Please let us know if you would like to see your weekly fishing report included in this Montana fishing report compilation by emailing your report to us before the end of the day on Tuesday of each week here along with your business website/email address.
There are still a few crappie in the lake. We are seeing a few this spring.
Update: We are out of minnows. With gas $4.50.a gallon, I don’t see me driving 100s of miles to trap minnows, that honestly don’t sell in summertime and are extremely difficult to keep alive and fresh in the heat at my location. We will postpone any minnows until fall. I can get leeches, but once again, jumbos are retailing around $100 a lb right now. If you have a need for them, I can more than likely get them with advance notice. Until our government pulls it’s head out of it’s ass and the lack of a turnaround at the power plant this spring is not helpful. Our shop is on the back burner as I invest my time into my full time job this summer. We have the boat available to rent on weekends and I do have crawlers, frozen bait, and a small assortment of tackle and rods. We love seeing you and hope you can enjoy summer in these times.
–No new report–
Walleye bite west is very good right now. Most people are traveling to atleast snow creek and continuing on further west. Walleye are being caught at depths of 6-15ft using jigs or bottom bouncers.
Northern Pike and Smallmouth Bass are being caught around the mouth of Hell Creek headed west towards warmer water. They are being found in shallow depths pitching or jigging.
Rainbow trout continue to be picked up near Riverside Campground, the Causeway, and Black Sandy while using Power Bait, plain crawlers, or casting spoons. Trolling cowbells and wedding ring combos or crankbaits out from Black Sandy, White Sandy, Devils Elbow and York Bridge is also producing good numbers of rainbows. A few walleyes and perch continue to be picked up in Lake Helena and the Causeway Arm while trolling crankbaits or bottom bouncers and crawler harnesses. Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena
Headhunters Fly Shop Missouri River June Forecast
Rain. A total of 6 days historically. 2.62″ on the average. Hopefully more this year. Looking like a cooler and wetter month ahead according to the forecast by NOAA.
Sunshine. Yes. Mostly. Average high temp of 76F and low temp of 46F. Still a month where you should be prepared for anything. I have seen snow on the 11th. Only 9″ though. Gone that afternoon. Raingear? Yep. Sunscreen. Certainly.
Currently at the approximately 3K club. But that may not last. It could bump up a bit? Or not. We will see the flows continue to be low for the month. The dam operators claim there could be some sort of move towards 4100 for the months of June and July. Currently checking
Your Missouri River information source is Headhunters of Craig.
Flows from here on out are dependent on the rain that falls from the sky. We have had a pattern where the rain and cooler weather has prolonged the run-off period. Holding in the hills is the water that historically has already come off. Check out the Snow Water Equivalent Map below and see what we are currently situated at.
PMD’s are here. They will become more of an issue as the month progresses. Historically the PMD pops on t June 4, 5, or 6. Then 4 or 5 days until it is game on. This is my favorite fly fishing week on the Mighty Mo. Average or below average flows bring fantastic early PMD dry fly action. This is one of those years. Yup.
Expect PMD action to increase all the way through the 4th of July. Then it may wane. But wait! It does not end until sometime in July. Late July on higher water years. Sooo…we will have to see what transpires.
Dry flies that will work for the front end include that classic parachute pattern you like. They are dumb easy in the beginning. Then they get more difficult every day. Cripples, spinners, and emergers rule this hatch. The Buzzball is a great pattern for both the caddis and PMD. Remember that our theme is generally presentation first. Fly Second. But if you like a ton of kick ass PMD patterns then look no further than your fly source on the Missouri River, Headhunters of Craig.
Caddis flies will come in better numbers as the month move ahead. Enough on the lower to see a few fish finding the top water caddis. IF you like that kind of action you may want to fish below Mid-Canon for the next couple weeks. It can, and will happen.
Downwinged patterns are popular because they work. those high wingers will get some fish early, but then you must fish it in the film man. CDC, short hair-winged patterns, and soft hackles will find you the best catch rates.
