Statewide Montana Fishing Report Compilation 9.21.22
By angelamontana

Posted: September 21, 2022

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.

Please check the fishing regulations before fishing.

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Hell Creek Recreation Information (September 21, 2022)

Cooney State Park Information via FWP (September 21, 2022)

Hauser Fishing Report by FWP (September 19, 2022)

Rainbow fishing has been consistently good, and fish are being caught from shore at Riverside and the Causeway Bridge with wooly bugger flies and jigs tipped with crawlers or while trolling cowbells with wedding rings between White Sandy and York Bridge. A few walleye are being found in Lake Helena while trolling various crankbaits.  Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena

Holter Fishing Report via Montana Fishing Addicts 2.0 (September 16, 2022)

William S.: Went to lower Holter yesterday; kinda like fishing in pea soup; hope it’s better up above. Lots of dinky perch.

Missouri River Fly Fishing Report by Headhunters Fly Shop (September 19, 2022)

Feeling pretty good about the year as we squeaked outta a desperately lean spring into an average water year. And we are so thankful.

Weeds about average out there. Fishing about average. Traffic about average. Weather pleasantly average. Smoke gladly vacant. Flows totally average. Water tempering south, slowly.

Ahead for the next 6 weeks? Could be average. Could be above average. We are betting on the latter.

Some baby BWO’s out there occasionally. Callibaetis sometimes. A random October Caddis. A few flying ants. Hold out grasshoppers.

Nymphers sow buggin’, riding the Zebra, jerkin’ the Zirdle around, dead drifting the nymphal green mayfly.

The streamer junkies are smiling. Battle the weeds and win. Little black leeches cast with pea shooter precision will fill the net.

Swingers starting to march. October Caddis softies? Or the aforementioned streamer suggestion. Both? At the same time?!

Got lots of flies for you in the shop. Stop whenst in Downtown Craig and check us out. Here daily 7am.

Gallatin River Fishing Report via Fins and Feathers (September 18, 2022)

4/5

The Gallatin is fishing well, particularly in the afternoon. 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. It’s starting to feel like streamer season.

Gallatin River Webcam – Located at Karst, which is about 1/2 way between Bozeman and Big Sky on HWY 191.

Castle Rock Live Bait Shop Fishing Report (September 13, 2022)

The bad news is we are out of leeches. The good news is we are starting to put minnows in the redesigned tanks slowly put surely. Not to late to rent a boat and hit the lake. www.castlerockbait.com

Chancy and Dave’s Fish Camp Fishing Report (September 16, 2022)

🔹 Lake Mary Ronan- Good numbers of nice perch. Try Gitzits or small brown tubes. Try sout west end 25-30’ water.
🔹 Upper Thompson- Pike/Perch action upper portion try west end 30’ of water for perch. Look in weed beds for pike. Few salmon in deeper water also.
🔹 Flathead River- C Falls to Old Steel Bridge. Good trout action try small gold spoons or spinners. Flies- purple haze or hoppers.
🔹 Tobacco River/Graves Creek- Snagging is open, good numbers lots of fish, try near town of Eureka, also Redford or Graves Creek area. Kootenai Falls area a little slower. BE SURE AND CHECK THE REGS.
🔹 Van Lake- Reports nice rainbows trolling flickershads or bait fish or power bait.
🔹 Clark Fork River- St Regis to Paradise excellent trout on flies or spoons.
🔹 Loon Lake (Thompson Chain of Lakes) Good bass on small tubes, large/small mouth. Also troll mid lake for rainbows.
🔹 Island Lake- Nice perch 7-11” , few bass and pike.

Hell Creek Campground Update by James Gustafson via Friends of Hell Creek Inc. (September 12, 2022)

The 2022 summer camping season is winding down at Hell Creek overall a very successful first year for the Little Shell Tribe. Rachel, Jerry and Guy from all the comments I have received from the users did a great job.
There were several users that had quit coming to HC over the years and have now started coming back, some more than once it was nice to see old friends back at HC and having a good time once again.
The biggest issue for the entire Hell Creek Recreation area was the one that plagued all off us and that was the extremely high fuel prices. A lot of the out of state users and locals just didn’t show up this year due to the fuel prices. All we can hope for is thing to settle down and things get back to normal next year.
We are starting to see more bow hunters and anglers showing up now and I’m sure that will continue through November. Then the ice fishing will start sometime in January.
The Little Shell Tribe is working with the Corp to make some long needed improvements concerning the boat ramp and with a little luck this will work out, I will keep you posted.
Last but not least fishing been tough the last few weeks but it looks like that may be changing water temp is starting to drop and several boats came in with good fish. One boat two fishermen caught over 65lbs, of walleyes, they only kept a few eaters, but they where good looking fish, several other boats where targeting Northerns with mixed results, but they caught fish. Have a couple out chasing salmon today, will give an update after I talk to Ben from Kibler outfitting.
Jim

