Guiding & Fishing on Livingston's Spring Creeks



What's new with oh-so-fabled spring creeks in Livingston? Three creeks have been publicized for years and numerous articles have been written. In that regard, there's nothing especially new from my part as I don't want to be redundant either. However, I'd like to emphasize fishing these creeks is always great experience. That can't be redundant. I will repeat any time! Creeks require rod-fee per angler with limited numbers of anglers per day. In my personal opinion, you are buying a "Montana Package Trip for the day". Those ranching families have been thriving for generations on their lands since 19th Century frontier era. Driving only several miles and minutes south from the town of Livingston, suddenly you are secluded in a traditional real working Montana ranch with cows and horses (well, Livingston itself also remains a 19th Century Cowboy town, which you will find comfortable and hospitable). Greet family who are very friendly and hospitable.
O'Hair Ranch
Sign at Nelson's driveway
As you pay rod-fees, you will pay your respect for the fact that they let you on their lands and creeks. Besides livestock, abundant wildlife will come and say hi to you.
At O'Hair Ranch (along Armstrong's). She was taking a nap on the grass. Sorry that I woke her up.... 
Just spending a day at either one creek will help you feel all. You will be there to relax, away from traffics of vehicles and anglers. Your chore at the ranch is to catch fish at the creek.........

When I decided to change a course of my life and tried to be a fly-fishing guide in Livingston, little did I know I would be this much interested and involved in guiding and fishing spring creeks. I had thought creeks would simply be one of those trip destinations....... The more I visit (fishing myself or guiding clients), the more I'd like to introduce these great places to many other anglers. I even became a writer/columnist to share my experience and insight at spring creeks with others.

Let's discuss fishing there. Yet discussing list of insects or famous PMD hatch is not the purpose of this page. What I want to mention in a big picture of spring creek fishing is: "Spring Creek is the classroom of fly-fishing". That's the first mantra that I learned from my guide mentor Montana's Master Angler - Tom Travis, who is the superb, extra-ordinary, and highly acclaimed outfitter in the area.
"Guide Field Day" with Tom - at DePuy's
Fishing at spring creeks can be both enjoyable and frustrating. Over all, we are all there to "LEARN & OBSERVE". It doesn't matter whether you are a guide or an angler. If one wants to be serious about fly-fishing, spring creeks are the places to be. What you will gain and learn from spring creeks (trout, bugs, skills, reading water, and OBSERVATION) can be applied to other waters and fishing situations. This is not an overstatement. I really developed myself as a competitive guide and a savvy angler in probably the most competitive area in Montana, if not in entire US, by fishing creeks a lot. Indeed a lot; I fish even during winter months while other guides are busy with their winter jobs and regular anglers are stocking flies for warm months.
Thawing my feet!! - Angler's Hut at DePuy's
I understand there are anglers who are not willing to visit these creeks/ranches because of rod-fees. That will definitely be extra costs for their trips. And there are lots of public waters around Livingston and in Yellowstone National Park. I can direct you to some other public waters and even draw maps for you. However, let me tell you as a local guide and resident. If you plan to visit and fish during summer months, so are many other people = some rivers can be very crowded. Consequently driving to/from public rivers can be very busy along with other tourists. You may even have to compete for parking spots and picnic tables for lunch. Then think about recent fuel cost. So overall, I'd like to say rod-fees will be "offset", in other words, you are buying a guaranteed fishing day. All you have to worry is FISH all day!! Then on long summer days, you can stay and fish as late as you want to. You may be fishing for spinner-fall with your headlight on!

I have fished 12 months of the year at creeks. It's too long to describe each month is this page. So are hatch chart and list of aquatic food sources. Best source available for you at a glance is written by my guide mentor Tom on DePuy's website (click here). Also feel free to ask me when you decide the date(s) to visit. Bottom-line is creeks are open year around and will never get frozen even in the middle of winter. Each month has its own taste and fishing scenario. Perhaps the most famous and popular time is PMD hatches from late June to early July. Then again, as mentioned above already, summer days in Montana are long and beautiful. You can visit creeks as early as you like (if it's too early, paying rod-fee on the day before may be advised) and stay as late as you want. For fishing on summer days, another best source is also written by Tom on DePuy's website (click here). My personal favorite time is late October = glorious fall. But also, I do visit creeks in the middle of winter (December, January, and February) when I develop some cabin fever. Then I'd like to be at creeks in spring when winter finally loosens its grip and a new season is about to begin. Well, just as I said, I'd like to be at creeks every month of the year!!
Some of the BEST Rainbow caught in January 2013 - DePuy's
As for my guiding, I'm trained to guide any levels of anglers under any conditions. At spring creeks, I encourage my clients to try different tactics and flies (other than what's said in magazines and online), then OBSERVE what trout and bugs are doing. I'm prepared to fish with dry-flies for match-the-hatch, nymphs under indicators, spring-creek-style streamers, and soft-hackles (insects & attractors). It's all depending on situations and observation. My guiding tends to be intense. When clients wish, I stay really late. I have literally guided clients till dark = till we couldn't see things any more and trout stopped rising at spring creeks. Guess what time I usually get home (then I guide next day!) So on those aforementioned summer days, I'd love to stay late with my clients! To help us stay and fish late, I offer gourmet lunch in generous amount. This is not exaggerating. Spring creeks offers picnic tables (DePuy's has resting huts too!!) so I'd like to set up nice outside lunch. Cold sandwiches?.........only if you request......... Usually I go more than that at spring creeks. What's today's special?
PMD Spinner Evening!! - DePuy's
See how dark I stay with clients under an evening shower!

A MUST-have Gizmo!!

That said, I don't want you to think that I guide (or want to guide) only spring creeks!! I'd love to guide other public waters either on foot or with my drift boat. Some Yellowstone Park waters shouldn't be missed. You will encounter match-the-hatch situations which could be tougher than at spring creeks!! Floating Montana's Mighty Yellowstone River on guides' drift-boats is another great experience money can buy. Drift boat allows me to carry cooking equipment and extra amount of foods so I serve special stream-side lunches (again, what's today's special?)! I bet planning and choosing where to fish around Livingston can cause headaches for visiting anglers because it's a never ending story for us local anglers too!! I'm here to assist you to plan your fishing and to make your trips memorable.

I will see you in Paradise Valley!!
Grass grows tall & green in summer - DePuy's
Armstrong Spring Creek (O'Hair Ranch) www.armstrongspringcreek.com
DePuy Spring Creek (Smith Family) www.depuyspringcreek.com
Nelson's Spring Creek (Nelson's Spring Creek Ranch) www.nelsonsspringcreek.com
Spring Creek Specialists (Buzz's Fly Shop along DePuy's) www.springcreekspecialists.com

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