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.
Book your trip now before the Whitefish run ends to get on some great jigging action. Book with Rebecca at 406-250-6246 or www.flatheadlakefishing.com
Weve had some great guests on the boat this week. We are in full Whitefish mode but pulling in some nice Lake Trout also on our trips. Been fishing from painted rocks to the north end with some great success.
Hell Creek Recreation Information (August 3, 2022)
Rainbows continue to be picked up while trolling cowbells with lead core line between Black Sandy and Devil’s Elbow during the early morning hours. A few rainbows are also being caught from shore below Canyon Ferry Dam and at Black Sandy while using spinners, spoons, Rapalas, or crawlers and a marshmallow. A few Walleyes are being caught in 15-30 feet of water in the Causeway Arm while using various jigs and crawlers, slip bobber setups with leeches, or trolling bottom bouncers with green, orange, or white spinner blades and crawler harnesses. Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena
A decent August as we mark the half way point of the soft summer month. Dog days? Yeah.
Been real freaking hot with daytime temps int he mid 90’s for the entire month. The next ten days forecast for the same. Last night the lows dipped into the 50’s. The next spell we tickle the lower 60’s but not anything cooler tan that. Not much river cooling as the air temps will not allow it.
But we are OK for the time being in regards to the Hoot-Owl situations around the state. No Closures here on Montana’s Missouri River. NO HOOT-OWL.
But, we are truly practicing Hoot-Owl style here on the Mighty Mo. Most are starting quite early, certainly our guides, and finishing early. It is damn hot out there and the humans don’t really like it all that much either. The for an air-conditioned nap after the fishing session. Or a dip in the river is cool too. A long dip.
Hoppers are good. Kinda any terrestrial you like. Cicada. Ant. Hopper. Beetle. Stop in and ask what the hottest latest bug is.
Trico hatches are localized. Can be real good in some locations and not so good in others. Fished yesterday in the canyon reach and saw several localized pods. Were they easy to catch? Nope. Quite aware of anglers and pressure. While not much pressure in the lower reaches as the heat wave continues the fish are pretty keen to outside presence. A factor when you approach as well. Cannot get too close to those fish rising. Add 20′-25′ to your normal distance and you should get a few casts off before the fish get wise. And, they do not bounce back quickly, or at all.
So keep that in mind when you are fishing to the upper river rising trout. They are aware of predatory behaviors around and near them.
Negative reinforcement is the strongest educator in nature.
Clusters will still work if you approach like a pro. But it is the time where you need to empty a few of the smaller and tech Trico dry flies. We have a full selection of the Headhunting type small flies. Headhunters is our name, Headhunting is our game. Yup.
The nymphers are still on the Zirdle Bug, or the larger mayfly lead with a smaller mayfly bottom or midge type fly. Many are up at the dam rowing around. Normal for the period. Normal for the next 6 weeks. Fewer weeds, lots of fish, a consistent population of large rainbows.
Weeds are in the water column. How many? Depends on the day. If the flows have been jacked around a bit they will be worse. On the surface too in soft regions of the river.
Swing Season coming up soon. Plan your fall or late fall trip today. October and November will be here soon along with cooler temperatures.
Come see us if you are in the neighborhood this August. Guides, lodging, and fun here in Craig Montana. 406-235-3447
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. Nocturnal stonefly such as a Pteranarcys chubby or a Royal Water Walker in the morning has been great. Then as the day heats up switching to a small pink hopper with a black/red bodied ant or a purple bodied beetle has been fairly productive. Midday, dropping off a small and flashy nymph such as a nymphicator or a rainbow warrior has been the ticket. Streamer fishing has been better downstream of lyons bridge. Lots of caddis, Sulphers and a few spruce moths out 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- Good reports of white fish- try Delta, Woods Bay Point, Hatchery Bay. South end try Rollins, Elmo, Big Arm. Also, good perch action try Elmo, Wildhorse Island area. Try KB green jig in 1/2-3/4 ounce. Also, Trick Tackle and Zimmer Rattle-d-Zastors working well. Try 35-50’ of water in most areas. Lake trout will be mixed in, try larger jig with cut bait or troll silver flasher with Brad fire tiger cut plug.
Ashley Lake- Good salmon action North end jigging and trolling 50-60’ water.
Forks of Flathead River- Excellent trout, try small gold spoons or spinners, dry fly on Hoppers Stimulators and purple haze also good. Be sure and check regulations.
Swan River (below Swan Lake)- Goid pike action with spinner baits/spoons.
Smith Lake- Lots of small pike early morning/late evenings. Try top water frog and spinner baits.
McGregor Lake- Nice rainbows early morning trolling small Rapala’s or Flickershads.
Middle Thompson- Lots of smaller pike, few big salmon trolling deep 60-80’ with small dodger/spoon
Hungry Horse- Good Action on cutthroat near creek mouths. Try little Cleo’s and Thomas Cyclones in gold or gold red.
