Most experienced anglers in Montana can be found taking a brief respite from their fishing during this time of the year due to high water from runoff. However, if you are dedicated enough, clear water is available and fish can still be caught, you just have to know where to look. Fortunately for me, after receiving some inside information from Will here at Explore, I was lucky enough to be pointed in the right direction of just where to go to find some fish.
Heading out Saturday, I drove towards Dillon, Montana, located in the Southwest section of the state. About two hours outside of Bozeman, Dillon is a small town that is dotted with flyshops and general stores for passing travelers and home to a small university. After gearing up at the local fly shop, I made my way back to the edge of town to where the Beaverhead river follows highway 41 North to Twin Bridges, Montana. This stretch from Dillon to Twin Bridges offers various access points to the Beaverhead, with plenty of roadside parking that put you just a short walk from excellent fishing.
Seeing as most fishing spots are limited at this time of the year due to the before mentioned high water, it came as no surprise to me how crowded parts of the Beaverhead were on this day. Even still, I was able to find plenty of good stretches to fish and enjoyed my afternoon nymphing and pulling out a handful of gorgeous rainbows. During the afternoon I saw a few fish rise for bugs, but I was not well equipped with dry flies, so I stuck to what I knew and what was catching fish. I had the most luck with Hotwire Princes and Copper J’s, dropped with Hare’s Ear, PMD Emergers and Bead Head Caddis, yellow, white and olive in color. I also did well with crayfish patterns and woolybuggers, but it’s hard to ever go wrong there. The river was beautiful, the fish were biting and I would highly recommend this as a day trip to anyone trying to get a bite during the slow parts of May.