Ants. Fish them. Towards the end of the month you will need a selection of cinnamon, black, and bi-colored patterns on your person daily. Terrestrial play a big role throughout the summer months. Stock up today and fish them all season long!
Yellow Sallies will make an appearance in June as well. Have a few nymphs in your box along with a couple downwind Sally patterns. Although we do like the parachute versions for success. Put that fly in the film as well. And remember it is a stonefly. A small and yellow fellow.
The worm hatch will continue for those who like to soak their flies. All of your cool patterns that you tied all winter long are in play. Caddis Pupa and emergers. PMD techy nymphs like the Split Back and Two Bit Hooker. Fish them and enjoy getting the net wet. Iron Sally. A good one. GRHE too. Big PT’s? Sure. Small ones too. Zebra’s and small black PT’s will finish the month with the Trico on our minds. The nymphs are in play before the dry fly shows itself. Smart nymphers know that!
CraigTroutCamp and CraigLodging are the two portals that you need for any lodging needs you may need fishing the Missouri River in Montana. 30+ lodging options for you to peruse. Book today with our booking agents at Headhunters Fly Shop and Guide Service in Craig Montana 406-235-3447. Lodging for two starting just over a hundred bucks. Lodging riverside for bit more. Lodging for groups. Lodging for every budget and need.
Headhunters is the number one rated guide service on the Mighty Missouri River. Our annual return client rate is 78%. Strong. The best in Missouri River guides coupled with our famous Headhunters customer service gives you the best experience on the Mo!
Call today and we will fit you with the right fishing guide for your fly fishing desires. A dry fly guide to show you the difficult, albeit large, brown trout? Got it. A numbers man? Got it. A guide to educate your children, or your wife? Got that covered too. Let Julie, Sara, and Ninch cater your trip to you! It’s what we love to do and it’s what we do best.
We are open daily at 7am. Earlier sooner than later. Open late too til at least 8pm nightly. Find your gear needs at Headhunters with the best fly selection on the river. We have rods, reels, fly lines, logo wear, accessories and trinkets too. We built our shop around our fly bins and the fly fishing enthusiast!
See you this June in Craig. Any questions or for bookings call 406-235-3447
The Upper is still below the average flows but we are seeing more consistent fishing patterns. The Upper provides consistent action although there have been some windy days to contend with recently. The best fishing is in the slower water which is sometimes hard to find on the Upper Madison. The runoff from tributaries will begin soon as the warmer days progress. The stretch near Ennis will be most affected by the runoff due to several mountain tributaries. The further South you head, the river should stay clear on at least the East side.
The Month Ahead:
The Upper will begin clearing in a few weeks and the water closer to Ennis will also turn on. Often the week just before the salmon flies (and people) arrive is spectacular as the water is clearing and big trout are very opportunistic. Mid to Late June should be awesome on the Madison!
Long Term Fishing Forecast:
The Upper Madison is one of our favorite summer fisheries. The water is generally cold and consistent for killer summertime fishing. We are hoping to continue a late spring push in moisture to keep water levels up.
Ashley Lake- Excellent salmon, smaller size but lots of good numbers. Also nice cutt/bows trolling small rapala’s. Try shoreline 10-15’ for trout.
Bitterroot Lake- good salmon bites, south end of the lake. Try 50 to 60 feet of water jigging off the bottom. Try trolling plugs or flies for big rainbows off planer boards.
Dickey Lake- Still hot
action on salmon.
Lake Mary Ronan- excellent salmon bite. Try jigging pimples off the bottom 30 feet water near Camp Tuffit. Good perch also, try 20 feet of water southwest end with small Hali jigs and small Gitzits.
Beaver Lake- Good rainbows and salmon.
Loon Lake (Ferndale)- Nice rainbows trolling spoons or bait fishing.
Echo Lake- Nice smallmouth pulling up along shore for spawn.
Lower/Upper Stillwater- Good action on nice perch and some good pike.
