Fall Is Here, Sort Of: Brett French Preview
By Matt Schauer

Posted: September 7, 2012

Cooler weather continues to benefit hunters, anglers and firefighters in south-central Montana this week. Nighttime temperatures have been dipping down into the 50s in Billings and the high 20s in the West Yellowstone region and the higher mountains. So it’s finally starting to feel like fall after a long, hot summer.

The cooler weather is good for hunters, giving them more time to get their meat out of the woods or prairies before the heat of the day strikes. For anglers, cooler temps mean the water has also gotten chillier and is making fish more active after their summer stupor. Big dry flies like hoppers are still taking fish on rivers like the Yellowstone and Stillwater, although a change to streamers is a good bet when the first frosts come. Tongue River Reservoir is still fishing well for anglers using crankbaits or worm harnesses for bass and walleye. Cooney and Martinsdale reservoirs are suffering from low water as the irrigation season continues to draw them down.

So far, the Billings area is about 5 inches behind normal for moisture so far this year. Usually the region has gotten about 10 inches by now. And there’s no forecast yet of a fall snowstorm that would help douse the many fires that have made the region hazy for weeks. The only upside to all of the smoke is that we’ve been getting some colorful sunrises and sunsets.

This post was provided by Brett French, Outdoors Editor for the Billings Gazette