Please let us know if you would like to see your weekly fishing report included in this list by emailing it to us before the end of the day on Tuesday of each week here along with your business website/email address.
Salmon- snagging has been really good and some bigger females are starting to show up and guys are snagging them. The marina bay, duck creek and the damn have been the most consistent areas.
Lake Trout- The fish have moved up shallow on their spawning areas. Fish have been between 10-35 feet and anglers are catching them trolling cranks and spoons. This bite should continue to get better as water temps continue to cool down.
Pike- Fish are biting and moving back up shallow. Cranks and spoons in 5-15 feet of water have been producing good numbers and size.
Walleye- The bite has definitely picked up with these cooler temps. Guys have been catching them in 15 feet pulling cranks and jigging
The tackle store and Bar and Restaurant along with our campground are still open 7 days a week for all your needs.
This Yellowstone Park fishing report is valid from October 21 until the close of the park season at sunset November 7.
We are now in the last act of YNP fishing for the year. Basically we’re fishing for pre-spawn brown trout in deeper pools, the resident trout and some larger rainbows that follow these browns to eat their eggs both in the pools and the pocket water, and looking for occasional small BWO hatches.
The Firehole River is your best bet for hatches. Look for BWO (tiny, #20 or smaller) on gray days. A few White Miller caddis may still be around on warm, sunny days near hot springs, but not many. Match the hatch precisely or fish our smallest copper and purple Hazy Cripples as attractors when the BWO are out. Match the hatch or swing soft hackles if you are seeing splashy caddis rises. If you find it uncrowded, the nymphing downstream of Firehole Falls can also be good now.
The Madison River is fall-run brown central and will be the most crowded water in the region because of it. Fish the obvious, crowded runs. Join the conga line of anglers working downstream through a pool, then stepping out and heading back to the top again. If you catch a fish, step out and start over. DO NOT wade in downstream of other anglers, or expect a tongue-lashing. This is like steelhead or Atlantic salmon fishing in terms of etiquette, not that everyone follows the etiquette (even new guides are culprits). Fish stonefly nymphs and eggs for numbers, or swing large soft hackles and steelhead-style streamers if you want to be much snazzier. You can also look for trout rising to BWO near Madison Junction.
The Lower Gibbon River may have fish rising to BWO, particularly in the meadows, but nymph and streamer fishing below Gibbon Falls is a better bet. This will be less crowded than the Madison, but not un-crowded.
The Gardner River will fish well in the pocket water downstream of Boiling River using stonefly and attractor nymphs and eggs for mostly resident and run-up rainbow trout. You can also fish jig-style streamers in place of a larger nymph. You seldom need to put your fly line in the water here, and Euro-nymphing is the best tactic. The deeper pools will still have some pre-spawn brown trout, but most of the browns in the Gardner are already spawning. WATCH OUT FOR REDDS!
There is some chance for BWO hatches in the Yellowstone River between Tower Junction and Gardiner, but the cold will make this water much less consistent. We would probably fish streamers in the lower Black Canyon within a couple miles of Gardner if we wanted to shed crowds, with any rising trout a bonus. This is probably the least consistent option mentioned on this report, but there won’t be any other anglers.
The Lewis River is now a good bet. Fish streamers or nymph the upper end of the Lewis Meadow up to the base of Lewis Falls for both larger brown trout and lake trout that screwed up big time and got stuck below the falls. Between Lewis & Shoshone Lake expect crowded conditions and lots of “redd-raiding.” At first light, nymphing the deeper areas can produce bigger browns (you probably need to be camping in the backcountry to do this). Lewis Lake to Lewis Falls is similar but much more accessible.
The Lamar System (Lamar, Soda Butte, Slough), small creeks, and all other waters not named above are now generally too cold to fish well.
Wolf Creek Angler Fishing Report by Wolf Creek Angler (October 20, 2021)
Three weeks into October and rapidly approaching the season’s end, we’re enjoying the slow and steady seasonal transition. The weather has been amazing this fall with moderate temps and very little precipitation. We’re hopeful that trend takes a turn very soon as we are in desperate need of water for next season, but for now we’ll continue to enjoy these classic fall days. The leaves remain on many of the trees with plenty of color providing an extended autumn backdrop to some great days on the water.
