The next stop on our Montana Road Trip – DePuy Spring Creek.
We decided to reserve three rods for the whole day (6:30 am till dark) on August 1, the day after arriving in Livingston, MT. Our friend Eric joined us. I was really looking forward to fishing DePuy Spring Creek.
The creek is almost three miles long and includes a variety of water – riffles, pools, runs, slow glides, deep water pockets and weed-channeled areas. While fishing is limited to 16 rods per day, we were able to go anywhere we wished to explore the creek and scare a few fish.
I found this history of DePuy Spring Creek from their website:
“In 1905, the DePuy family moved from Kansas to Livingston where they purchased a small farm on the Yellowstone river in Paradise Valley, supporting the family with farming, sheep and cattle ranching. Over the years, additional property was added to create the current DePuy ranch.
During the late 1950’s, Warren DePuy decided to build a fish hatchery on the property. After obtaining ownership of the water rights to a large spring creek that flowed through a portion of the ranch, he bulldozed a diversion to redirect the creek outflow so it could feed the newly-built hatchery.
According to an article in the Park Electric paper, in a few short years, the hatchery grew to be one of the largest in the country.
The hatchery was short lived, though, because a new highway was surveyed and constructed through the hatchery area located at what is now the main entrance.
During the highway construction, the original creek was dredged to add a series of new channels, drops, pools, and runs throughout the ranch, resulting in our world-famous spring creek fishery. The work also added ponds for the waterfowl common to the river bottom, as well as the magnificent Trumpeter Swans brought here via a cooperative venture between the DePuy family and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.”
The first surprise was when we arrived at the main house to check-in for the day.
We found a mansion straight out of Gone with the Wind, something I would have expected from the south.
Here is a picture of the map we picked up. The Yellowstone River, with it’s braided channels, is at the top.
We headed to the lower end of the creek and stopped at Eva’s Hut to see what we could find.
We looked at the creek, but decided to try a spot at the end of their property. Lucky for us, we met Tom who guides on the creek and he was able to provide some ideas about potential hatches we might see.
It wasn’t long before we saw a few rings…fish were rising!
I was able to hook up and caught this beautiful brown trout.
My wife found this cutthroat.
And we returned it back to it’s environment.
And here is another Yellowstone Cutthroat.
We were fortunate to catch a few fish. The fish stopped rising after noon and our stomachs told us we needed to head back and have our lunch. While eating the final bite, someone might have seen a fish rise a couple of times and decided to fish this riffle…and land another four fish!
We checked out the rest of DePuy Spring Creek including the small fly shop operated by Buzz Basini.
Here is one of Eric’s fish.
Catching it really wore him out.
And I might have dozed briefly before heading out for some late fishing.
Here is the Yellowstone River and where DePuy Spring Creek enters it.
We returned in the evening to the same area where we caught fish and found them rising again. I hooked a couple and one of those straightened out my hook! But that was it. We were never able to figure it out. I think they were keying in on #24 mayfly spinners and I didn’t have any of those. I think I got schooled!
We all had a great experience fishing DePuy Spring Creek. I look forward to fishing it again on a future Montana road trip.
Be sure to read more about our Montana Road Trip in the following posts:
- On the Road to Montana
- Montana Road Trip – Madison River
- Montana Road Trip – Stillwater River
- Montana Road Trip – Lamar River and Slough Creek