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.
Had a blast out fishing whitefish with Jim, Stacey and Mr Max today. We caught whitefish, lakers, Sqaw fish( norther pike Minnow) and peamouth chubs. Filled the cooler. Stacey had a just under 6 lb whitefish and my little buddy Max jigged up a nice 25 inch laker on his own what an achievement for a 7 year old. I have openings, call Rebecca at 406-250-6246 to book a whitefish trip or go to flatheadlakefishing.co
m and book your trip. Outfitter #26230 ps pic of Max’s lake will posted in comments later.
T. Hawkins: Red and gold mepps always did me good when I threw spinners. You’ll have to clean it off a bunch the mo is pretty gnarly with weeds. I tend to branch off to other places during this time
C. Allison: might get lucky bouncing leaches at dam for walleyes spinners and flies for trout
J. Manning: fish the river with big brass spoons, or Jake’s
Hell Creek Recreation Information (August 3, 2022)
Some nice rainbows continue to be picked up below Canyon Ferry Dam while using spinners, spoons, Rapalas, or crawlers from shore or by boat. Trolling cowbells between Black Sandy and York Bridge during the early morning hours is producing a few rainbows as well. A few Walleyes are being caught in 15-30 feet of water around York Bridge and the Causeway Arm while using various jigs and crawlers, slip bobber setups with leeches, or trolling bottom bouncers with white, orange, or green spinner blades and crawler harnesses. Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena
Yup, busy here on the MO
The quiet season on the Mighty Mo is August. Many of the freestones are fishing well during the late July and August period. The Mo is too, just not at it’s peak.
Check out the FWP River Closure List here.
June and July are the peak busy fishing months followed by September, May, October, April, and finally March. In that order.
June and July have always been busy. Yes, since the beginning of time. I qualify the beginning of the on the Mo in the early 1990’s. At that time the Missouri River was peaking June 15th through September 15th. Or September 1st. And some would qualify the peak as second week in June through the 3rd week of July.
Still true today. That is the peak of the peak. June and July.
August is pretty quiet. The anglers are certainly outnumber this month but eh non-angling sect.
Just like booking a dinner reservation at 7pm at your favorite restaurant expecting the joint to be empty on a Friday nite. You can book your table at 530, or 8pm. They will have room for you.
August is just like that. A bit weedy, damn hot, and pretty quiet.
The fishing? It is as good as you are.
Yep. If you like techy and somewhat difficult Trico fishing. You got it now. You like very good hopper fishing? Now is your time. Uncommon for the Mo to be this consistent with a hopper. Not always a great big Fly River. But it is this year.
If you can reach mend or cast, pop the weeds from your line with ease, and like fish that are totally catchable, if you do not share with them you are in the neighborhood, before the hook-up…you dig August.
You like wading around and stalking a single or a couple trout feeding on dead insects.
You enjoy prospecting a nice riffle with a downwind caddis? August.
You like rowing around in back and forth at the dam and nymphing ’em up? Now is a good time. Fewer weeds up there.
August historically has a bundle of weeds that frequent the water column, below the surface. And you nymphs can collect a few of them if you mend, and fish, and seek the depths, below the surface.
The weeds like the surface too. If you don’t like the weed, come in October, or later. Or in June and July.
But, if you like some solace from the crowds, come in August. Guests pick up in September when the freestones in this state see their fishing season coming to a close. And the Mo fishes into the Swing Season and beyond.
Hoot owl restrictions in Effect on the Gallatin from Cameron Bridge to the mouth. Check out other closures and restrictions here.
The Gallatin is fishing very well at the moment. The water is running cold and higher than average for the time of year. Head up the canyon for the best conditions as the water tends to heat up quickly in the valley. Hoppers can do the trick above Big Sky and throughout the upstream portion of the valley. Otherwise, a chubby or stonefly imitation will work as a great attractor pattern on the surface. Drop a perdigon for subsurface action. Yellow and green are good colors to start with but purple always seems to do well. Spruce moths are being spotted on the conifer lined banks of the river so be sure to have a few those for the remainder of the summer. Spruce moths can make a great searching pattern for opportunistic fish.
Gallatin River Webcam – Located at Karst, which is about 1/2 way between Bozeman and Big Sky on HWY 191.