–No new report–
- Flathead Lake – Lake Trout fishing has been getting good. Mostly trolling 80′-120′ of water. Flatfish, Brad’s Cut Plugs and Rapalas have all been good options.
- Flathead River – Flowing above 30,000 cubic ft as run off is hitting peak season, be careful of hazards.
- Echo Lake – Bass are on the move and good numbers and sizes are being reported. Try using more finesse tactics such drop shots and Ned rigs.
- Ashley Lake – Good numbers of Salmon being caught; jigging both Hali and Swedish Pimples.
- Bitterroot Lake – Good numbers of Salmon being caught. Both trolling and jigging, the occasional rainbow can be picked up as well.
- Lake Koocanusa – Lake is still low but the launch at Rexford has been cleaned out. Both bull trout and rainbows have been good, try using Flatfish, Frisky Jenny Flies or Apex lures.
- Middle Thompson Lake – A good lake for catching all sorts of species. Salmon, Pike, Bass and Perch all good options for getting the kids into some action.
This Montana fishing report is valid from May 31 until about June 10.
Lots of rain and snow in the past few days has led to sharp rises in all area flowing waters and hasn’t done the lakes many favors, either. Once things stabilize and warm up a bit, lots more options will become available. For right now, pretty much the only consistent flowing water options are the Firehole River in Yellowstone Park and the Lower Madison River from Ennis Dam to Cherry Creek. Even the Lower Mad is muddy below this stream for the moment, which makes full-day float trips tough. Large public reservoirs at low elevation are clear and fishable, but the shock of cold rain has likely put the fish off for a few days. Private lakes were turning on in a big way last week, but muddy access roads will make getting to them difficult this week.
Area private lakes are by far the best options when they’re accessible. Some Callibaetis and midge hatches are possible, but most lakes are still cold and fishing best with large leeches and peacock-bodied attractor nymphs.
The Lower Madison River has seen dam managers drastically increase flows (from 1200cfs to 2700cfs). In general this will help the fishing, pushing the trout into more obvious slow areas rather than subtle depressions and buckets at midriver. It will take a few days for things to stabilize, though. Once they do, look for caddis, BWO, Yellow Sally, and perhaps even PMD hatches or nymph with San Juan Worms, mayfly nymphs, and crayfish. Cherry Creek is puking filthy mud right now, which means half-day floats or hiking up into the Beartrap Canyon are better ideas than full-day floats. This may change by late week if the weather moderates.
Area low-elevation public reservoirs are now good bets provided the wind isn’t terrible. Look for fish cruising shallow and fish leeches and streamers. A boat with a trolling motor helps a lot. We’ll have one for next season (again)…
Yellowstone Park is now open for the fishing season, though there are few options due to recent weather. For now it’s the Firehole River, maybe the headwaters of the Madison, and a handful of small ponds. As the weather and streamflows moderate this week, look for the Gibbon River to join the party and for the ice to finish going off Yellowstone Lake, Cascade Lake, and Grebe Lake.
The Missouri River tailwaters are a long haul from Livingston (2.5hr to Hauser, 3hr to Holter), but are the closest clear, flowing water that isn’t as finicky as the Lower Madison. Expect intense crowds.
This Kootenai River Montana fishing report is being brought to you by Orvis Endorsed Linehan Outfitting. This report will be updated weekly to provide current conditions, weather, hatches, patterns, and flows to our local waters and across the state.
Flows from Libby Dam: 4000cfs
Water temperature at Libby Dam: 42 degrees
Hatches: midge, baetis
patterns: zebra midge, parachute Adams, parachute pmd, Rosenbauer’s olive rabbit foot emerger, purple haze, purple chubby, red chubby, olive sparkle dun,bh prince, soft SJ worm, bh pheasant tail, bh rubber legged stonefly, big streamers in white, pink and olive, circus peanut, black conehead buggers
It’s not quite spring up here in Kootenai River country but we have good news. Flows from Libby Dam have been reduced and will be stable at 4000cfs through the end of March for now. That means there’s some great early season fishing available right now.
