic invasive species (AIS) and restore native fish habitat. The park invests millions of dollars each year into reducing non-native lake trout in Yellowstone Lake. Substantial progress has been made over the years, and there is a need for continued investment.”  – Yellowstone National Park

YNP opens to fishing on the Saturday of the Memorial Day weekend (May 29, 2021) every year, and fishing would be allowed till the first Sunday in November (November 7, 2021).

Click HERE to purchase your 2021 YNP fishing permit online.

Update on Montana Fishing license and Mother’s Day Free Fishing

HB 260
This is the bill that proposed to revise non-resident fishing license fees. It removes the 2-day, $25 fishing license and replaces it with a 1-day, $14 fishing license. This bill also removes the 10-day fishing license and replaces it with a 5-day, $56 fishing license.

This bill got passed in the House in February. In March, it got approved by the Senate Fish and Game Committee and went to the Senate. On the Senate floor, it passed the 2nd reading, but was subsequently sent to the Finance and Claims Committee, where it currently resides.

SB 61

This bill would allow free fishing on the Mother’s Day weekend.

This bill passed and was signed into law by our governor on February 23.

You can now fish for free on both Father’s Day weekend and Mother’s Day weekend. Mother’s Day weekend is May 8th & 9th and Fathers Day weekend is June 19th & 20th.

Fishing Report

Madison River – All boat ramps from Raynolds Bridge to Headwaters State Park except the Ennis Fishing Access Site (FAS) are open. The road into the Ennis boat ramp still had ice on it a couple days ago. Once the ice clears, the Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks (FWP) staff will be able to assess the damage and begin repairs. Hopefully, this will be open and be ready for use by Salmonfly season in late June.

Fishing has been great on the Madison River in the Madison Valley recently, and it will continue to remain so through runoff. We are seeing some healthy Run-up Rainbows making their way into the river from Ennis Lake. These fish are full of energy and chrome in color. We have not seen any spawning redds yet, but the Rainbows should start making their nests soon. Be cautious and use your best judgment while wade fishing in the upcoming weeks.

We are likely to have some great spring hatches in the not-so-distant future. Blue-winged Olives are starting to hatch on overcast days, and the numbers will get better over the next few weeks. We should see some March Browns and Skwallas in the next week or two also. The Mother’s Day Caddis hatch on the lower Madison – Their hatching is expected to start in late April or early May.

We want to remind anglers that the Madison River will continue to fish well during runoff conditions in late May and early June. The water from the Earthquake Lake downriver to about the Palisades FAS will be the best on this front. The water clarity offer 4–8” of visibility, but don’t let that stop you from getting out on the river – mostly a nymph and streamer game during runoff.

Recommended patterns

  • Nymphs/Emergers
    • Pats Stonefly, black and olive – size 8–4
    • Green Machine, chartreuse and pt – size 18–16
    • Lighting Bug, purple – size 16
    • #3 Dip, rust-brown and olive – size 16–14
    • San Juan Worm, red and orange – size 4–2
    • Egg Patterns, orange and pink – size 16
  • Dries
    • Adams – size 18–14
    • Parachute Adams – size 18–14
    • Griffiths Gnat – size 20–18
    • Morgans Midge – size 20-18


Missouri River – The Missouri River is in great shape and fishing very well. Rainbows are starting to move into their spawning grounds from their deep, slow winter locations, so use caution when wade fishing. Water temperatures have slowly climbed up a few degrees to 41˚–42˚ for daytime highs, which means Baetis should be on your mind. The nymphing game is still the best technique for catching fish. The human hatch is in full swing as we are experiencing more anglers than normal during this time of year.

Recommended Patterns

  • Nymphs/Emergers
    • Soft Hackle Sow Bug, natural and pink – size 16-14
    • Green Machine, chartreuse & pt – size 18-16
    • Hogans S&M, olive – size 18-16
    • Weight Fly, pink & purple – size 16-14
    • Rainbow warrior – size 18-16
    • Mighty Midge, red– size 20-18
    • San Juan Worm, red, orange & pink – size 6-2
    • Egg Patterns, orange & pink – size 16-14
  • Streamers
    • Kreelex, gold/silver – size 4
    • BH Wooly Bugger, black – size 8-4
    • Thin Mint – size 10-6

Yellowstone River – The Yellowstone River has been hit or miss, mostly a miss. Stripping streamers are producing some nice Browns but not in quantity. We are entering that time of year when the Yellowstone will fluctuate with water clarity depending on the air temperatures. When we see 2–3+ days in a row when it is 50˚+, the tributaries such as the Shields River will start to push dirty water into the Yellowstone. If the water clarity offers a minimum of 6” of visibility, it will be good to fish here.

Recommended patterns

  • Nymphs/Emergers
    • Pats Stonefly, black and olive – size 8–4
    • Green Machine, chartreuse and pt – size 18–16
    • Lighting Bug, purple – size 16
    • Hunchback March, brown – size 16–14
    • San Juan Worm, red and orange– size 4–2
    • Egg Patterns, orange and pink – size 16
  • Dries
    • Adams – size 18–14
    • Parachute Adams – size 18–14
    • Griffiths Gnat – size 20–18
    • Morgans Midge – size 20–18
    • March Brown Adams – size 16–14
    • AK’s March Brown – size 16–14
  • Streamers
    • Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, white & olive
    • Morrish’s Sculpin, brown or olive – size 4
    • Delekta’s Double Screamer, yellow/brown

New Apparel

We have received a few more Trout On The Fly (TOTF)-branded Simms apparel. You can purchase at our online store by clicking HERE.

SIMMS M’s Bugstopper Solarflex Hoody

  • TOTF Logo on the back
  • Quick-drying, wicking, anti-odor, & UPF 50
  • Insect Shield® for long-lasting, effective, & convenient insect protection
  • Flat-seam construction for maximum comfort
  • Raglan sleeves for ease of movement
  • Hood designed to wear over a cap
  • Machine wash & dry. See garment label for details.

FABRIC TECH: 100% polyester

Insect Shield® repellent apparel provides long-lasting, effective and convenient personal insect protection to help battle insects some of which may carry diseases such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease. Insect Shield Repellent Apparel has been registered to repel mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, chiggers, and midges (no-see-ums). The active ingredient in Insect Shield is so tightly bonded to the fabric fibers that it retains effective repellency throughout the lifetime of the product.

UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor and indicates how much of the sun’s UV radiation is absorbed.  A fabric with a rating of 50 will allow only 1/50th of the sun’s UV rays to pass through.  This means the fabric will reduce your skin’s UV radiation exposure significantly.  All of our UPF finishes last the life of the garment, an industry standard of 30 washings.

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

Most Popular to Date

Upper Holter Lake Montana

Springtime in Montana

In This Newsletter Spring Fishing Report New Lodging Options Snowpack Old man winter has had a firm grip on southwest Montana until now. The first

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