Here is our tentative dates for up coming Perch Assault events this winter!!
Dec 17th Smith Lake
January 21st Smith Lake( back up date)
February 4th Upper Thompson
March 1th, 12th Lake Mary Ronan
We also have Perch Assaults rods back in stock this year with a new 32″ with built in hook set loop for Jaw Jackers and Hook Setters.
Also 42″ 38″ and standard 32″ rods.
We will start taking sign ups beginning October for events. Remember we limit each event to 50 teams so sign up sooner the better if you want your spot.
We have Perch Assault rods at the Fish Camp if your wanting to get new rod..
- 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.
(Aside for a business note…) Reminder to a certain fly shop chain: this fishing report is copyrighted and may not be used for commercial purposes and may not be used without express written permission. Don’t copy it word for word.
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.
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: 12,000 cfs
In-Flow To Lake Koocanusa: 7000 cfs
Water temperature at Libby Dam: 57 degrees
Hatches: midge, pmds, caddis, green drakes
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, hoppers, ants, elk hair caddis, Bloom’s caddis, perdigons, Uke’s Pressure Drop
The Kootenai River is in excellent shape and fishing well. Linehan Outfitting guests are bending rods and smiling and we could not be happier with the water conditions so far this season.
Water temps are now high 50’s and in that perfect zone. It’s all about dry fly fishing now, folks. And that’s what we love most. Pmds and caddis, and a few greed drakes are hatching daily and on some stretches and depending on time of day fish are responding, looking up, and providing many targets. Fish are now also responding to big bugs like hoppers and other terrestrials like beetles and increasingly ants.
All sections of the Kootenai River are fishing well.
Nymphing is still super solid if you really want to put up some numbers and go that route. Since fish are now actively feeding most of the day short leashing is best bet. Two tungsten perdigons three to four feet from a baby bobber and you’ll be good in the fast water all day. And make sure one of the bugs is a caddis of some sort especially riffles.
fStreamer fishing is also productive this time of year. 95 degrees and sunny is not necessarily associated with good streamer conditions but lately the streamer action has been pretty darn good. It’s certainly day to day but earlier this week I had an all time great day fishing streamers. It sure surprised me and it sure was fun.
In Boston Red Sox news the bum need to start stepping things up. Like, really stepping things up. We’ve been plagued by injuries. Starting pitching staff is almost non existent at this point although Pivetta has been holding his own throughout the season. Bats have been inconsistent but JD Martinez has been anchoring the bats as well as Devers adn Boegarts. There’s a lot of baseball left and we never give up! Wild Card opportunity still in play. 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
The Yellowstone is running low and clear right now and it appears to be recovering well from the spring flooding. Terrestrials and droppers should get the job done right now, so bust out the foam and beaded nymphs. If you like Whitefish a bright shiny nymph should make you happy. Streamers on the lower stretches of the river way can be fun on the right day. 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 great while using white or perch colored jigs and crawlers in 10 to 25 feet of water around weed beds and docks on the lower end of the reservoir and in the small bays inside the canyon. An occasion kokanee is 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 while trolling cowbells with lead core line. Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena
Grizzly Hackle scores Rock Creek fishing a 4/5
The Blackfoot has been the most consistent river around. It’s getting hard to find a big one, but they’re still out there. Changed techniques and look for water that isn’t getting fished as much. The big ones no where to hide this time of year. Spruce Moth’s are still around in spots. Miller’s Moth, Andy’s Moth, Cream Elk Hair Caddis and Yellow PMX’s. Terrestrials and attractor dry flies if you’re not see Spruce Moth’s. Drop a San Juan, Perdigon, Jig Prince or Rubberlegs off the back. Fishing early mornings to just after lunch is making a big difference.
Happy Monday, everyone. Hope you all had a great weekend. We’re kicking this new week off with a fishing report to help you get through the work week and back on the river. Late summer fishing is still happening, and as August creeps along we’re already looking ahead to fall conditions – which could be here in the next 4-6 weeks or so!
We’ve had some storms in the area off and on over the past week, and one of those bigger storms pushed some mud from higher up in Yellowstone National Park in the river. The mud was working its way downstream through Paradise Valley yesterday, which meant some people were able to get out ahead of it. We aren’t sure how long the mud will last, but a good gauge is the Montana Whitewater Gardiner webcam.
Keep in mind that the water takes a good long while to make its way from Gardiner to Livingston and beyond, so once we get clear water up high it will still take a minute to reach the valley and below town.
Other than the mud, not a whole lot has changed on the river from our last report. Hoppers and other terrestrials are what’s working on top, with nocturnal stones early and you might find some caddis around later in the day. Those throwing streamers are finding some success early in the day and when it’s cloudy.
