Paradise Valley Spring Creeks
Armstrong Spring Creek on the O'Hair Ranch
Armstrong Spring Creek is a classic, flat water, meadow stream that varies in width from 50-100 feet. Intense hatches of midges, caddis, and mayflies throughout the season make for some world class dry fly fishing and terrific sight fishing with nymphs. These are wild, beautiful fish that average a solid fourteen inches and often exceed twenty. Most of the trout are acrobatic rainbows, but some very nice browns and cutthroats are present as well. The fish are all brilliantly colored - some of the most gorgeous fish you'll find in Montana.
The view, with the high Absaroka mountains as a backdrop, is breathtaking. Access is limited to 12 anglers each day, and a daily rod fee is charged. The peak season rate (from June 15-September 14) is $100/rod. The rate in the spring and fall (April 15-June 14 and September 15-October 14) is $75, and the winter rate is $40/rod. For reservations, call Judy O'Hair at 406-222-2979. We also reserve some spaces for guided trips, so please call or e-mail us for details on availability. If you are planning to fish in late June or early July, try to book your rods at least one year ahead of time, With so many "roll over" dates it can be hard to get on during the height of the PMD hatch...
If you've never been out to Armstrong's on one of your Montana trips, we'd highly recommend booking a day out there. Since the water flows out of the ground at 52 degrees year round, you have great fishing regardless of the season. In the winter you'll be fishing midges, scuds, and eggs. In the spring it's baetis, midges, and sculpin. During the summer you'll find some of the best dry fly fishing on PMD's, hoppers, crickets, and beetles. In the fall, it is back to baetis and midges. This property is a dream for come true for photographers and anglers alike. Prepare to fish small flies, long leaders and 6X tippets... The sight fishing can be incredible, but the fish are also quite "educated" so going with a guide your first time is a great idea.
DePuy's Spring Creek
The DePuy's (pronounced Duh-pews) portion of the spring creek that makes up Armstrong/Depuy's is approximately three miles in length and consists of a large variety of water, from the wide, shallower flats to deep narrow runs and even ponds. There are lots of chutes, drop-offs, and riffles that hold good fish.
There is a great variety of water on DePuy's and many different places to fish, so if one area is taken, it is pretty easy to find some other water to fish. The lower reaches of the stream, just above the Yellowstone can often hold some big fish that run up out of the Yellowstone, and this water has proven to be consistently good. This seems especially true in the spring when the rainbows move in to spawn. Recently Daryl has marked off the redd areas during the spring so that anglers can't hammer at fish on their spawning beds. This is very important because it is in every angler's best interest to protect the fish who are working hard to reproduce and return to the Yellowstone.
DePuy's is a very fertile stream, and like Armstrong's has heavy insect hatches throughout the spring, summer and fall. Heavy weed growth holds great populations of scuds and sow bugs as well as the mayfly nymphs and midge larvae, providing good nymph fishing year 'round.
A daily rod fee is charged and access is limited to sixteen anglers per day. During the prime season, from June 15th to September 14th, fees are $100 per rod. The $75 regular season rate is in effect from April 15th to June 14th and from September 15th to October 14th. Winter rates, which are in effect from October 15th to April 14th, are $40 per rod. Reservations can be made by calling Daryl or Theresa Smith at 406-222-0221. We do reserve some space for our guided trips, so please call or e-mail us for details on availability.
Nelson's Spring Creek
Nelson's is a smaller stream than the other creeks, and varies in width from thirty to seventy five feet. There is a lot of flat water here, making a careful approach and presentation critical. The fish are not as spooky as they are selective. 6X and 7X tippets are the rule, and you'll need to have the right flies and "match the hatch" to catch fish here.
The spectacular peaks of the Absarokas seem close enough to reach out and touch. Leaf through any fly fishing magazine and there is a good chance you'll come across a photo taken on Nelson's.
Reservations are required, and 6 anglers are allowed each day. Rod fees on Nelson's between June 15 and September 14 are $100 per rod. In the spring and fall, from April 15 through June 14 and from September 15 through October 14, the rod fee is $75/rod. The winter rate, from October 15 through April 14, is $40 per rod. To make reservations, call Roger Nelson at 406-222-6560. We do reserve a few rods on Nelson's throughout the season for our guided trips, so please call or e-mail us for details on availability.