Most years we’ll have seen enough cold temps and wind by this point in October to strip the trees bare so we’re really enjoying the extended show.
Fishing has been good enough most days though I dare not oversell it as you’ll always have some days that are going to be a struggle for some. Overall though, the action has been consistently good and most are reporting good days nymphing and throwing streamers.
Dry fly fishing has had its moments with verified reports of actual BWO’s on several occasions but as is always the case with fall dry fly fishing on the Missouri, those days you would call epic are generally very few and far between. There will be bugs here and there, and fish rising here and there on a daily basis but this is not what you’ve heard about when people refer to epic fall dry fly fishing on the Missouri. It’s a whole different level of emergence and feeding activity, the likes of which the average novice angler if they’re lucky, may only experience a handful of times in a lifetime of fishing. Believe me, if you happen to hit it right and you are on the water for one of these days there will be no mistaking it. If you have to ask then it was likely not an epic dry fly day by Missouri River standards.
All that being said, approach every day with the hope that it might happen but with the realistic expectation that you will likely see a few bugs and a few heads and you may get a shot or two at a feeding trout…make it count!
My go-to BWO setup is a #18 Brook’s Sprout Baetis paired with a #18 Film Critic. Other good options include Olive Haze, Olive Parachute Adams, Parachute BWO, BWO Hackle Stacker, BWO Flash Cripple, Last Chance Cripple, Nyman’s BWO DOA , BWO CDC wing emerger, Wilcox’s BWO Micromay. All these and many more available at WCA.
Nymphing has been status quo with Zebra Midges, Tailwater Sows, Tungsten Tailwater Sows, Soft Hackle Sows, Scuds, Green Machines, Psycho Mays, Rainbow Czechs, Bubble Yums, Pill Poppers, Olive Lightning Bugs, Olive 2 Bits, BWO Magic Fly, Split Case BWO, Peep Show and various PT variations all proving to be effective offerings. Best setup has been short (3ish’ to first bug, no weight). I like to lead with a tungsten bead bug though I wouldn’t say that has been critical. Target the shallow fast water and leave the 5X at home. Your best bet is a 7.5’ 3X leader to 4X tippet. These fall fish are hot.
Streamer fishing is still my go to and will be from here on out. The word on the street is buggers and we’ve been selling plenty of them but don’t let anyone tell you that you have to go small. Buggers are fine and catch plenty of fish but there’s absolutely no reason you shouldn’t be throwing heavy lines and big bugs. Big lines and big bugs require a fair amount of work but often that work results in big payoffs.
Yes, working a heavy line in shallow water situations requires effort but in my opinion it’s better to utilize the option that can work in all situations. An intermediate line works great in the shallows and doesn’t require any extra effort but you’re not going to dredge the depths of those drop offs with an intermediate line. A 240 or 280 grain Streamer Max short can be stripped rapidly through the shallows and will also give you the option of getting that big bug down in the depths where big fish often lurk. So sure, you can rig up a couple of rods, one with an intermediate and one with a heavy sink but why would you? Often you’re working across the shallow flat and down into the depths of the drop off or bucket. You can work the shallows and the mid water column effectively with your intermediate line or you can give yourself the option of dredging the depths if you aren’t finding them in the mid water columns.
It’s all personal preference. Many “traditionalists” will fish the same floating line they’re using for nymphing or dry fly fishing. They’ll tie on a bugger and add a split shot and call it good and they’ll likely catch plenty of fish, especially letting that bugger swing in the tailouts. It’s an effective way to fish and it’s what used to be considered “streamer fishing”.
Not anymore. There’s a world of specialty lines designed for any and all situations and there are all sorts of bugs we call streamers ranging in size and weight and design. Some are designed to push water, some are designed to swim, and some are designed to dive to the depths and can be fished either by stripping or jigging. It’s a world of fly fishing unto its self. Some Love it. Some hate it. Few are indifferent. It’s a passion of ours and it’s one we’re more than happy to share with anyone who asks.
