BRANT OSWALD

Fly Fishing Services

various fly fishing images

A Thoughtful Approach to Montana Fly Fishing

Brant Oswald Fly Fishing Services offers expert guiding and instruction on the trout waters near Livingston, Montana

What sets me apart from other outfitters?

  • Experience - 30+ years as guide and fly casting / fly fishing instructor
  • Teaching ability - schools, classes, and instructional guided trips
  • Communication skills - clinics and professional programs for fishing clubs and shows
  • Specializing in “hatch based” fishing on Montana’s spring creeks and tailwaters
  • Intellectual, thoughtful approach to angling
  • A complete experience - fishing, Montana scenery, birds and wildlife, good conversation and good food

Brant Oswald

I am a teacher at heart, and my job is to share the knowledge I’ve gained over a lifetime of fishing and teaching, whether in a class or on the water with a guide client. I share my love for spring creeks and sight fishing with clients on the well-known spring creeks of the Yellowstone’s Paradise Valley - Armstrong, Nelson’s and DePuy’s. Floating the Yellowstone gives anglers a chance to fish a big freestone river and to see local wildlife and learn local history. If you would like more formal instruction, consider joining me for a class or clinic. If your booking requires additional guides, I’ll make sure they meet my standards of expertise, teaching ability, and good humor.

To get a better feel for me and my services, take a look around the site. Reading a few articles or a blog post might give you a better sense of my approach to fishing and guiding. Or just contact me directly if you have questions or want to discuss a class or a guided trip.

Ringing in 2014 with a new website!

I have been promising clients a new version of the website for several seasons now, so I am delighted to finally show off the new site. I hope visitors will enjoy the new look and new features, including a gallery of pictures and video, an archive of my published articles, an event calendar, and a blog. I hope the new features will give me an opportunity to showcase both past and current writing and allow more interaction with my clients and visitors to the site.

I extend a special thank you to Robin Cunningham of web-wrx.com not only for his expertise building the new site, but also for his coaching (and prodding) that got the project done.

My recap of the 2013 fishing season is eerily similar to the one from the year before, due to very similar snowpack and runoff conditions. Our snow season started off with some good early storms, which were followed by a long period of dry mid-winter weather, and then some late spring storms brought snowpack up to right around normal levels. And just like the year before, early warm weather in May and June melted off the spring snow and left us with minimal stream flows for the balance of the summer.

Luckily, we never saw water temperatures get high enough to force any local closures of the local freestone streams, but lower flows and warm water temps made for less than optimal conditions on the Yellowstone in late summer. I would rate last summer’s grasshopper fishing as only fair, but fishing a variety of smaller terrestrials kept the dry fly fishing reasonably productive on the warm days. Early season floating, right after runoff, was very productive, but as I am guiding on the spring creeks almost every day from early June through mid-July, I don’t get to enjoy that fishing myself.

On the Paradise Valley spring creeks, of course, we don’t have to worry about flows or water temperatures. Productive fishing on the spring creeks is mostly dependent on hatches, and 2013 was a very good year overall. I found the spring hatches of both midges and Baetis mayflies to be a little stronger than we have seen for several years. The fish got extremely picky for a few days in late July, but then got easier again in August, as angler numbers on the creeks dropped.

After trying to pick bowl game winners the last two weeks, I'm hesitant to make any predictions about the upcoming season. Local skiers are smiling about the snow conditions at Bridger Bowl, but current snowpack data shows the Yellowstone drainage is just above normal right now, so I’m not counting on higher flows months from now. The new website will give me new ways to keep visitors up to date on current conditions, so I hope I can help folks match their trip dates to promising weather and water conditions.

As always, I encourage clients to think about planning a spring trip to Montana–between mid-March and early May. The transition from winter to spring around here is almost as magical as the transition from summer to fall. Locals often remark that October in Montana should last six months–I would make April take up a lot of the rest of the calendar. This is one of my favorite times of year to be on the water. We usually have good nymph and streamer fishing on the Yellowstone, with a chance for hatches of Baetis, March Browns, caddis as we move into April. On the spring creeks, midge and Baetis hatches usually provide a dose of dry fly fishing each day. An overnight trip to area tailwaters like the Bighorn or Missouri can also provide great early season fishing. Of course, there is a reason my calendar is busier in the summer–spring weather can be unpredictable, but proper trip preparation can make even tough weather enjoyable. And those tough weather days often bring the best hatches and the best fishing….

Keep an eye on the website for news on more classes and clinics. In addition to the instruction I do for The Bozeman Angler and Sweetwater Travel guide school, I am planning more special topic clinics this season. Anyone interested in private or customized instruction–for individuals or small groups–please call or e-mail.

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