Expect more clammy cloudy weather through the weekend and into next week. March continues to come in like a lion and we’ve yet to see the lamb. Rain and snow mix will dominate forecast. Fortunately daytime temps will ooch into the forties which is at least a small sign of spring around here.
At the moment the river is clear and in good shape. Don’t expect much in the way of dry fly fishing and insect activity until we get some substantially warmer daytime temperatures. The water is still cold but trout will start to feed a bit in the coming weeks.
This is always a good time of year for nymphing. With low flows you don’t need a heavy rig. You just need to get the flies down in softer runs and pools where trout are most likely to be holding this time of year. Don’t spend a ton of time fishing fast riffles.
Streamer fishing is also productive this time of year especially since bigger fish will be hungry after laying low for a couple months during the dead of winter. Keep in mind they will not necessarily want to move too fast or too far to get a meal. Get your streamers down and fish them slowly and erratically. Nothing like a wounded minnow to get a big rainbow interested in at least a sniff.
In Boston Red Sox news, it’s PLAY BALL! After several weeks of a lockout the players union owners have finally come to an agreement. Spring training will start immediately and while opening day was and remains delayed until April 7, the season will still be 162 games. For now the Sox have managed to keep essentially the same playoff roster they had last season. Infielders Dalbec, Arroyo, Bogaerts, and Devers are key players. In the outfield Jackie Bradley Jr. has returned to Boston and Kike Hernandez and Verdugo will anchor the deep green. Ace Chris Sale will hopefully be healthy and other starters from last year will hopefully pick up where they left off in October. Go Sox!!!
Give a call anytime if you need more Kootenai River details or information on any of our hunting or fishing adventures. And please check out our e-commerce site for all Linehan Outfitting branded swag and Orvis gear. https://linehan-outfitting.myshopify.com/
We look forward to hearing from you. 406-295-4872
Early spring and summer on the Yellowstone can be very productive. Currently the Yellowstone is running high and muddy with a hint of runoff. Nymphing something big like a Zirdle Bug, Pat’s Rubber Legs, or Woolly Bugger followed up by a worm or smaller euro-style nymph will be the most consistent rig this time of the year. Don’t be afraid of smaller flashy streamers such as the Kreelex Minnow or a Sparkle Minnow this time of year either. On warmer overcast days fish will be willing to move to a bigger streamer like a Bonds’ Dragons or a Sex Dungeon. Caddis and smaller Mayflies will most likely hatch on the warmer days, so keep your eyes peeled for rising fish in the slow water close to the bank.
Suggested Fly Patterns
Missing Link Caddis (14-18), Corn Fed Caddis (14-18), Peacock Caddis (14-16), Parawulf Dennis BWO (16-20), Thorax BWO (18-20), Parachute Adams (14-20), Purple Haze (16-20), Film Critic BWO (16-20), Smoke Jumper (16-20), Extended Body BWO (16-20), Griffith’s Gnat (16-20), UV Sparkle Midge (18-20), Chubby Chernobyl Olive/Royal/Purple (8-12)
Woolly Bugger (4-12), Articulated Goldie (6), Mini Dungeon, Complex Twist Bugger (2), Kreelex Minnow (4), Sparkle Minnow (4-8), Double Gonga, Urchin Bugger (4), El Sculpito (2), Sculpzilla (4-8), Sculpinator (4-6)
Pat’s Rubber Legs (6-12), Zirdle Bug (6-12), Woolly Bugger (4-12), Perdigon (14-18), Pheasant Tail (14-20), Jigster Baetis (14-18), Prince Nymph (10-18), BH Hare’s Ear (12-18), Sisslin’ Hot Spot Squirrel (14-16), Zebra Midge (16-22), San Juan Worm, Matt’s Shagadelic Mop, Hare’s Ear (14-18), Dirty Bird (12-16)
Rainbows are being picked up while using floating jigs and crawlers, various flies, Power Bait, or spoons near the Gates of the Mountains, Holter Lake Campground and Departure Point. Good numbers of rainbows are also being found between Split Rock and the Dam while pulling cowbells and spinner combos or various crankbaits. Walleye and perch continue to show up just inside the canyon near the Gates of the Mountains, near Cottonwood Creek, and around most of the public boat docks on the lower end of the reservoir while trolling bottom bouncers and crawler harnesses or pitching jigs tipped with crawlers. Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena
Grizzly Hackle scores Rock Creek fishing a 3/5
Rock Creek is big and dirty, but fishable. No Salmonflies just yet, but any day now we will start to see them. Salmonfly nymphs and San Juan worms are the key right now. Look for any place the water slows down and you’ll find fish. The wading is not great right now, just stick to walking the banks and be ready to move a lot to find slow water. If you’re floating be careful out there. The Creek is moving fast and if you don’t row often sit this one out.