It’s all right here, right now. Dry Fly Fishing, Bobber Fishing, Streamer Fishing, Swinging….Fall is FLY FISHING on the MO and beyond.
The shop is open daily at 7 AM with lodging and guides available most days. Traffic has slowed for the most part though it still seems to come in waves. The nice weather will continue to generate some activity though many have shifted their focus to hunting so crowds won’t be an issue until spring.
Get out and enjoy this awesome autumn on the Missouri.
This Montana fishing report is valid from October 21 through the close of the Yellowstone Park season at sunset on November 7.
The brown trout are now spawning in earnest on all rivers and streams that hold them, while many waters are now too low and cold to fish well. These two extremes put a bit of a constriction on the fishing for the next few weeks (which gets worse the colder it gets). That said, in between the two extremes fishing can be very good.
On waters holding brown trout, avoid areas of ankle to thigh-deep gravel and small cobble with consistent walking-speed current. These are spawning areas and it is unethical to target fish in these areas. In addition, walking through them can kill hundreds or thousands of eggs. “Catch and release” doesn’t do much good when you destroy the next generation. If you don’t know how to avoid redds (spawning nests), you should clink the link you just read past, courtesy Gink and Gasoline. There are still plenty of pre-spawn browns in areas of deep, slow water as well as faster boulder-bottomed water, and that says nothing about the resident trout and even run-up rainbows that follow the browns to eat their eggs. On Wednesday last week, Walter caught seventy trout in four hours of fishing, and only eight of them were run-up browns, none from spawning areas.
In general, fishing will be better in the afternoon and evening than first thing in the morning, unless you’re throwing streamers on sunny days for those pre-spawn browns. Hatches will concentrate on calm and especially calm and cloudy days provided it isn’t too cold. Except maybe in the Firehole River, dry fly fishing is starting to get very shaky as water temps drop. We’re basically fishing subsurface now, and unless you see risers we suggest you do, too.
Overall, fishing quality is at a 0-9 out of 10, with quality depending on being on the right water when the weather is both tolerable and not too bright. The following are top fisheries right now. Use the reports menu to visit specific reports pages. All reports were updated on October 9. The Yellowstone River and YNP reports were updated today and are the most important fisheries.
- The Yellowstone River is primarily a streamer, stonefly nymph, BWO nymph, and egg game now unless you see rising trout. Any hatches will be BWO and midges. It’s a good idea now to dead-drift a small streamer under an indicator with a BWO nymph dropper until you see hatches, or float a 5-mile section and get out to wade-fish good runs by swinging streamers. Mornings will be slow for numbers but may produce large fish. Afternoons will give the best shot at numbers.
- Private Lakes are in some cases closed as their owners prepare for elk hunting, but those that are open will produce lots of big fish on nymphs and streamers.
- Geothermal Rivers in YNP may produce BWO hatches. Of these, the Firehole is the best choice if you’re looking for surface activity. Crowds should be falling off as more and more people either leave town or fixate entirely on brown trout. There may also be hatches on the Gardner, Gibbon, or Madison, though these will be less consistent.
- The Madison, Lower Gibbon, Lower Firehole, Lewis, and Gardner Rivers all host brown trout spawning runs. Of these the Lewis River Channel between Lewis & Shoshone Lakes and the Madison are the most consistent but also the most crowded. The Lower Firehole and Gardner will be less crowded but usually not un-crowded. The Gibbon falls somewhere in the middle. Nymphs of various sizes work well on all these waters (smallest on the shallow, clear Lewis). On the Madison, streamers and large soft hackles can also work.
- Further afield, the lower Gallatin, lower Madison, Jefferson, and Missouri between Toston Dam and Canyon Ferry Reservoir can also produce browns now, but they hold many fewer (but in some cases bigger) fish.
The Ruby has been hit or miss for us in the early fall but things seemed to have stabilized and it is fishing well again. The water is low and the fish are concentrated in the deeper runs. The browns are moving and this is a fun fishery to strip streamers for medium sized trout. The baetis hatch can also bring some fish up on a cloudy day.
The Month Ahead:
The Ruby fishes well in the fall. Streamers and nymphs will be the main game once mid November arrives.