The Upper has been fishing excellent. Hopper dropper season is in full swing right now. Big fish are being caught all over the river currently. Streamer fishing has been better downstream of lyons bridge and double dry fishing has been better above lyons near 3$ and reynolds bridge. Lots of caddis out and a few spruce moths up high.
***THERE IS A CURRENT HOOT OWL FISHING RESTRICTION FROM EIGHT MILE FORD TO ENNIS LAKE, WHICH MEANS FISHING IS NOT ALLOWED DURING THE HOURS OF 2PM-12AM EVERYDAY IN THIS SECTION***
Flathead Lake- Woods Bay point doing well on white fish and lake trout. Try 40’ to 50’ of water with Zimmer Rattle d Zastor or KB Slayee. South end of Lake near Wildhorse Island, Rollins and Big Arm good perch and white fish fishing.￼ for lake trout try trolling flashers and flies near mid lake bar 120’ or Yellow bay 200’ of water.￼
Lower/Upper Stillwater- Good perch and Pike action 12’ to 20’ water￼.
Bitterroot Lake- early morning bite on salmon. Try 50 feet water trolling small dodger and wedding ring or jig Hali’s and maggots. Also look for small mouth near points and island.
Loon Lake- Good small and large mouth . Tr￼y small tube jugs or yum craws. Also try mid lake for rainbows. Few pike and crappie also.
Halfmoon Slough- good Pike action early morning with jerk baits.
Lake Mary Ronan- Closed
Flathead River and Forks- Good Cutts with panther maryins or little cleo’s. Try flies- purple haze or orange stimulators￼.
Hungry Horse Resevoir- Nice cutts near creek mouth, try salmon eggs, also troll Thomas spoons or Flicker Shads.
- Flathead Lake – Trolling FLC spinners has been producing good fish around the delta, along with jigging white tubes on the edges. Small resident populations of whitefish pods have been found. Get an early stock of Zimmer RattledZastors and KB jigs.
- Flathead River – River has been fishing well. For flies try Purple Haze and Hoppers. Rooster tail spinners have been a solid choice as well. Single Hook regulations are in effect north of Tea Kettle launch including North, Middle and South fork branches of the river.
- Echo Lake – Bass fishing is still consistent. Look for deeper structure around 15′. Using drop shots and Ned rigs has produced a good bite.
- Ashley Lake – Salmon fishing is still consistent. Best options have been Hali’s and Swedish Pimples paired with maggots or shoe peg corn.
- Thompson Chain – Pike fishing has been good, using smelt under a pike rig or throwing spinner baits along the shore. Salmon trolling with Hoochie rigs and sling blades around 40′ using Pautzke fire corn has been decent also.
- Lake Mary Ronan – State park launch is currently closed. No access to public boat launches.
- Hungry Horse Reservoir – West side road expected to remain closed from 29 mile marker to 37 mile marker for another couple of weeks. East side road has construction activities Monday – Thursday from 7am-6pm, expect delays of up to an hour.
This Montana fishing report is valid from August 8 through about August 20. Hey fly shop chain based in Billings: don’t copy our fishing reports word-for-word again. You’re violating our copyright. Fun fact: we used to send clients to you when they stayed in Red Lodge or Columbus/Absarokee. Not anymore!
The Yellowstone River is fishing well top to bottom in the mornings, and upstream from Livingston until about 2:30PM on bright, sunny days and more like 4:00 if it’s cloudy. High water temperatures are a problem in late afternoon east of Livingston. Temps are hitting 71-73 degrees many afternoons, so take out early if you float east of Livingston. No hoot-owl closures are present and the Yellowstone will PROBABLY escape them this year. If hoot-owls are instituted, it will be within the next few days and almost certainly only east of Livingston. Hopper/dropper rigs and sculpins or other baitfish with attractor-style mayfly nymph droppers (Lightning Bugs, etc.) are working top to bottom, with the surface bite best on cloudy days. In general, the Yellowstone is fishing very good right now, though crowds have been high in Paradise Valley.
The Stillwater River is fishing well on hopper-dropper combos. Big Chubby Chernobyls with Yellow Sally nymph droppers are good bets here just about anytime, but Bob Hoppers and other “dedicated” hopper patterns are now working too. The lower river downstream of the Rosebud is now a much better float option. Unless you have an ultralight raft, it’s really too small upstream from the Rosebud. When floating down low, be aware of LOTS of new obstructions in the river. Late afternoon, the Stillwater is touching 70 degrees, so on hot days it’s best to take out around 2:00.
