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.
We have had an incredible month of fishing! Great clients, gorgeous weather! These guys slayed it! Last minute openings!
August 23rd-31st! Mention this post and receive 10% off your booking!
Hell Creek Recreation Information (August 25, 2022)
Rainbows continue to be picked up while trolling cowbells with lead core line between York Bridge and Hauser Dam, while out jigging for walleye, and from shore at the Causeway Bridge while using crawlers and floating jigs or marshmallows. Good numbers of perch recently and A few walleye are being caught in the Causeway arm while jigging or slip bobber fishing in 10-25 feet of water. Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena
Mike S.: Extremely low. Probably 15 foot of mud between bottom of ramp and water
Missouri River September Fishing Forecast is rosy. The first month of fall, or Autumn, here on the Missouri is one of our customer favorites.
Not only our customer favorites but one of our personal favorites too. The fish get hungry as they begin bulking up for the winter months ahead. They eat in October too for your folks considering a later fall trip. November, December…
Missouri River September Fishing Forecast
A great Nymphing month.
The fall caddis is around for those of you who did not get enough of it in the summer months. Scumliner believes that is why they get rolling subsurface too. I gotta agree. The subsurface bite is one of the best of the year. While April, May, and June are spectacular nymphing months, September is one of the top.
Small and techy subsurface nymphs like the Little Green Machine, the Red Headed Step Child, Hogans Military May, Indigo Child, Rainbow Warriors, Mason’s Peep Show, small narrow bodied Pheasant Tails, Zebra’s, and firebeads return as well. Sows galore are on many minds too. The fish minds…
Psuedocloens are present too. The small PT derivations get the job done. With the small fly many are on the caddis pupa. Whether it be Bloom’s Weight FLies, Tungsten Tan Czechs, Tung Darts, and October Caddis Pupa or one of your favorites, the lead flies of choice are the caddis. Get ’em going man.
One of our better nymphing months. The weeds are clearing out as the cold nights and shorter days arrive. See why it is one of more popular months here on Montana’s Missouri River.
What are the hatches like?
October Caddis begin their journey towards the surface too. We know they are called the October, October Caddis. But, they are present in a big way in the watery dungeons of the Missouri River. Try one on for size in September. You may be rewarded. Not a bad idea to toss the dry either. Fun stuff can happen when blind fishing a big orange dry fly. Dry dropper rigs? Hmmm.
Random hatches of both caddis and anomaly mayflies occur as well during the magical month of September. Be there, and be prepared. An Adams in many sizes can work along with a nice selection of light tan or ginger caddis flies.
Trico’s can be a player as well. Several giant hatches an surprise you in the Missouri River month of September. Do not put away the summer boxes yet. Fall is a nice time to be on the Missouri and September is nice.
Is it our best dry fly month? No, not at all. Is it a good time to find a few sippers here and there? Oh yeah. Have that dry rod rigged & ready. Blind dry fly fishing can produce. Hopper are still in the mix and fishing the center of the river over skinny flats can produce. The fish will lay up on said flats looking for an opportunity. Low angle of sun, more overcast days…mean big browns.
BWO’s can make an appearance at the end of the month on the lower river. If we get into the 50’s, water temps, we will see them. ANd the fish will eat them. And, we will be overjoyed. In the drought years of the mid 2000’s we saw this hatch, the baetis, early in the cycle meaning late September. Keep it tuned in here for your up to the minute hatch information.
How about Streamer fishing?
Yes, many come for the streamer fishing. The weeds are moving downstream and the water levels are low. Fishing the thinner water regions with a dry line and a weighted, or unweighted bugger can keep you entertained all day long. Does it always work? No. But those who are familiar with the streamer love, and total disregard for any other style, will find Septemebr a fine month for the chucking of lead.
Montana September Weather
Really nice. Daytime highs in the 70’s and occasional lower 80’s with cooler nights in the high 4o’s. Some overcast days in the 60’s is what you may look for.
But, all in all September is a nice month for angling. The splash and giggle drifters from the big cities around us are gone and we enjoy the solace of anglers quietly roaming the banks and center river trout lies.
September Water Flows & Temps
Low and slow. The good news about lower water is the ability to cool faster. It can warm faster int he summer months and we conversly get the better end of the deal as Spetemebr and October roll in. August cooler month than July, so we are well on our way.