Flathead Valley Fishing Report by Snappy’s Sport Senter (September 15, 2022)

Snagging Season is Open!!
Fully stocked on Hooks and Flagging Tape

  • Tobacco River/Graves Creek – Snagging season open, fish size range between 7″-10″
  • Kootenai Falls – Some fish showing up not seeing big numbers quite yet.
  • Flathead Lake – Laker fishing has been good around 35′-40′. Hellbender tackle and Mission Tubes with cut bait for jigging seems to be working best.
  • Middle Thompson – Trolling Salmon still producing some decent fish. Macks Sling Blades paired with Hoochie Rigs and Pautzke Fire Corn is a great option.
  • Lower Thompson – Good numbers of smaller Pike. Look for fallen trees around the northeast end, fish are hiding in the structure.
  • Murray Lake – Trout fishing will be picking up with cooler water temps. Try using Powerbait Nuggets or size 3 & 5 Rapalas.
  • Flathead River – Trout numbers are picking up as pressure goes down. Good numbers on size 10 & 12 Parahoppers. Some other good flies to try are Purple Haze, Royal Wulffs and Humpys.

Stillwater Fishing Report by Montana Angler (September 9, 2022)

Current Conditions:

The Stillwater has fished well this season even in the wake of the early summer flooding. The June floods changed some of the river quite a bit in some places so be aware if floating. Attractor dry and dropper fishing has been solid and should continue for a few more weeks. As the water cools fish are moving out of the fastest water into more deliberate runs.

The Month Ahead:

Terrestrial fishing and attractor dry action should continue through September but anglers can also be successful with smaller nymphs in the size 16-18 range.

Long Term Fishing Forecast:

The Stillwater can fish well into fall when the streamer game picks up, but some of the larger fisheries such as the Yellowstone tend to be a better option once we get into late fall.

Helena Valley Regulating Reservoir Fishing Report via FWP (September 19, 2022)

The snagging season for Kokanee Salmon opened on September 1st and will run through October 31st.  Limits are 35 salmon daily with 70 in possession.  Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena

Kootenai River Fishing Report by Linehan Outfitting (September 12, 2022)

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

Yellowstone River Fishing Report by Bozeman Fly Supply (September 8, 2022)

–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 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

  • Dry Fly

    Thunder Thighs Hopper (10-14), Morrish Hopper (10-14), 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)

  • Streamer

    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)

  • Nymph

    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)

Holter Reservoir Fishing Report by FWP (September 19, 2022)

Rainbow fishing has been consistently good throughout the reservoir while trolling cowbells with a wedding ring or crankbaits and while using various flies or spawn sacks above the Gates of the Mountains. Good number of perch are being caught while jigging with crawlers in 15-25 feet of water around the docks at the public boat ramps, across from the Boat Loft and around Cottonwood Creek and Mann Gulch. A few kokanee are being found during the early morning or late evening hours on the lower end of the reservoir while trolling flashers tipped with a spinner and shoepeg corn in 40-60 feet of water.  Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena

Blackfoot River Fishing Report by Grizzly Hackle (September 20, 2022)

Grizzly Hackle scores Rock Creek fishing a 4/5

The Blackfoot has been the most consistent river this season and continues to be.  The fish are happy and looking up.  Hopper/Dropper with a October Caddis Dropper or a Mayfly Dropper has been a great way to search for fish.  There are Trico’s out in the flats and foam lines in the late mornings in places.  A few October Caddis have been spotted so make sure to have an Orange Stimulator or Elk Hair Caddis for the afternoons/evenings.  Streamer fishing should keep getting better.  Look for the lowlight times of day and cloudy days to be your best day for throwing the big stuff around.  Sparkle Minnows, Kreelex, Mini-Dungeons, Baby Gonga’s, Chicago Overcoats, Zirdles and Zonkers.

1/2 off Friday’s are still happening, every Friday all year long. (1/2 off your first dozen dries or nymphs)

Yellowstone River and Livingston Area Fly Fishing Report by Dan Bailey’s (September 17, 2022)

We made it through another week! The forecast is certainly looking up for the coming week, with lots of fall weather in the 10-day. Love it. This is the kind of weather we all look forward to. Is fall fishing here? Not yet, but it’s pretty darn close!

