Earlier this month, my Dad and I were lucky enough to spend a morning fishing the East Gallatin River, about five minutes away from the Bozeman airport in Montana. The East Gallatin is not a raging western river by any standards but is considered a small stream as it is only a tributary to the larger and well known Gallatin River. The East Gallatin is mostly made up of deep bending pools with long undercut banks.
In between many of the larger pools are small riffles and flats, which provide great feeding grounds for eager trout. The East Gallatin is home to wild brown and rainbow trout. We fished the river at the access point where Milesnick Spring Creek runs in. On the morning we fished the river, many insects were out and about. A few caddis were hatching in size #14-16. We came across terrestrials including large hoppers, beetles, and ants. The trico hatch was tremendous, starting around 10 a.m., as bugs were grouped in massive amounts over the flats and riffles. My Dad and I had some success nymphing deep with small patterns before the tricos really started hatching. I was fishing with a size #20 bead head PT nymph dropped below a larger size #12 bead head prince nymph. I had one small split shot above the prince nymph and then one indicator about 4 feet up. This rig accounted for a few fish before the hatch started, all on the small PT nymph.
Once the hatch started, I was able to pick up a few more fish on the surface using small trico comparaduns in size #20.The fish of the day was this 23 inch brown trout that I caught on the size #20 bead head PT nymph. This fish put up a great fight and I was shocked to land it on 5X. All in all it was a very memorable morning.