There are also famous Depuy's (fished only one afternoon) and Nelson's (haven't been) spring creeks in the area but for the reason above and some tips from locals, I like Armstrong's the best. To me ranching and fly-fishing are always some of the biggest Western icons.
Then the scenary is so gourgeous along with lots of wildlife, birds, and insect hatches. I can't emphasize how lunch tastes better when eaten at the picnic tables or at the very top of the creek (where not so many people step in) on sunny days. By the way, Livingston is a nice little town and has lots of great eateries in only several miles away. So far this is the only one place that I don't pack my sandwiches on purpose!!
This was my first trout at Armstrong's. When I visited for the first time in early June 2008, I was totally green. I walked around almost all entire section without fishing. I didn't see rises or hatches either. I was not getting any actions. So I ran into Yellowstone Angler who keeps a good tab. They told me it was the time when baetis hatch was over and PMD and caddis might come off so better odds with nymphs, larvas, and scud patterns. Well, I finally netted one on a Sparkle Scud. It measured 15-inch and quite a fight with 6X tippet. I was so amazed with beauty and healthy condition of trout here. I hooked several more in that afternoon and I felt the "touch" of this water and started to enjoy.
Then this year in late April and early May, I booked three days. This time I did some homework. Though it's not a secret at all but since this post is never meant to be how-to & where-to, I keep my mouth shut about spots and flies \(*_*)/
So far this is the largest rainbow I caught. I really like this over-spotted 'bows here. They are so unique.
You sucker!! Actually it didn't suck but got snagged on the back. I first thought of a whitefish, which is pain the back when snagged, but this one came up effortlessly. And its skin was not coarse like whitefish but oh well.......gross
One thing I kind of don't like or understand is that visitng anglers are required Montana State license (extra cost for us) also though we are paying directly to O'Hair family to fish in their private land. I was told that it is because the fish is from the river or belongs to the state, something like that.
Also, I have to mention some bad-mannered people in this lovely place as I have noticed in my area (like Rocky Ford). O'Hair Ranch keeps a nice fishermen's hut with picnic benches and a bathroom but some people leave cigar butts, cans of beer and pop, lunch packs, etc right there on the benches. Also there's a courtesy garbage box in the bathroom to dump ONLY paper towles that the Ranch supplies. But some people dump everything they don't need. I'd like to say loudly here; please NEVER do it, not only for O'Hair people but also for the visiting anglers who love and respect this place.
I really respect and admire what O'Hair people do to keep their tradition going in this tough time. I belong to agricultural producing side too so I totally recognize how hard it is. For me, rod fee at Armstrong's is one of the best things that money can buy (summer rate is a bit too high for me, I admit!!). As said above, I enjoy a whole "Montana package" in one stop and then if what I am paying helps them preserve their land, which they open for us in public, I really feel I am making a good investment.
I am not sure yet, but I might be able to swing by Armstrong's in early November after I fish Madison and Yellowstone Park in late Oct. If I catch a few (I don't say a lot!!) of 19-inch or above in Madison, I might have reason to leave the harsh weather.......
What entices me is: winter rate at the creek and good food in Livingston!