Run off season is in full swing. Some decent fishing can still be found, but be safe on the water!
Gallatin River- Flows have dropped slightly but the river is still running high, especially with the heat we’ve seen this week. Above the taylor fork and into the park is more clear than down stream. If you do fish here try throwing dark streamers on the banks to entice some hungry rainbows. Also, a double nymph rig with your favorite bead heads wouldn’t be a bad strategy.
Lower Madison river- Flows have been dropping currently around 3400 cfs and maintaining. Nymphing a wooly bugger with a crayfish has been picking up lots of fish as well as bigger prince nymphs and hares ears. Some fairly consistent hatches have been occurring so throwing a dry is never a bad idea. Try a caddis with an adams trailing behind it. If flows spike try throwing streamers on the banks for fish that are holding there, you might also get some dry opportunities around this time too.
Upper Madison river- Good to go on entire stretch of this river. Streamers will get you some fish here and there , mainly on the banks, but nymphing will be the most consistent. Dry fly activity in the late afternoons has been reported also. Golden stones have also been sighted as nymphs. Try a chubby with a rubber legs dropper on the banks. A worm with a rubber leg deep under an indicator would also produce some fish. Never hurts to try prince nymphs, pheasant tails, or ever hares ears if nothing else is working .
Yellowstone River- Not recommended to fish at this time.
All of George Town Lake is now opened with all access points open. Visibility at 60in with clear water conditions. Fishing is good all day.
Flows have dropped a bit over the week but it’s still running around, 4,500 CFS. Water clarity has been decent at 2+ft & the Big Hole doesn’t typically get as muddy as other rivers in the area, it usually just gets a darker tanic tea color. We’ve had some good reports of streamer fishing in the upper stretches. Big & flashy has been tricking fish which is pretty typical in high water conditions. If you’d like to nymph the trout have been feeding heavily on worms that are washed into the river system so definitely bring some San Juan variations. Big stonefly nymphs & caddis pupa should also produce some fish for you. As of now the dry fly fishing has been pretty poor but if we get some warm weather & the flows hang steady that could change. As always be careful floating this river at these flows, if you’re a novice on the oars stick to the upper stretch.
The dry fly action is finally kicking in on the Clark Fork with various stone flies and mayflies getting a few fish looking up. We suggest starting Double down under an indicator with a hot bead or bling pink worm followed up by a tung prince or double bead stone but when you see bugs in the air or crawling around on the boat try the dry flies or dry dropper rigs.
Look for soft seams and back eddies but don’t count out dead water. We’ve noticed some days they want pink bling, other days its a brown, black, or tan rubber legs. The river is double high for this time of year so side channels and back waters deserve your attention there. Also bows and cuts have sex on their minds about now so concentrate banks below tribs too.
We expect the Clark to get better with the warmer weather especially for the dry action. Watch the flows and and long as they stay stable the river will fish. The Bitterroot continues to be busy so this might be a good option to avoid a bunch of fishers. Conditions are good. River is running high, but steady and reasonably clear.
There are multiple access points all along river. The entire river is in good shape – upper reaches above Missoula and just below Rock Creek or on up near Warm Springs seem to be fishing better than just below Missoula…BUT TAKE NOTE: the south side road below Harpers bridge and above Petty is closed due to a wash out – don’t know when it’ll reopen.