Long Term Fishing Forecast:
The Ruby is a pretty decent winter fishery. Nymphing is the staple in the early winter but by February you can get a decent rise over the midge hatch.
Want to fish in the park? You’d better hurry: there are only six days left to join the crowds on the Madison and the Gardner Rivers. The Firehole River still offers good top or near top water fishing,but getting there could be a bit “iffy” because of road and weather conditions. Check with the park website for current road conditions to the Firehole and also to the Lewis River where the best concentration almost anywhere of migrating brown trout is ongoing.
Montana Fly Fishing in October by Montana Angling Co. (October 2021)
October is fall fly fishing at its finest in Montana. Anglers will find great fly fishing on our blue ribbon rivers in Bozeman, MT as well as the Missouri River. Fall in Montana offers the combination of excellent fly fishing, strong hatches, beautiful scenery, and open space that makes every Montana fly fishing trip in October memorable.
Many of our long time anglers and guides consider October to be the best month for fly fishing in Montana for anglers that prefer angling on our rivers in solitude. It is not uncommon to not see another angler on a Montana fly fishing trip in October and pressure is always low on all of our rivers. Fall weather can make for variable and challenging conditions by the middle of the month but anglers can expect rewarding fly fishing regardless.
- Consistent conditions and low pressure on the Missouri River make for some of the best fly fishing of the season. Good hatches of caddisflies and BWOs make for great dry fly fishing most afternoons and productive nymphing and streamer fishing in the mornings.
- The Yellowstone River near Bozeman, MT offers consistently great fly fishing along its entire length from Gardiner to Columbus, MT and true solitude on the water.
- Seasoned anglers will enjoy rewarding fly fishing in all conditions.
What to Expect in October
October fly fishing in Montana is all about slowing down, taking it all in, and having fun while enjoying blue ribbon fly fishing in solitude. Anglers can expect low angling pressure on all of our Montana rivers and good hatches throughout the month. Fall weather can be variable throughout the month and anglers should expect any and all conditions ranging from sunny and warm to snowy and cold. Wind is the main factor that can impact the fly fishing. Calmer days will be more productive and windy days less so. Even in the most challenging of conditions and anglers can expect rewarding fly fishing opportunities.
On the Missouri River anglers can expect the most consistent conditions for fly fishing in October. The Missouri River near Craig, MT is considerably lower elevation than our Bozeman, MT area waters which means conditions are generally milder. Hatches of BWOs, midges, and caddisflies are also predictably better on the Missouri River often making for world class dry fly sight fishing on a daily basis. Angling pressure is lower on the Missouri River in October than during other prime months of the fly fishing season.
On the Yellowstone River, Madison River, and other freestone streams closer to Bozeman, MT anglers can expect true solitude on the water and great fly fishing. Conditions are generally favorable but anglers should be prepared for angling in often challenging conditions including cold, rain, snow, and wind during the month of October. The fly fishing is rewarding regardless. Consistent afternoons hatches of BWOs and fall drakes makes for great dry fly and dry-dropper fishing most days.
Where to Fly Fish in October
Anglers planning a Montana fly fishing trip in Montana should consider the Missouri River and Yellowstone River to be the two premier destinations for fly fishing in October. The Missouri River tailwater below Holter Dam offers the most consistent fly fishing, regardless of conditions, and strong hatches that makes for great dry fly fishing. The Yellowstone River offers true solitude and more than 150 miles of blue ribbon water to fly fish, which means there is always somewhere to fish and find favorable conditions near Bozeman, MT.
Other rivers in Montana including the Madison River, Jefferson River, and Gallatin River can also offer great fly fishing in October, but often challenging conditions due to Fall weather. While anglers can count on solitude and productive days when conditions are right, our Montana fly fishing guides recommend heading elsewhere on colder and windier days.
October Fly Fishing Tactics
Generally anglers can expect to employ a variety of fly fishing tactics in October in Montana. Colder mornings mean hatches often start late-morning or early afternoon. Nymphing and streamer fishing are generally productive before hatches of BWOs, midges, and caddisflies make for excellent dry fly fishing. Hopper fishing can often continue to be productive through the month on warmer days and shouldn’t be overlooked.
