DePuy Spring Creek in April?

iv_wjb

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Does anyone have any experience to share of time spent on DePuy in April?

Looking forward to experience it for myself this Spring & I’m needing some good stories to tide me over until I get there... The anticipation is killing me!

Thanks, in advance.
 

Kyo

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Fish things first you'll need a reservation and the out of state fishing license. I noticed last month, with the shorter days, they moved the sign in time to 07:30. Check back for changes as the days get longer. It's the only pay to fish venue we frequent but it is a spring creek, depending on your skill level you could scare more fish than you might catch. Sorry speaking from experience.

Read the rules, not a bad read. Things like fly fish only, pinch your barbs down and know and avoid a spawning bed are things hopefully you already practice.

It's small fly heaven with midges and emerges. Not sure when the fly shop opens on the south end of the creek so check the Livingston Fly Shops for reports like the old standbys, Bailey's and Yellowstone Anger
Excellent sources for both info and appropriate flies.

I see you're from the great white north so extreme cold is probably not a factor, but if it is, remember they have a couple of heater huts with fire wood.

It's a pretty spot. If my wife knows the temps are civilized she'll usually join us as rates for summer are not within our budget.

Hope that helps we'll expect a full report.
 

Kyo

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Have not fished them but there's also Armstrong's Spring Creek up stream from Depuys and Nelson's across the river.

Depuys is fairly popular because they can
handle about 16 rods per day not sure of the others. And there's a couple photo angles at Depuys you will most likely recognize from fly fishing advertisements and magazine articles.

My smaller Big Horn River (tailwater) flies also work here including San Juan Worms and the rainbow warrior.

It's ironic you posted on Depuys now because if I didn't have the chest cold from hell I would have gone this weekend. It was 51 degrees in Billings today. Of course with the warmer temps there will be WIND in Livingston.
 

iv_wjb

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Wow - 51 degrees?! Fantastic! Wish I was there... Soon enough! Hope you’re feeling well-enough to get back onto the the river soon!

Thanks for the info. I was thinking I might like to try Armstrong, too... I’ll have my contact look into access for both.

May I ask what WT tackle is most-appropriate? It seems like a 4WT is necessary and 7X tippets are a must for the finicky situation... Sounds like a fantastic spot and challenge!!
 

Kyo

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DePuys is like a side channel to the Yellowstone River.
You can see some pretty large fish in there. We actually fished 5 & 6wt rods using 5x.
 

iv_wjb

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Great to know... Thanks, again, for the great info!

Looks like my plans are to include DePuy and Nelson’s... Hoping for good weather and a nice hatch of BWO’s!
 

coolkyle

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All in all a rather boring but beautiful place to fish. Go all the way to Montana and fish a pay to play - quite the adventure!

I would drive upstream and get some BWO madness on the Yellowstone, maybe head over to the lower Madison for some caddis.

When in April are we talking?
 

iv_wjb

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Well, I hope I won’t be bored... Seems like a lovely place and I’m pretty excited to experience the spring creeks.

Should make for a nice change of pace as I’ll be alternating the spring creek experiences with days spent on the Madison, Big Hole and Jefferson.

I know it’s a bit of a drive from where I stay in the Madison Valley but, I’m very-much looking forward to it!
 

Longs for Cutts

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You don't have to get technical from now through mid-April if you don't want to. Fish the deep pools and runs below spawning gravel and choke points like culverts. Depuy blocks off heavy spawning areas, but you should avoid shallow gravel everywhere. Don't wade through it, either. Tiny eggs, slender San Juans, and #18 skinny mayfly nymphs like Flashback PTs will work wonders. If it's sunny, focus on morning fishing. If it's cloudy, look for midges and BWO in the afternoons. No lighter than 6X is required in spring. February to mid-April is IMO the best time on the creeks. Increased numbers of fish are in the creeks and some of them are dumb river fish, less people than summer, okay BWO hatches, and the fish are more active than they are in the winter.
 
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iv_wjb

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Great information there - thanks!!

I just had a look at your website. Excellent. Kudos to you... I'll be in-touch via email in the future to speak with you about your guide services next time I'm in Montana.
 
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al_a

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Early April is about the latest I fish the spring creeks. Great fun then but too expensive later and there are too many other great places to fish in the area. And I seldom use anything lighter than 5X fluoro unless I'm using flies smaller than size 18. It's not quite as technical fishing as its reputation, so don't be intimidated by it like I was the first couple times I fished it back in the 1990s. SOME of the fish are dumb. Others are pretty sophisticated. My buddy likes the challenge of trying to get the picky ones to take dry flies, I just look for dumber ones :)
 

Kyo

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I'm very sorry to report, there's a 14 day quarantine on out of state travelers entering Montana. Nearby Galatin
County (Bozeman) is leading the COVID case load today with 79.

