Local Area Waters
The Tackle Shop in located in the heart of trout fly fishing water. In addition to the Madison River the headwaters of the Missouri River is made up of the Jefferson River and Gallatin River drainages. The Jefferson River, the largest of all three, is a combination of the Ruby River, Big Hole River and Beaverhead River. These rivers gather the water from springs and streams throughout southwest Montana as they push to the Missouri River. The result is thousands of miles of trout water and an unlimited variety of fly fishing environments.
The Jefferson River is the largest of the three forks of the Missouri River with the mouth located near Twin Bridges, Montana. The structure of the Jefferson River is a large riffle- pool with frequent armored banks. A victim of summer dewatering for agricultural irrigation the Jefferson, which normally fishes better in the spring and fall seasons, will sometimes shine on cooler summer days.
Big Hole River
The Big Hole River is a large freestone river that rises from the small streams and springs in the Upper Big Hole Valley. The river changes character throughout its journey, beginning as a small meadow stream and ending in a large freestone river. The Big Hole can be one of the first major rivers to clear up in the spring and has a great early season stonefly hatch as well as great terrestrial fishing in late summer. Float fishing on the Big Hole River can be excellent although floaters need to pay attention to the dangers of trees blocking the path of the river.
The Beaverhead River begins at the confluence of the Red Rock River and Horse Prairie Creek. The present day confluence of these two streams is Clark Canyon Reservoir and the Upper Beaverhead River is now a tailwater fishery. As a result the water temperatures and flows of the Beaverhead provide a perfect environment for aquatic insect hatches and trout growth. The Beaverhead River is narrow and winds through deep undercut willow lined banks. Access is somewhat limited and the fishing can sometimes be crowded but the Beaverhead River should be on everyone's bucket list of places to fish.
The Ruby River begins as a mountain stream that flows into the Ruby Reservoir. After leaving the reservoir the river meanders through the Ruby Valley and private agricultural land. Access is difficult on this section of the Ruby and the mosquitoes may be a problem but the fishing can make it worth the effort.
The headwaters of the Gallatin River are in the Northwest corner of Yellowstone Park and flow North out of the park down a tight mountain canyon just west of Bozeman, Montana. Once leaving the canyon the Gallatin again falls victim to summer dewatering and while the fishing can be good, the fly fisherman will need to pay attention to water temperatures. There are also several spring creeks in the Gallatin Valley that may be of interest.