September Lodging & Guide Trips
Good availability for both as we are still a few weeks out. It does fill, the guides and lodging, as we approach the peak of September. Just drop Julie, Sara, or Ninch a line @ 406/235-3447 to secure your fall trip. Check out the lodging page here www.Craiglodging.com October is booking too as it is one of everybody’s favorite.If you like to hunt, tie it in with a shooting trip. If you don’t, then fishing it is!
Hoot owl restrictions in Effect on the Gallatin from Cameron Bridge to the mouth. Check out other closures and restrictions here.
The Gallatin is clear and fishing well. Most of the time you can find fish willing to rise to your fly even if there are few insects on the surface. Small hoppers, chubbys, and stonefly imitations can do the trick at the moment. Also, try your favorite attractor dries like Purple Haze, Royal Wulff, and stimulators are good patterns for opportunistic risers. Drop a perdigon, lightning bug, or prince nymph off of the foam. Spruce moths are also fluttering about, so give those a try if you find yourself fishing in wooded sections of the river.
Gallatin River Webcam – Located at Karst, which is about 1/2 way between Bozeman and Big Sky on HWY 191.
The bluegill bite is hot on castle rock.
The Upper has been fishing good. 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.
Middle Thompson- Good Salmon action trolling 40-60’ deep at the west end. Big fish 14-18” range. Also good pike deep weed edges with jerk baits.
Lower Stillwater- Good numbers of nice perch at the west end. Also lots of pile 2-4 lb using spinnerbaits.
Echo Lake- Small mouth action good early morning top water, then deep pints later in the day. Few salmon mid lake trolling.
Flathead Lake- Still white fish action on Woods Bay point, also delta try 40-60’ of water try dead bait, also same depth for nice lake trout. Troll 60-100’ water with flat fish slow early mornings for big lake trout. South end near Rollins and Elmo for perch and white fish.
Clark Fork River- St Regis to Flathead great trout action with spoon and spinners.
Noxon Reservoir- Good numbers of walleye along big flats, try 20-30’ of water.
Bitterroot/Ashley- Still catching salmon trolling 30-60’ of water. Try early mornings.
SNAGGING SEASON OPENS SEPT 15th
for Graves creek and Tobacco river (check regs)
- Flathead Lake – Whitefish are biting in the delta. Try jigging around 40′-60′. KB Lures, Hellbender Tackle or Zimmer Rattle d’Zastors seem to be the best options.
- Flathead River – Hoppers are out and trout fishing has been consistent. Some other flies to use are Purple Haze, Adams or Royal Wulff’s.
- Echo Lake – Warm waters have bass moving deeper. Try tossing Freedom Tackle jigs or punching rigs to target bass in heavy cover.
- Ashley Lake – Still some salmon being caught jigging around 40′-60′ using pink Swedish Pimples with glow hooks.
- Thompson Chain – Smaller pike still being caught around reed lines and timber. Salmon are still fishing around 50′. Mostly trolling hoochie rigs and kokanee dodgers seems to be the consensus.
- Lake Mary Ronan – Decent perch fishing; jigging around 20′ off Camp Tuffit.
- Island Lake – Seeing good numbers of perch around 8″-11″ being caught.
- Hungry Horse Reservoir – The West side road expected to remain closed from mile marker 29 to mile marker 37 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 30 until the first serious cooldown, hopefully soon after Labor Day.
The Yellowstone River has been muddy for the past week but began clearing yesterday. Yesterday fishing was at best so-so up high on the river, with only one fish landed in Walter’s boat on a hopper and a few on nymphs, but the fishing should only improve. Water temps have dropped into the low-mid 60s everywhere, but may spike to 70+ again east of Livingston over Labor Day weekend due to absurd high temps forecast (98 for Labor Day!), so we’re still planning to take out around midafternoon. Once water is clear top to bottom, expect the same-old, same-old: hoppers and mayfly-style attractor nymphs everywhere, ants and small mayfly-type attractor dries up high near Gardiner, and dead-drifted streamers, especially east of Livingston. We’re ready for some real fall weather to pump up the fall hatches and shift the fishing later in the day.
The Stillwater River has probably been at least fair on hopper-dropper combos, but we haven’t gotten any reports for a couple weeks. Fall mayflies including BWO and Tan Drakes (Drake Mackeral, Hecuba, think of other names) may also be starting in late morning. Reminder: the Swinging Bridge access is out for the year, so if you float from Jeffrey’s Landing, you’ll either need to take out at White Bird, be brave and strong and drag the boat up the raft slide at Fireman’s Point, or float all the way to Itch-Kep-Pe on the Yellowstone. Flows remain decent for floating in all but the largest rafts downstream of Jeffrey’s, at 600cfs (or so), but there are some places you’ll need to drag and a couple nasty new hazards in the river, so be on your game.
