One of the biggest draws for fishermen from all over the globe to come to Livingston, Montana is to wade on one or all three of the most famous spring creek fisheries in the world. Just minutes from downtown, these spring creeks have been attracting anglers who want to challenge their skills against some of the smartest trout around. Gin clear water and weed beds that create micro currents, make the trout that reside in these creeks very picky about what they put in their mouth. All three creeks have healthy populations of rainbow, brown, and cutthroat trout, with Depuy's holding the greatest population of cutthroat throughout the summer months.
Almost every day of the year, rising fish can be found feeding on some type of insect, whether they are mayflies, midges, or terrestrials. This can make for some incredible sight dry fly fishing. Before and after hatches occur, the nymph fishing can be consistent. The abundant insect life can make fly selection very important to consistently get these spring creek fish to eat, and that is where our job as guides come in. We all carry hundreds of variations of patterns that is pertinent to spring creek fishing.
All three creeks have their own identity. The following is a list of a few characteristics of each that separates them apart from one another, and since they are private fisheries, a rod fee, in addition to the guide fee, of $40-$120 per angler per day goes directly to the landowner.
Nelson's Spring Creek
Nelson's has the lowest gradient, large fish in the 15-20 inch range, and is the shortest of the three creeks, at around 3/4 of a mile. Arguably Nelson's is the most famous of the creeks, being the first limited access pay fishery in the state. The flat, slow water can make the fish very difficult to fool. As with all three creeks, the mountains of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness towering above Nelson's Spring Creek Ranch, make for an amazing backdrop. Access is limited to 6 rods per day.
Depuy's Spring Creek
Dupuy's has the longest stretch of spring creek with 3+ miles, and the highest amount of gradient. This stretch of water has the most diversity as far as water types, and has ample trout in the 10-18 inch range. All three creeks have high populations of resident trout, but the one thing that stands out about Depuy's is the influx of fish that migrate in and out from the Yellowstone River to reproduce in the gravelly bottom. Access is limited to 16 rods per day.
Armstrong's Spring Creek
Armstrong's character has a little bit of both of the other creeks. Throughout its 1.5+ miles of water, anglers can find large trout cruising on one of the large flats, and a mix of fish sizes ranging from 10-20 inches staging in the riffles to feed on insects. Of the three creeks, Armstrong's is the toughest to wade fish, since many of the riffles have slippery river rocks on the bottom. The great thing about creeks, though, is that once you are in a hot spot, there is no need to move around because there are plenty of trout to sight cast on. Access is limited to 12 per day.
"There is only one reason in the world to go fishing: to enjoy yourself. Anything that detracts from enjoying yourself is to be avoided"