YELLOWSTONE RIVER

At the risk of sounding like a broken record here – late summer conditions have been continuing on the Yellowstone River. Days have been hot, the air has been smoky, and hoppers have been working. The bright sun isn’t great for dry fly fishing, but the coming clouds might improve that. Think about it like this – if you were looking up at the glare of a bright day without sunglasses, would you want to?

Hoppers and terrestrials such as ants and beetles are the name of the game up top. Our fall hatches are still a ways out, so might as well fish a hopper or big attractor with a nymph off the back. If you aren’t finding much success on top, fishing two subsurface flies is a great choice. A bigger pattern like a rubber legs, mega prince or dead drifted streamer with an attractor nymph behind it works pretty darn well. If you just want action, put a hare’s ear or lightning bug on for the whitefish.

The river from Mayor’s to Sheep Mountain remains closed. Remember that Sheep Mountain does NOT have a sanctioned boat ramp, and please don’t drive down the dry channel to put a boat in. Once they are able to get the old rail bridge at 89 out, hopefully this stretch of river will open up.

Fall on the Yellowstone is really awesome. It’s coming soon…

MADISON RIVER

Same same on the Madison. Fall is coming up fast. The late summer pattern on the Upper Madison River continues with some pretty good fishing to be had on hoppers and hopper/dropper rigs. Terrestrials are the name of the game right now and don’t overlook ants and beetles. The key fall hatches are coming up, but they’re still ahead of us.

Lots of folks are looking forward to fall streamer fishing on the Upper Madison, and rightfully so. It’s the season to have a good chance at catching your biggest fish of the entire year. Break out the 7wt and swing for the fences.

The Lower Madison is still the realm of tubers and recreationalists, and while the Hoot Owl restriction has been lifted, there are better options for anglers. If you simply have to fish the Lower, float below Black’s Ford or walk way up into Bear Trap Canyon. As the cooler weather in the forecast thins the recreationalists out, fishing will improve. Stay tuned. The Lower Madison can be a great fall fishery.

GALLATIN RIVER

Late summer conditions persist on the Gallatin River. We are encouraging people to fish in the canyon and above and not really mess with stuff down in the valley. There aren’t any restrictions on that water, but it needs a bit of a break and will only get better as temps cool down.

Things are fishing reasonably well in the canyon, though be aware of the algae bloom below Big Sky. There are a ton of access options, which is great since this stretch of river is always pretty busy. Bring some hoppers and attractors for up top, and your “standard” nymphs for sub surface. Perdigon style flies are working well.

As with everywhere else, we are waiting on our fall hatches to kick in. It’s not bad now, but it’s going to be a whole lot better here soon.

OTHER WATERS

As water temps slowly recover from summer highs, restrictions are lifted and we shift more into the fall pattern around the state, there are a ton of options for fishing in SW Montana. Do some exploring. Take that drive you’ve always wanted to, spend a weekend day trying out some new water.

The high country still beckons these days, and September is one of the best months for hiking and backpacking of the entire year. The high country lakes are still fishing well, and the small water is well worth your time. This can be some of the most rewarding fishing you’ll find around here, even if the fish are small. The effort required to get there doesn’t equal the size of fish, but we would argue the experience more than makes up for it.

LIVINGSTON AND THE STORE

Things are slowly starting to slow down in Livingston. We had our first rainy day in way too long yesterday, and have more in the forecast. Walking around town you can start to see the first color change of the fall season. It’s just that time of year. We’re starting to see a subtle shift in what people are buying for the upcoming season here in the store.

Our fly bins are full for upcoming fall fishing, and we are excited to be your one-stop shop for all your fishing, camping, biking, and hiking needs. We are starting to get fall apparel and gear in to keep you warm and dry during your time outdoors.

Stop by our storefront or give us a call at 406.222.1673 for the latest info and advice on where to go. Tight lines this week!

Clark Fork River Fishing Report by Blackfoot River Outfitters (September 10, 2022)

BRO Fishing score: 3/5
BRO’s Tips of the Week:The Clark Fork is no longer under Hoot Owl restrictions.

Tricos are happening in earnest on the Clark Fork right now. We’re seeing pods of sipping fish rising to small spinners and duns on a regular basis. Pink and peach hoppers and Plan B’s are still attracting fish as well, especially on the twitch. Run a long dropper off your dry fly (think three or four feet) to target fish sitting low on clear, hot days.

*Two trees down between Clinton-Turah that are blocking an entire channel.  We do not especially recommend floating this section as it will require some dragging to get around.

7 Day Outlook:

Colder overnight temperatures and slightly more mild daytime highs will help drop water temperatures further, and should improve fishing conditions.  We are still seeing almost 40 degree temperature swings so bring your layers!