Happy Friday, folks! It’s a beautiful day here in Livingston. The rain has abated for a time, and the sun is shining and it’s just an awesome day to be out and about. It’s going to be a nice weekend here with a lot going on. The Downtown Livingston Car Show is downtown tomorrow – be sure to stop in and swing through our shop if you’re out for that!
The Yellowstone River has come down quite a bit since its peak last week, but keep in mind that this wasn’t the peak for the entire runoff. We still have a lot more snow up in the high country, we just need some warmer weather to get it moving. This cooler and wetter spring has been really incredible, fingers crossed it keeps up!
Water clarity is notably better today, with our reliable reports saying up to 18” of visibility here in town. The river is definitely still off color, but it’s doing a whole lot better than last week. Big flies pushing lots of water could be productive – such as big streamers or dead drifted large nymphs. A big nymph followed by something like a worm pattern can be really good in this higher, heavier water.
There isn’t a lot going on for dry fly action around our area these days, but you might find some midges or a few scattered BWOs here and there on the tailwaters such as the Missouri and Madison. All the freestones in the area like the Yellowstone, Gallatin, and Boulder are right on the edge of fishable, and it’s going to be a day by day situation. We have heard the Henry’s Fork is fishing really well and that the salmonflies are out…
For us here in Livingston, the Yellowstone River is right on the edge. With some more rain and warmer temps, it could blow out again, or we could get a few days of fishable water. Get out and enjoy it while you can! You can either call the shop, stop in, or check the streamflow data for yourself to get a feel for it. Get real time data here: Yellowstone River Flows.
Runoff is a great time to fish the spring creeks, lakes, or even small water. It’s also a great chance to get out on the mountain bike (on gravel since most of our local trails are pretty wet), go hiking, or even just go enjoy a cold Dan Bailey’s Wall of Fame Red Ale next door at the Murray Bar.
We’ve got everything you need from rods, reels, lines, leaders, apparel, waders and much, much more. Our store is full at the moment, and it’s a great time to shop! Give us a call if you’re thinking about fishing Montana this summer, it should be a good one!
The park is open! Although many of the rivers are very muddy there is still fish to be found. Salmon flys on the firehole are possible as the warm water temps from the spings can cuase very early hatches. Make sure to know ur regulations in the park as many of the rivers such as the yellowstone are still closed in the park. For nymphing a rubberlegs always seems to do the trick aswell as small BWO or Caddis nymphs.
Spring Creeks score a 4/5
The Bighorn is on the rise but still fishing pretty well. Nymphing has been the most productive method by far. BWO’s have been hatching daily but the higher water has kept fish form rising a bit. The hatch and amount of rising fish has been best in the afternoon to evening. Nymphing has been hot with orange sowbugs with a firebead, scuds, Baetis, Zebra Midges, and San Juan worms. Streamer fishing has been good with Sparkle Minnows on bright days and Peanut Envys in Olive or Black on low light days.
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