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.

Looking ahead to the 2015 season

Well, I recall there is a proverb that says the road to website updates is paved with good intentions. After I managed to get the site rebuilt last year, I enjoyed another trip to New Zealand in January and February. The day after I got home from New Zealand, we added a new Labrador puppy to the family. Later in the spring, I traveled to southern California for a series of presentations to a consortium of fly fishing clubs, which meant I needed to build a new program for the club presentations. And then along came something called fishing season.

So apologies for the delay in adding new content to the site. But I don't apologize for the fact that my first priorities are with my clients, so guiding and teaching (and fly tying, lunch prep, time on the phone and computer to keep up with bookings, etc.) will always come before work on the website.

But keep an eye on the blog page, as you'll find new posts on appearing in the next few weeks.

2014 Report, 2015 Season Outlook

Like farmers, housepainters, and ski instructors, fishing guides are always thinking (and worrying) about the weather. Last season, we had a very heavy snowpack, and guides who work primarily out of their drift boats worried that the river might not drop and clear enough for productive fishing until very late July or even August. For those of us who spend a lot of time on the Paradise Valley spring creeks, the worry was about a repeat of the destructive flooding we saw in 1996.

But Mother Nature took care of us. We saw very high flows (with peaks of almost 33,000 cfs), but all of that melting snow came out in a remarkably steady fashion. There was some localized flooding, but it caused only minimal damage. I had predicted to clients that we wouldn't be floating the Yellowstone until very late July, but with high flows through May and June, it was very fishable by July 10, and the anglers and guides who don't mind fishing in off-color water were fishing it by the end of June.

We continued to get timely rain through June and July, and the country stayed green and beautiful most of the summer. Most local ranchers put up a hay crop as good as any in memory. On the Yellowstone and other local freestone streams, flows were good all summer, and we avoided the warm water temps that had caused problems for late season fishing in recent low water years.

This winter, our weather has been a story of extremes. We got quite a bit of early snow and suffered through a couple of shots of Arctic subzero temperatures in November and December. As I write this in early March, Livingston has enjoyed some very mild weather since the first of the year, with chinook winds and temperatures in the 40s and 50s, all while much of the East has been digging itself out of snowdrifts. In spite of the mild, dry weather, the seasonal snowpack is just above the long term average, so as long as we get some spring moisture, we shouldn't have to worry about extremes in flows this season.

If you haven't made travel plans for this coming season, consider an spring trip to Montana–in the "pre-runoff" period between mid-March and early May. The early season still offers an uncrowded fishing experience that can be difficult to find in Montana in mid-summer. Weather can be unpredictable, but the spring creeks, area tailwaters, and private lakes can provide dependable water conditions if the freestone streams are high for a few days with low elevation runoff. And it's not all nymphs and streamers in the early season–spring hatches offer at least some dry fly opportunities on most waters in the area.

Keep an eye on the blog and events calendar for news on more classes and clinics. I am committed to doing more instruction this season–I have already booked two extended private schools, and I'll be posting more clinic offerings soon.