On the Missouri River anglers should plan on the daily pattern of nymphing and streamer fishing in the morning followed by dry fly or dry-dropper fishing in the afternoon. Strong hatches of BWOs on cold overcast days will bring huge numbers of rising fish to the surface and make for some of the best sight fishing of the year. The presentations are often technical and demanding, but make for truly rewarding fly fishing for all anglers. #16-20 BWO patterns including cripples, spinners, and emergers will be the most productive.
On our freestone rivers in Bozeman, MT anglers will find similar conditions and can expect to nymph or streamer fish in the morning and dry fly fish in the afternoon. Hatches vary significantly depending on conditions ranging from blanket hatches to non-existent and the dry fly fishing will vary accordingly. The Yellowstone River offers the most consistent hatches of BWOs throughout the month in Bozeman and anglers can expect quality dry fly fishing most afternoons on all but the windiest of days. Targeting slower water, back eddies, and mid-river seams will be the most productive.
October Fly Fishing Trips
October fly fishing trips with our Montana fly fishing guides are great for anglers that value solitude on the water and quality fly fishing, regardless of conditions. Seasoned anglers can expect success in all conditions and beginner anglers will find ample opportunity to learn and grow as anglers.
Our Missouri River fly fishing trips offer generally favorable conditions and consistent productivity. Strong fall hatches make for some of the best dry fly fishing of the year. Bozeman fly fishing trips in October offer true solitude on the Yellowstone and Madison River. Conditions can vary, but anglers can expect rewarding fly fishing on every October trip.
We encourage anglers to explore all of our Montana fly fishing trip options in October. Day trips are perfect for a quick trip while our custom trips and lodging packages make for a more immersive experience. Fall fly fishing in Montana truly is classic western fly fishing at its finest.
Contact us to learn more about October fly fishing trips with the Montana Angling Company.
BRO’s tips of the week:
As water temperatures drop, trout will favor holding lies that require them to expend less energy. Soft seams, drop offs, and pools offer great cover, access to food, and a break from the current. Target fish in these areas for a more productive day on the water.
7 day outlook:
Rain is on the way for the Blackfoot with some colder weather to go along with it. Highs in the 50’s this weekend. More rain and similar temperatures are expected as we head into next week.
Our recommendations for techniques and patterns:
Streamer fishing has been good on the Blackfoot. Buggers, Sparkle Minnows, Kreelexs, Envys and Dungeons are a good bet. If you’re not moving any fish give the indicator rig a shot until water temps start to warm in the afternoon. TJs, Girdle Bugs, San Juans, Duracells, Bird of Prey, Jig PTs, Spanish Bullets and Perdigons are our go to nymphs. You may still be able to move fish to the surface with an October Caddis or Mahogany, but the dry fly fishing has slowed down considerably.
Goings on at World Headquarters in Missoula:
Call or email us for up to the minute updates at 406.542.7411 or if you are in the area stop in- WE HAVE MOVED TO OUR BRAND NEW LOCATION AT 275 N. RUSSELL STREET IN MISSOULA- for all your Orvis gear and the right bugs.
Walleye Harvest Limit Change
The Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted and implemented the following changes to walleye limits at the April 1 commission meeting: Canyon Ferry Reservoir (page 58) – Walleye: 10 daily, only 1 over 15 inches. Possession limit is twice the daily limit. Hauser Reservoir (page 61) – Walleye: 10 daily, only 1 over 15 inches. Possession limit is twice the daily limit. Lake Helena (page 63) – Walleye: 10 daily, only 1 over 15 inches. Possession limit is twice the daily limit. Missouri River (pages 66 and 67) Toston Dam to Canyon Ferry Reservoir – Walleye: 10 daily, only 1 over 15 inches. Possession limit is twice the daily limit.
Fishing Report for the week of 10/25/2021
Rainbow fishing has been fantastic the last couple of weeks. Shore anglers are finding rainbows at the Causeway Bridge and Black Sandy while using Power Bait and crawlers and a marshmallow. Boaters trolling cowbells and wedding ring combos tipped with crawlers out from Black Sandy and the Dam area have been finding good numbers of rainbows as well. Perch and walleye fishing have slowed down with fewer boaters and cooler temperatures.