Need a thermometer? Come see us in the shop or buy one online!

Our Recommendations for the Best Techniques and Patterns:

Be prepared to run a couple of different setups depending on what you see on the water. Sipping fish will often be hitting size 20-22 Tricos like the Polywing, Parachute, Indicator Spinner, and CDC Spinner Trico, so fish these on longer 5-5.5x tippet. Otherwise, a Plan B, hopper, or ant pattern with an occasional twitch will be your go-to option for dry flies. The Ant Acid, Parachute Ant, Jake’s No Sink Ant, or a beetle will be good bets.

Olive Perdigons, TJ Hookers, Spanish Bullets, 20 Inchers, Crayfish, and Mic Drop Olives are all great patterns to fish as droppers this time of year. Don’t just stick to the banks – fish like cool, moving water right now.

Nymphing can produce when fish are holding deeper on warm, bright days. Try Girdle BugsTJ Hookers, Double Bead Stones, and San Juans in #6-8. The Lightning Bug, Jig PT, 2-Bit Hooker, Prince Nymph, Duracell, Spanish Bullet or Perdigon nymphs in #12-14 should be productive as well.

Streamer prospecting is still good in deeper water on the Clark Fork. Throw Sparkle Minnows, Kreelexes, Mini Dungeons, and Thin Mints/Buggers in deeper, cold currents to get them down to fish. Warmer water means it’s also a good time to break out the pike rod if that’s your style.

Get your Staff Pick Seasonal Fly Selection here.

Goings on at World Headquarters in Missoula:

The new Online Store is live!  Check it out!

Call or email us for up to the minute updates at 406.542.7411 or if you are in the area stop in- WE HAVE MOVED TO OUR BRAND NEW LOCATION AT 275 N. RUSSELL STREET IN MISSOULA- for all your Orvis gear and the right bugs.

YNP Fishing Report by Jimmy’s Fly Shop (September 20, 2022)

Browns and rainbows are losing interest in being Hebgen Lake gulpers to staging around tributaries for the fall spawning run. Soon it will be a contest on the Madison as to whether there are more fish than fly fishers present as the fall spawning run has begun. The more numerous spawning run of Lewis River brown trout into the channel between Shoshone and Lewis Lake and below Lewis Lake is also beginning. So presenting streamer patterns of various types is becoming the name of the game on these Park waters.

With cooling weather, look for fishing on the Firehole River to improve much to the delight of top water fly fishers using BWO, white miller and soft hackled patterns.

Plenty of terrestrial insects remain in the meadow reaches of Fall River Basin streams, and this will be the case until a killing frost occurs. Waters here are at base level and ultra clear, so a studied approach with essentially no wading is required for success.

Bighorn River Fishing Report by Bighorn Trout Shop (September 16, 2022)

Water flows are at 2,500 cfs. Fishing has been poor the last several days. There is not a lot going on regarding insect hatches: a few black caddis are around in the afternoon and evening, especially on the upper 3 miles. We’re seeing some Pseudos (pale olive Baetis) throughout the day, and a few trico spinners in the morning. Anglers have caught some fish on tricos in the morning, but it remains to be seen if the trico hatch develops into a major event. Aquatic grass has choked out many of the fishing holes, so you’ll have to target the fast water sections. Still reports of large trout being caught, but don’t expect to catch large numbers of fish. Some decent streamer action if you can cover the water efficiently.

Missouri River Fishing Report via The River’s Edge (September 16, 2022)

4050 CFS @ Holter – The Mo has been fishing great as we head into the third week of September. Weeds are still an issue until we get a solid freeze overnight. Deep nymph rigs in the mornings with small mayflies and midges has been quite effective. Hopper dropper rigs into the afternoon with large Morrish or Thunder Thighs.

GO-TO FLIES:

Conrad Sculpin Yellow #4
Morrish Hopper Golden #8
Higa’s SOS Black #16
TB Split Case BWO #18
CDC Sowbug Jig #16

Canyon Ferry Fishing Report via FWP (September 19, 2022)

The walleye action picked up again with White Earth, Snaggy Bay and Confederate producing the best results.  Out from Broadwater Bay and Duck Creek to Confederate have produced walleye and perch as well.  Fishing at 15 to 25 feet deep with bottom bouncers and a worm with silver blades or crankbaits in purple/silver or pink/white colors has been the ticket to success. Rainbow fishing has provided some action while trolling cowbells or crankbaits near the dam and from shore by Pond 4. Troy Humphrey, FWP, Helena

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