Montana Small Streams are now near their peak fishing of the year, so long as you’re in the shady valleys above irrigation diversions. Small streams out in prairie country are now all too low and warm, even if you have private access to get on them. Fish dry-dropper combos. Small hoppers and mayfly-type attractor nymphs will work best on heavily-pressured streams, but all you need if you burn some boot leather are big Trudes or Chubby Chernobyls with something like a BH Prince underneath.
Other Montana Waters that are fishing well include the Gallatin River and high mountain lakes, such as those on the Beartooth. Note that the lower Gallatin has hoot owl closures. Upstream from Four Corners, no problem.
Yellowstone Park fishing is limited from our operations area this year due to historic flooding. Walk-in travel is allowed into the northern part of the park via Gardiner. The only real option if you do this is the Yellowstone upstream from the Gardner River confluence, since accessible portions of the lower Gardner are too warm to fish ethically (hot spring influence plus hot weather equals a river that’s too warm for trout health). Limited guided fishing is also possible via the north gate. The Yellowstone in its canyons, small chunks of the Lamar River downstream from Slough Creek, and Slough Creek are good bets via the north entrance. The brook trout creeks and several small streams in the middle of the park are also good bets.
–No New Report–
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
The Yellowstone is starting to shape up after the recent flooding, it is still running a little high and dirty so do be cautious. If you plan to fish the Yellowstone, be sure to check FWP’s Restrictions and Closures page for up-to-date information regarding closures.
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)
Walleye and perch fishing has been good in 10 to 20 feet of water during the morning or late evening hours around weed beds and points throughout the reservoir while using various jigs and crawlers, slip bobber setups with leeches, or trolling bottom bouncers with white, chartreuse, or orange spinner blades. Some kokanee salmon are being picked up on the lower end of the reservoir while trolling Dodgers or flashers tipped with a spinner and shoepeg corn in deep water during the early morning hours. A few rainbows continue to be caught on the lower end of the reservoir during the early morning hours while trolling cowbells with a spinner combination and a crawler around 25 feet down in the water column. Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena
Grizzly Hackle scores Rock Creek fishing a 4/5
The Blackfoot is fishing well in the mornings and early afternoons. Get out there early to beat the heat and the tubers. We are finally seeing Spruce Moth’s consistently in a lot of places on the Blackfoot. This is an amazing hatch and the fish go all out for them. Miller’s Moth, Parachute Spruce Moth, Andy’s Moth and Swisher’s PMX. Terrestrials like small hoppers, ants and beetles, along with attractor dry flies like Royal Wulff’s, P-Haze, Adams and Grumpy Frumpy’s are good flies to have if you aren’t seeing Spruce Moth’s. Drop a sz 14-16 Jig Prince, Jig PT or Perdigon off the back of a hopper if they aren’t coming up for the dry.
While we are in the dog days of summer, we got our first tease of changing seasons yesterday. It felt like October in August! The much needed reprieve from the heat and dry was a great breath of fresh air and a good reminder of how soon it will be fall. Late summer always flies by, so make the most of it!
Yesterday’s cool weather pushed water temps down to the low 60s which is a great break from the higher trend we had been seeing Please note that Mayor’s Landing to Sheep Mountain remains closed to all recreation until further notice – we don’t expect this to reopen anytime soon. The reason being the danger posed by the Highway 89 rail bridge. We’ll keep you posted on when it opens back up.
The Hopper bite has been the big news on the Yellowstone recently. While it has been hit or miss when it’s on, it’s on. Bring a variety of sizes, profiles, and colors. Tan and pink have been working best, but yellow, orange, brown, and even blue are worth trying it. Keep shifting colors, sizes, and patterns until you find one that works. Word on the street is that a downstream mend to get your fly pointed downstream can make all the difference. Try it for yourself.
Quick note on fishing hoppers – don’t worry so much about drag. This isn’t a precision cast to a selective trout with a size 18 dry fly during a mayfly hatch. You aren’t feeding them dainty morsels, you’re throwing out a greasy dive bar burger. Let it splat down. Move it a bit. Let it drag some in the current. If you can, toss a couple hoppers from the bank into the river and watch how they move.
Other stuff such as ants and beetles, general attractors and dries and such are a good option. On the really bright and hot days, dries aren’t working too well when the sun is high. The dry fly bites shuts down around 10am and resumes later in the evening when the sun is much lower. During mid day you can still fish dries but hang a nymph below it. A double nymph rig or a dead drifted streamer can be a great choice.