Stream levels are up a lot thanks to rain but it is still a little below normal levels. There are still some good hatches taking place. We received two good reports from customers recently.
Stream Conditions: Near Melrose
Rate: 423 cfs
Level: 1.68 ft
Afternoon Water Temperature: 47 degrees
Recommended Trout Flies:
Brown Sculpin and White Belly Sculpin and Articulated streamers, size 6/4
Black Matuka and Olive Matuka Sculpin, size 4/6
Blue-winged Olives: size 16, 18 nymph, emergers, duns and spinners
Midges: Blood, Lt. Green, Cream sizes 22, larva, pupa and adults
Green Sedge Caddis, size 14/16, larva, pupa and adults
Spotted Sedge Caddis: 14/16, larva, pupa and adults
Strategies, Techniques and Tips:
The Brown sculpin, White Belly sculpin and Articulated streamers are great flies to use at this time.
Blue-winged olives are hatching. Spotted sedge caddis are hatching. Midges are hatching.
Green Sedge Caddis are hatching.
Stream levels remain a little below normal in all sections. We are still receiving reports from our customers of fish being caught. Midges and BWOs are hatching good.
Email us at (email@example.com) with the dates you will be fishing and we will send you a list of our fly recommendations. We can get flies and gear to you within two to three business days from the time you place your order via Priority Mail. If you provide a budget for flies, we will select them to match the budget and get them to you on time for your trip. Your can also call us at 800-594-4726 and we will help you decide what flies and gear to use. All orders are shipped free in the U.S. If under a $100 order requiring Priority mail is a charge of only $8.10. Orders over a $100 are shipped free via Priority Mail.
Type of Stream
Bull Trout (Few)
3rd Sat. May – Nov 30th (Open
year-round some areas)
Clark Fork Special Regulations
State of Montana
National Weather Service Link
Stream Flow Data:
Real Time USGS Data (Deer Lodge)
Real Time USGS Data (Bonner)
Real Time USGS Data (below
Fly fishing the Clark Fork River is good from March through November.
Springtime is the best time to fish the river except when runoff from its many tributary streams affects the clarity.
The water can get warm in some areas but it is cooled by many of the streams that flow into it.
This is a good season and the best time for the brown trout.
Although it is possible to catch fish during the winter in some areas, it isn’t usually very productive. .
Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 to 12 ft., 5 or 6X Nymphing:
71/2 ft., 3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five
or Ultimate Six
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
Streamers are the name of the game if you want to catch fish on the Yellowstone. Throw some big articulated flies for a chance at catching a truly quality Montana trout. Otherwise nymphing will pick up whitefish in abundance. If streamer fishing becomes tiresome tie on some flashy droppers and a stonefly nymph to keep the rod bent. Try Dungeons in Yellow and Olive, Gongas, and Peanut Envys.
Fins & Feathers is a full-service Bozeman fly shop and Montana fly fishing outfitter. Yellowstone River fly fishing trips are available year-round with our Bozeman fly fishing guides.
Upper Yellowstone River Webcam – Located above the river in Gardiner, Montana.
Jim Mitchell’s Tip of the Week
The West Fork is now at winter levels. Floating is not recommended on any section. This is a good time to wade. Drys with droppers and nymphing in the am. Purple Haze, Adams, Pheasant tails, Perdigons size 16/14. May fly’s in the morning Hoppers in the afternoon. Steamers are working ok
Five Day Outlook: Start later let it warm up.
Techniques & Tips: Drys with droppers or two nymphs in the am. Single small mayflys
Water Temperature: 52 degrees
1400 CFS @ Livingston – The best bet for success on the Yellowstone right now is going to be throwing streamers. Big, articulated patterns often work well, but don’t rule out smaller streamers. Running a double streamer rig can often produce some good action. Nymph wise, be prepared to catch a boatload of whitefish, which can always be fun.
Lightning Bug #14
Little Spanker #16
Sculpzilla, Olive/White #4
Zirdle, Natural #6
Flathead Lake – Reports of Lakers showing up on the east side of the lake. Throwing Spoons and Rapalas has been fairly effective in the shallows.