Montana Small Streams are still producing well in the afternoons up in the mountains. Exceptionally clear water means you might be better off with a large mayfly-style attractor (Wulffs, Hazes, Hazy Cripples, Adams) over a drab attractor nymph like Walter’s old Four Feather, rather than the standard “hopper and a Prince.” By all means find some water that hasn’t been thrashed by a bunch of other people getting away from the heat in the lower country.
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. Most of the small streams are starting to fall off in the park, due to low levels and cooling water temps. Large creeks holding cutthroats or a “mixed bag” will produce better than the brook trout creeks. The Firehole, lower Gibbon, and Madison Rivers are all still too warm due to geyser impacts and the crazy-hot temps we’re forecast to have again starting today.
Note: Montana Outdoor‘s website is the only commercial external site authorized to use this content. Please let us know if you see it anywhere else (Parks’ Fly Shop’s report is similar, since Walter writes that one too).
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
Ryan P.: It’s fine, was there today. Walleye were biting ok mostly 12″-14″ caught a couple eaters but turned them all back. Lots of perch more than 20 turned them all loose as well. Few rainbow but weren’t trying for them. So yea fishing is good and there is plenty of water for any size of boat.
–No new report–
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 action continues to be great while jigging with crawlers in 10-25 feet of water around the docks at the public boat ramps, the Clay Banks, Mann Gulch, Cottonwood Creek and around weed beds and other points on the lower end of the reservoir. kokanee are being found during the early morning or late evening hours on the lower end of the reservoir while trolling Dodgers or cowbells tipped with a spinner and shoepeg corn in 40-60 feet of water. Some nice rainbows continue to be caught on the lower end of the reservoir while trolling cowbells with lead core line, near the Gates of the Mountains with various flies and while out searching for perch and walleye. Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena
Grizzly Hackle scores Rock Creek fishing a 3/5
The Blackfoot is green and clearing up. Should be some good worming over the next day or two.
The Blackfoot continues to fish well into the end of August. Not many Spruce Moth’s around anymore, but we are starting to see a few Trico’s out in spots and the terrestrial fishing is still going. Hoppers in Tan, Pink and Peach with a Rubberlegs, 20 Incher, Perdigon or San Juan dropper has been the go to rig for searching for fish right now. Trico’s in the late morning in certain spots are making for some fun, but challenging dry fly fishing. Sz 20-22 Tucker’s Twiggy, Organza Spinners, Para-Wulff’s and P-Hazes on light tippet with a drag free drift. Mornings into early afternoon are still best for fishing.
1/2 off Friday’s are still happening, every Friday all year long. (1/2 off your first dozen dries or nymphs)
Happy Monday everyone, and welcome to late August. September is on the horizon and with it the promise of cooler weather, bugling elk, and fall hatches. Fall is a great time to be in Montana. It’s a sportsman’s paradise with more activities to do than you’ll have time for. Come see for yourself here in a few weeks…
Water temps across the state are really climbing, so fish early to beat the heat. Use a strong enough rod and leader to fight the fish quickly, keep it in the water as much as possible and release it as fast as you can. Keep in mind that fish can take a bit longer to recover after a fight in this warmer water so give them the time they need.
The Yellowstone River dealt with some muddy water earlier this week, and was muddy for most of the last week or so. This mud kept most anglers off it for a few days at least, which is probably a nice respite for the fish. Things are clear now and we’re back on track.
Water temps have been getting pretty darn hot on the Yellowstone lately. The temp gauge at the monitoring station here in town is currently offline, but was reading low to mid 70s before it went down. The Corwin gauge is showing high 60s every day. The interesting thing is that the water temp is coming way down at night, which is great. Fish early in the day to minimize impact on the fish and to have better fishing.
Currently the only closure or restriction on the Yellowstone is the enduring closure of Mayor’s Landing to Sheep Mountain. We don’t expect this to open back up anytime soon. Please note that nearby the Shields River is under a Hoot Owl and in our opinion should be closed entirely. We’ve had more people than we’d expect in the shop asking about it – just give it a break. It’s in bad shape and needs some rest. There are too many other good places.
Like we mentioned, fishing early in the day on the Yellowstone River will get you the best success. There isn’t really much going on for hatches right now, so attractors and terrestrials are the name of the game. Fishing a rubber legs or larger nymph under a hopper has been very productive on the river. While hoppers get the big billing this time of year, don’t overlook things like ants and beetles.
