We couldn’t have left this place without fishing in these beautiful rivers. Our fishing day was scheduled for Tuesday, but after snow fell all day Tuesday, we moved it to the next afternoon. We worried that with 8+ inches of melting snow, the river would be too murky to fish. Our guides assured us that to an extent, murky water actually benefits novice fishermen. If the trout can’t see the bait well, they will be more prone to strike the flies in the water.
We suited up and Logan and I headed downriver to our spot. Our guide Cody gave us a quick intro to fly-fishing. Here’s the quick rundown:
- When fishing without a fly rod, the weight of the lure helps propel the lure where the fisherman wants to fish. The lure then usually sinks to the fish’s level.
- When fly-fishing, the fly doesn’t weigh enough to propel itself to the spot where you want to fish. The line itself has enough weight to get the lure to the desired spot. At the very end of the heavy line is a short segment of very thin fishing line. This way the angler can send the fly far into the river without any weight on the end of the line.
- Since the end of the line is such thin line, the fisherman must set the hook and bring the fish in slowly. Otherwise the line will break and the fish will get away. If the fish is fighting hard and swimming away from you, let him run and tire him out. Otherwise the line may break.
After getting to our spot, we immediately found success. I netted a small rainbow trout within 5 minutes and Logan brought one in within 10.
The rainbow trout make up about 90% of the fish caught in the Gallatin river. These fish are beautiful. I’d like to think that I’m some sort of fly-fishing savant, but these rivers are some of the best in the US to catch trout in. Our guide told us that this is the biggest destination for trout fishing in the US.
I was able to capture one of my catches on camera. At the beginning, you can see me “stripping the line”. This process is to keep the line tight. If the line isn’t tight and the fish bites the fly, I wouldn’t be able to set the hook and the fish would get away.
This was a pretty fun fight. Our guide Cody seemed almost as happy as I was when we landed it in the net. Once we had our pictures, we released the fish.
Apparently all of the guides here practice catch and release. In Cody’s words, the fish are his business partners, and without them he wouldn’t be able to be in this line of work. As much as I would have enjoyed eating trout Wednesday night, I also enjoyed catching 20+ fish in a few short hours on the Gallatin. And if everyone was taking their fish home, I don’t think I would have been able to catch so many and have such a good time out there.