Bozeman’s local alpine lake is a 200-acre blue-green beauty at 6,700 feet in the Gallatin Mountain Range, just 19 miles south of town. When spring runoff turns the area’s rivers into torrents of chocolate milk, Hyalite is the place to cast a fly for wild, native fish. The reservoir usually thaws in May, when hungry Yellowstone cutthroats and arctic grayling cruise the shallows, looking for food. Grayling are a special fish, with delicate mouths and an iridescent dorsal fin, that only inhabit cold, clean water. They commonly reach 14 inches in Hyalite Reservoir, but the lake holds bigger specimens, too. (They’re catch and release only.) Fish for them by slowly stripping a leach pattern from a float tube, or on shore. Hyalite Creek below the reservoir is a fun, fast stream where 6- to 12-inch rainbows slash at Royal Wulffs and other attractor dry flies.
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