It’s always strange to have to put a jacket on at the end of July. But on Wednesday morning the temperature in Billings was only 66 degrees at 9 a.m., pretty unusual. The cool weather followed a couple of soaking rainstorms that were pretty localized, from what I hear, but we’ll take it — anything to keep the rivers and lakes a little cooler for a little longer as we enter August.
Rivers in the Billings area are dropping fast as we reach midsummer. But the Stillwater, Yellowstone and Boulder rivers are still fishing well early in the morning for anglers tossing hoppers and droppers. The Bighorn River remains a subsurface fishery as the water leaving Yellowtail Dam has been cold enough to keep any big dry fly hatches from occurring.
On the Bighorn Reservoir, anglers are catching walleye in the slide area pulling worm harnesses. Check out the creek mouths for bass. Nearby on Tongue River Reservoir, an angler reeled in a 10.5-pound walleye and northern pike and bass fishing remains consistently good.
To beat the heat of the valleys, consider hiking or driving up into the Beartooth Mountains and fishing one of the hundreds of lakes that stretch across the plateau. Take a spinning rod and you can cast lures or switch over to a fly and a bubble bobber for some topwater action.
Don’t forget that on Monday at 5 a.m., surplus B tags go on sale at Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ website.
(Written by Brett French – Outdoors Editor for the Billings Gazette; Photo: Brett French)