The Lower Madison remains on Hoot Owl and continues to be overrun with the tuber hatch. Our advice? Steer clear.
The Upper Madison continues to fish well, but be aware of the Hoot Owl Restriction from 8 Mile Fishing Access to Ennis Lake. No fishing from 2pm to midnight. Even if you are fishing earlier in the day play the fish quickly, keep them in the water and release them as quickly as you possibly can. Minimizing stress minimizes mortality.
The Madison River is still quite busy, but if you fish early or late you’ll beat most of the crowds. Terrestrials, a few caddis, and hoppers. By this point in the year those trout have seen damn near every pattern every shop sells so think outside the box. Float where and when people aren’t, and try to walk a bit further than everyone else.
Not much has changed on the Gallatin River since our last report. Stay in the canyon, less traffic above Big Sky, expect recreational traffic on the tight canyon stretches. Fish something flashy and buggy as a dry fly and you’ll probably find a few fish. Go early to beat the heat, or stay late to beat the crowds. Rinse and repeat.
High Summer on the Gallatin is a pretty good time, if you go into it expecting to see other people and are realistic about the weather.
Montana this time of year has a host of opportunities. We’ve heard the Missouri River has been phenomenal with hoppers down low and tricos up high. The Boulder River has been fishing well, especially the higher up you go. The Big Hole, Bighorn, Stillwater, and more are all doing alright. If you’re exploring a but just remember some basic principles.
First, fish early or fish late. Beat the crowds and the peak of the day. The fish will be most active when water temps are a bit lower. Second, check the regs for closure and Hoot Owl Restrictions. You can find that here. Third, there isn’t a lot hatching in mid to late August on most waters. Terrestrials and attractors are a solid bet for dry flies almost anywhere in the state. Have a big box to keep trying stuff until you find what they need.
THE HIGH COUNTRY
As we’ve been talking about for weeks now – the high country beckons. Take the best of several worlds – fishing, hiking/biking, and camping – and roll it all into one. Bam, that’s high country fishing in August in Montana. Go exploring, go catch some small trout in breathtaking places. Load up the pack, lace up the boots, and hit the trail. The mountains are full of place that are worth going to, Pine Creek Lake has been fishing well we’ve heard.
You’ll never regret it. As long as you pack the bug spray, that is.
THE SHOP AND LIVINGSTON
Our shop remains your hub for all things fishing, hiking and biking here in Livingston and our surrounding area. Our great staff is here to answer any and all questions and set you up for success during your time outside. From the right flies to the best fly rods and the clothing to keep you cool (or warm on days like yesterday!) and safe from the sun, we’ve got what you need!
Call us or stop if you need anything. Thanks for reading, we appreciate it.
See you on the water this week!
C. Woods: yesterday was a little slow, and definitely earlier the better. I don’t seem to catch much of anything after 12 if it’s warm and sunny out
Because flow out of Grassy Lake Reservoir has ended, a natural flow results throughout Fall River in the Park. This condition allows for more consistent dry fly fishing for trout.
Beula Lake is still offering some of the best still water fishing in the park with speckled dun, damselfly and now cinnamon caddis activities of interest to trout. Small leech patterns in black, olive, and purple also bring interest from trout.
The general tailwater fare of scuds, sowbugs, and aquatic worms are doing well on the Bighorn. But more importantly, fish are starting to move up into shallower water and feeding on the surface. Caddis and PMDs are starting to appear and some fish are being taken off the top. Nymphing will be the most productive but keep an eye out for heads in the riffles. Terrestrial action is inconsistent but the reward can be good as large fish are taking hoppers.
Walleye fishing is good around Duck Creek and Ponds 3 and 4 while using bottom bouncers with white, pink or green blades and worms. Walleye, perch and rainbows are all being caught between White Earth and Hole in the Wall while using bottom bouncers with pink, red or chartreuse blades and worms or red crankbaits. Fishing was a bit slow on the north end over the weekend. Shore fishing has been slow for all species. Troy Humphrey, FWP, Helena
We are now hiring for the restaurant. If you would like to join a fun fast paced work environment with flexible hours the Fort Peck Marina might be a good fit for you. Pay will depend on experience but we are willing to train the right individuals. If you are interested please contact us at 406-526-3442 or stop by and fill out a job application.
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