Nymphing will definitely get you into more fish, if you feel like staring at an indicator this time of year. A rubber legs or dead drifted streamer with a pheasant tail, lightning bug, or copper john behind it can be deadly.
The Lower Madison remains under a Hoot Owl restriction and we’re recommending just avoiding it right now. It’s a mess with tubers and those fish could use a break.
The Upper Madison is still fishing well, and we’ve seen some very nice fish coming out of it recently. The section from 8 Mile to Ennis Lake remains under a Hoot Owl. Fish early for best success and to avoid most of the crowds. It’s amazing what offsetting your float by a couple of hours can do for some solitude on the river.
Hoppers and terrestrials are the name of the game for dry flies right now. Fish the water that’s hard to reach, or you have to walk a bit further to, to find unpressured fish. This is the time of year when fishing patterns that are even slightly different than what the fish have seen all summer long can pay off in a big way.
This time of year it’s a great idea to carry a water thermometer stop fishing when it hits 70 or so. Like we said, fish early. It’s better for the fish and better for the experience. We’re looking forward to fall on the Upper, which is pretty darn spectacular. It’s coming soon!
The Gallatin River in the canyon and above remains a decent choice. Be mindful of the green algae bloom below Big Sky. This recurring issue pops up every summer it seems, and it’s a can of worms we won’t go into here. Just keep it in mind. You’ll find a pile of people between Big Sky and the canyon mouth, but from Big Sky to the park boundary it’s much less busy.
As with the rest of the state, you won’t find all that much for insect hatches this time of year. Bring an assorted box of terrestrials, attractors, and a few general purpose nymphs. The Gallatin River is pretty low this time of year, so fishing deep can lead to more snags than anything else. Look for the good holding water, and bonus points if it’s not right by a highway pullout.
We’d recommend staying away from anything out of the canyon to the confluence. The only stretch with an official restriction on it is from Cameron Bridge down, but it’s low and it’s warm. The canyon stretch does stay shaded and cooler than elsewhere, but we’d still say fish early for best results.
Not a lot has changed since our last report in the other waters in the state. It’s hot, water temps are high, and not much is hatching. Fish early to beat the heat, handle fish well, and have a good mix of attractors, terrestrials, and all purpose nymphs in the box. You can check out the list of current restrictions on the FWP website here.
The high country beckons this time of year – get away from crowds and out of the heat in the mountains. Trails are dry, streams are cold, and the incredible serenity of high mountain lakes is just a few hours of effort away. Our season in the high country never lasts as long as we’d like, don’t waste it!
The dog days of summer are a waiting game of sorts. Waiting on cooler weather, waiting on the fall hatches to kick off and usher in some of the best fishing of the season. We’ve been getting a lot of calls and interest in fall fishing over the past week and we’re expecting a great season coming up.
The shop remains very well stocked on everything you need to get out, find fish, and enjoy your time in Montana. Stop by for the latest info, best flies, and friendliest service you could ask for! Tight lines this week.
–No new report–
Since the end of July Hoot Owl restrictions ( no fishing from 2 AM to Midnight) have applied to several streams nearby. These include;
Big Hole, Bitterroot, Gallatin, Jefferson, Madison, Ruby and Yellowstone Rivers. See the full list of restricted streams and details on the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Park web site’s section on fishing restrictions.
Hebgen Lake’s Madison Arm is the place to be during wind-free periods which bring good gulper action. Gulpers can be found on other nearby lakes under these conditions.
Things are getting weird these days on the Horn!
Black and Tan Caddis have kept fish looking up. The nymphing has been good with PMD and Caddis Pupa. Don’t get out too early, the fish are sleeping in most days! The river remains in great shape with water temps in the mid to high 50s.
Ronald M.: Well the trout and walleye didn’t wanna play around so we chased pike. Dakota hooked 3 and landed 2 including this fat 33″ mamma. All fish were released
Walleye and perch are being caught in 10-15 feet of water between Duck Creek and Pond 1 and between the Silos and Pond 3, including the river channel. The best action has been while using bottom-bouncers with silver, purple or red spinner blades tipped with either a worm or leech. Walleye and rainbows are being caught in 30 feet of water between White Earth and Round Top on bottom bouncers or yellow or green crankbaits. Shore fishing is slow. Troy Humphrey, FWP, Helena
Black Jaw Fever is still running strong.