Generally, the earlier you can get out the better. Fishing from dawn to 10:30-11am has been best, or later in the evening when the blasting sun is at least at its afternoon angle. Water temps have been flirting with or going over 70 for the past week, and without a break in the heat we can expect them to stay warm. Hoppers are going to be best in the afternoons.
Remember, the Yellowstone River from Mayor’s Landing to Sheep Mountain remains closed to all recreational use. Mallard’s Rest is also closed, which means a lot of the old standby floats from years past are getting switched up. Keep an eye on our social media for any new updates on the Yellowstone between fishing reports. Or call, stop in, email… We’re around!
Oh, one last note – we’ve had some people coming in recently asking about the Shields. That poor river has had a hell of a couple years and this is no exception. Leave it alone. Please. There are so many other options in the area there is just no reason to be on the Shields at all right now.
Repeating what we said about the Yellowstone, not a lot has changed on the Madison over the past week. The Lower Madison is still overrun with tubers, floaters and party barges. Combine that with the fact that there’s a Hoot Owl Restriction from Ennis Lake to the confluence and you’re better off going somewhere else.
The Upper Madison has a Hoot Owl Restriction from 8 Mile boat ramp to the lake, no fishing from 2pm to midnight. Going up river will get you into some good fishing! Terrestrials, dead drifted streamers, attractors and attractor nymphs… Fish the good water well and you’ll find fish. If you want to beat the crowds, go early or go later. Launching a boat around noon and floating til evening can provide some solitude.
The Madison is a great late summer fishery, but it’s an even better fall fishery. Not too much longer now…
Broken record here, but our fishing advice from last week’s report still rings true on the Gallatin River. Stay in the canyon or higher, less people above Big Sky, fishing the Park way up high can be really fun this time of year. Expect to share the river with other recreationalists. If you want to just fish attractors and terrestrials all day, you can definitely get away with it here.
Fish early to beat the crowds and enjoy the coolest water temps.
BOULDER RIVER AND EASTWARD
The Boulder River has been fishing pretty well this past week, and it gets better and better the higher up you go. Drive further and walk a bit longer than everyone else and you can have lots of water to yourself. Terrestrials and attractors – name of the game across the state this time of year.
There is a lot of water in this state east of Livingston. If you feel up to exploring, be sure to check FWP’s Restrictions and Closures page for any updates on your target body of water. Bring a thermometer if you can, or use your best judgment for water temps. Fish early to beat the heat, and when the water gets too warm call it a day. The trout will thank you.
Beat the heat, breathe the (reasonably) smoke-free air, and explore this wondrous place we call home by fishing the small water. Find a map, trace a blue line, plan a route and have at it. A light rod and a puck of dry flies is all you need. The fish aren’t big, but it’s some of the most enjoyable fishing you’ll have all season. Trust us.
LIVINGSTON AND THE STORE
Mid-August is the dog days of summer for sure. We’re seeing a slight reduction in overall tourist traffic and this is the time of year when we see less families and kids as school starts across the country. We’re beginning to look toward fall, and it’s pretty wild that September is just a couple weeks away. We should be getting some fall apparel and gear in here soon, stay tuned for that!
We’re still running guide trips and some of the best fishing of the entire year is still ahead. Fall fishing on the Yellowstone River and the Livingston area is pretty incredible. Plan ahead and book your days early if you’re thinking about it.
As always, our friendly and knowledgeable staff is here to help with any question and get you set up with the gear, flies, and info you need to succeed during your time in Montana. Stop by the shop at 209 W Park St, or give us a call at 406.222.1673.
See you on the river this week!
AM tricos are beginning to appear on Fall River Basin streams. So a good strategy is to break out those size 18-22 emerger patterns for use until late morning. At that time trico activity winds down rather quickly, so switch to presenting terrestrial insect patterns of choice. Include traditional humpies in these; they make excellent horse fly and deer fly imitations.
Berry season remains in Fall River Basin forested areas, and the scent of huckleberries and low bush blue berries is in many locations. It is a strong signal to be “bear aware!”
Dry fly fishing on the Bighorn is getting better and better every day. Fish are mostly in the shallower riffles and feeding on PMDs, caddis, and terrestrials. Hoppers can be productive but are not exactly a numbers game. Put enough casts out there and you may be rewarded with a nice fish. Nymphing is good with the usual tailwater suspects like scuds, aquatic worms, and sowbugs. PMD and caddis pupa get the job done too.
Walleye fishing is really good along the west shore from White Earth to the Silos and around the Ponds while using bottom bouncers with blue, red or chartreuse blades and worms or jigs with a worm. Rainbows are being caught around White Earth and along the east shore between Goose Bay and Cemetery Island while using the same jig or bottom bouncer combos that are catching walleye. An occasional perch is being picked up by walleye and rainbow anglers. Shore fishing has been slow for all species. Troy Humphrey, FWP, Helena
Our new hours starting Monday 8/15.
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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