DePuy's Spring Creek - Deep Winter Angling

Winter is making a stand in Montana these past couple of days. It’s very cold and snowy now which definitely has most of us here thinking more about chairlifts and flats boats than trout fishing.

However--undaunted, the team here at Trout Stalkers took the day off yesterday for a company “retreat” to DePuy’s Spring Creek over near Livingston in the Paradise Valley. We rolled out of Ennis in the midst of a blizzard with temps holding steady around 11 degrees. It definitely seemed like a hair-brained idea at the time but, what the hell! Still better than work right?

As we descended the hill on the east side of Bozeman pass, the clouds began to lift a little and the driving snow let up. After checking in with Darryl and marvelling at the main house (modeled after Gone With The Wind), we all headed up to the Fisherman’s Hut at the top end of the ranch. We quickly built a fire in the woodstove and all crammed into the cabin to wader up in warmth.

Truth is, there is no such thing as bad weather--only bad clothes and bad attitudes. We had neither!  Spirits were high and as full-time fly fishing pros, we were definitely well dressed and ready for whatever Mother Nature could throw at us. As it turned out, Mother Nature was particularly benevolent. The weather quickly morphed from a gnarly winter storm to a beautiful day, albeit pretty cold. The sun came out and for the next 6 hours we fished the creek in calm sunny conditions enjoying all the spectacular beauty and solitude of Montana winter.

The fishing wasn’t great, but most of us did catch some nice fish and sure enjoyed fishing there.

Brass tacks and bottom line: DePuy’s is a really special place, and a great winter fishing option. You may or may not experience dry fly action, but when most of our freestone rivers are flowing ice and slush, spring creeks like DePuy’s are typically still 50 degrees and the fish are susceptible to a variety of flies and tactics. Although we didn’t see much of a hatch yesterday, we did manage to fool a few rising trout.


The best rig seemed to be a #14 Hare’s Ear trailing a #20 Baetis emerger known locally as the “Gay Baetis.” This rig was responsible for bringing close to a dozen fish to the net.

Give us a call if you would like to fish DePuy’s someday, and we’ll hook you up!


Thanks to our good  friend Ed Coyle for coming along and capturing some of these beautiful images. Follow Ed to see more of his awesome photography. 

Instagram: @edcoylephotography
Facebook: Ed Coyle Photography