On a positive note DePuys only allows 16 folks so if they're still open to Montana Residents - you could easily keep social distancing - CALL THEM FIRST. -k-
 
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iv_wjb

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Thanks for the update. While I’m disappointed to have had to cancel my trip for this Spring, my thoughts are with you all in Montana (and beyond).

Please, stay home and help contain the spread of this nasty virus. Think of the healthcare workers, the maintenance people who keep the facilities clean, the workers who are on the front lines of this... If we can keep them from being more overwhelmed and able to cope with the exceptional demands they are under now, we may be able to mitigate the potential catastrophic losses.

Stay well, all. I look forward to seeing you on the rivers in due course!
 

mandotrout

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Also you DO NOT need MT licenses to fish Depuy. Since the creek is actually manipulated Armstrong flow with some more spring water channeled into it in spots, it's considered a man-made fishery and the state has nothing to do with maintaining it. As such, daily rod fees are all that you need. (Man-made or not, all fish are wild and you do need to avoid slapping your cast, etc.)
I just noticed this and would be cautious and double check with Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. Montana's regs require a fishing license to fish in "state waters", which is defined in the administrative rules as "any body of water, irrigation system, or drainage system, either surface or underground." Also, the wild fish in the spring creeks are free to move back and forth from the Yellowstone River, and as such are a public resource. It's similar to the requirement to have a hunting license even when on private property. The "man made fishery" statement possibly does apply to landlocked privately owned ponds and lakes that are stocked by their owners from private hatcheries, but I would even double check that. Also, I've noticed in the past that the website for the Yellowstone Angler in Livingston specifically says a fishing license IS required to fish Depuy's Spring Creek. Granted, the wardens are probably never going to go on the DePuy property and check licenses, but if it were me I'd rather be legal and support fishery management in Montana anyway.
 

Longs for Cutts

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I just noticed this and would be cautious and double check with Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. Montana's regs require a fishing license to fish in "state waters", which is defined in the administrative rules as "any body of water, irrigation system, or drainage system, either surface or underground." Also, the wild fish in the spring creeks are free to move back and forth from the Yellowstone River, and as such are a public resource. It's similar to the requirement to have a hunting license even when on private property. The "man made fishery" statement possibly does apply to landlocked privately owned ponds and lakes that are stocked by their owners from private hatcheries, but I would even double check that. Also, I've noticed in the past that the website for the Yellowstone Angler in Livingston specifically says a fishing license IS required to fish Depuy's Spring Creek. Granted, the wardens are probably never going to go on the DePuy property and check licenses, but if it were me I'd rather be legal and support fishery management in Montana anyway.

It used to say "No license is required to fish the creek" on the Depuy website, I want to say right on the front page, but they have changed the site and I can't find that statement anywhere now. I wonder if the state chewed them out. In the past, and I am talking for the 15 years I have been paying attention to the private water, you have needed one on Nelson and Armstrong but not Depuy. You definitely do not need one on private ranch lakes.

I should note that I am positive that you used to not need one on Depuy only, as I had guided trips on the creeks through Parks' Fly Shop years ago in which we did not record license info for clients who fished Depuy (even though they had licenses for other water they were fishing and we therefore could have done so). On "waters of Montana" we have to provide that info to the state every year, and Richard never got dinged for it by the Board of Outfitters. This is driving me nuts actually...

(I am also glad the clients I had on the creek a couple weeks ago had licenses from fishing the Yellowstone the day before. Eeek.)
 
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mandotrout

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It used to say "No license is required to fish the creek" on the Depuy website, I want to say right on the front page, but they have changed the site and I can't find that statement anywhere now. I wonder if the state chewed them out. In the past, and I am talking for the 15 years I have been paying attention to the private water, you have needed one on Nelson and Armstrong but not Depuy. You definitely do not need one on private ranch lakes.

I should note that I am positive that you used to not need one on Depuy only, as I had guided trips on the creeks through Parks' Fly Shop years ago in which we did not record license info for clients who fished Depuy (even though they had licenses for other water they were fishing and we therefore could have done so). On "waters of Montana" we have to provide that info to the state every year, and Richard never got dinged for it by the Board of Outfitters. This is driving me nuts actually...

(I am also glad the clients I had on the creek a couple weeks ago had licenses from fishing the Yellowstone the day before. Eeek.)
I seem to remember seeing the same thing when I fished there once about 12 years ago. I also remember scratching my head about it. I mean, Armstrong and DePuy's are really the same stream, right? Maybe FWP said something to them, or maybe it's just one of those unstated things that nobody wants to get into a legal dispute about.
 
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