Spring in Montana is not often thought of as a prime time, but that is only because the locals generally do not speak of this secret. Prior to run-off, which is often difficult to predict but usually commences around mid/ early May, the fish are hungry and there can be some of the best hatches of the year. Early March most rivers typically become consistently fishable with nymphs, San Juan worms, and egg patterns. This time of year can be very productive as most of the fish will be gathered in dense pods in the slower/ deeper sections of river. After some warm days, from mid-March to April the first major hatch occurs- midges. Spectacular days can be had on all major rivers in Southwest Montana. In our opinion, this is the only time of year to fish the Madison as the pressure is comparably non-existant to the rest of the year. Somedays, any little slick spot along the bank or behind a rock will be loaded with fish taking midge clusters off of the surface. When the hatch doesn't happen, streamer fishing can be fantastic (especially on the Yellowstone) and standard winter nymph rigs also effective. Mid-April until run-off we will start to see regular baetis hatches and then right before run-off and into run-off the legendary Mother's Day caddis hatch- when millions of caddis literally blanket the surface.
This time of year is by no means a guaranteed slam; but some of the best days of the year are certainly had during pre-runoff fishing. The best part of it all is you will only be sharing the water with very few other dedicated anglers.
Recommended 4-nights 5-day, Spring fishing itinerary for 2.
Day 1. Arrive Bozeman. A member of NWE will meet you at the airport and escort you to your rental Subaru Outback and then back to the office to go over any last minute itinerary plans/ adjustments and any rental gear. Depending on the arrival time, there will likely be enough time to fish the East Gallatin, West Gallatin, or Lower Madison. Overnight in Bozeman ($40 - $200/ night).
Day 2. Guided fishing. Your guide will pick you up at the hotel or will meet at prearranged location for a full-days guided fishing on whatever river is fishing best at the time. Could be the Yellowstone, Madison, Missouri, Beaverhead, etc. This decision will be made last minute completely dependent on the conditions. If conditions are not fishable, the guided day will be rescheduled for a later date. This day will be to not only enjoy Montana and hopefully catch fish, but to also learn how the guides are rigging, where to fish, and what to fish for the current conditions. Overnight again in Bozeman. ($40 - $200/ night).
Day 3. Fishing on your own. If the river you fished the guided day was fantastic, then go back. If not, pack your bags and head to the fish. New West Experience will be keeping a 'pulse' on current conditions and will book your accommodations to suit the fishing conditions and your desires. ($40 - $200/ night).
Day 4. Fishing and overnight TBD. Overnight within a half-hour drive to BZN airport.
Day 5. Fish in the morning or all day on Lower Madison, Yellowstone, or Gallatin depending on flight time. Meet back at NWE office 1.5 hours prior to flight, repack your gear, and a NWE representative will drop you off at the airport.
Prices from $1,050 - $1,700 including rental vehicle, concierge services, guided fishing day, and accommodations. Does not include fishing license, food, fuel, tips, or drinks.