Flathead River – Whitefish are starting to be caught on the river. Small plastics on a 1/8th or 1/4th jighead seem to be the ticket. Look for deeper pockets in the river where the whitefish will stack up. We are fully stocked on anything you will need to target the fall whitefish run. Pike are getting more active, Focus on bigger baits. Weeds are receding and the fish will start moving into hard structure. Look for bait fish.
Loon Lake – Rainbow trout have been very active this week. Leech patterns under a fly bobber have been a very productive pattern this fall.
Blanchard Lake – Perch fishing has been very consistent. Green glow jig tipped with worm or maggots has been a very successful method. Pike fishing continues to be productive with a smelt under a bobber.
Rogers Lake – Grayling bite has been on fire! Try balanced leeches or a small plastic under a slip bobber on the weed edges. Cutthroat being caught intermittently but very good-sized fish!
Echo Lake – Smallmouth are on the move. Fish have started to move into coves to find the fall forage. Try using a weightless fluke around ambush points. Running a slip bobber and a small minnow plastic around structure can also be very effective.
Little Bitterroot – Rainbows starting to be caught. Trolling can be very effective this time of year. Trolling bigger Rapalas can really pay off!
2700 CFS @ Holter – Despite the record-low flows on the Missouri River right now, the fishing is still relatively good. Afternoons can see a healthy BWO hatch, so be sure to carry some emergers and cripples with you. The Missouri trout aren’t easily fooled, so make sure your first presentation is your best. Nymphs and streamers are also producing.
Film Critic, BWO #18
Zebra Midge, Black #18
Lightning Bug #16
Little Spanker #16
Kreelex, Silver/Gold #6
Our warm weather fall continues! After cold and snow last week, we are back in the 60s with bluebird skies. While this might not be ideal for BWO hatches, it’s pretty darn awesome for about everything else. These late falls extend our hiking, biking and fishing (comfortably anyway) seasons before winter hits and we shift into ski mode.
Flows on the Yellowstone have continued to hover just above record lows, as they have all season long. Water temps are damn near perfect, allowing for less stressed fish and some good fall hatches. The cooler temps and shorter days have kicked trout into a period of hyperphagia – making them more aggressive as they seek food before the long winter.
If you want to catch a truly large brown trout on the Yellowstone River, now would be the time to do it. Streamer fishing has been effective and long days casting large flies will generally pay off. Fish the right water, fish the right flies, and you’ll be rewarded. For those after a more casual float, nymphing has been solid as well. If you want bent rods all day and don’t care what you’re catching, put on a couple flashy flies and catch whitefish all day long for a good time.
BWOs are coming off in early afternoons, more heavily on cloudy days than these bluebird days we’ve had lately. Remember, fall Baetis are generally smaller than their spring time counterparts and the fish have had a busy few months behind them. Expect the fish to be pickier and the fishing to be more technical than you might expect.
October is a great time to be out on our local rivers. Fishing pressure and boat traffic is way down, even on beautiful weekends. Pack the right gear to stay warm (the mornings are still pretty chilly!) and you’ll have a great time.
Other waters such as the Upper and Lower Madison, Gallatin, Boulder, Missouri, and Stillwater are all great choices right now as well. You really can’t go wrong with any body of running water in October here in Montana. Yellowstone National Park is fishing well, especially the Firehole River and the northeast corner. The Lamar in the fall is well worth the visit. Be bear aware, watch out for redds from spawning fish, and have a great time. Yellowstone’s fishing season ends the first Sunday of November, so get down there while you still can!
Come down to the shop for the latest up to date information and the gear and flies you need! Thanks for shopping local, and good luck out there this weekend.
The Stillwater River is low but trout are moving into the deeper slots and nymphing has been productive in the late morning. The afternoon can provide some good dry action with some cloud cover over the baetis hatch. Stripping streamers for some Yellowstone run browns on the lower river can often produce a pleasant surprise.
The Month Ahead:
Fishing will start to taper off in November as water temps continue to drop on the river.
Long Term Fishing Forecast:
The Stillwater is a relatively cold river and isn’t as productive as some other fisheries in the region in the winter months.