Email us your weekly fishing report to include it in this Montana fishing report compilation before the end of the day on Tuesday of each week here along with your name and website/email address you would like to see listed with your report.
Walleye action has slowed up with the recent rainy weather. A few are being caught on bottom bouncers with green spinner blades with worms or leeches in 15 to 20 feet of water around the Silos and out from Hole in the Wall. Rainbow fishing has improved from both shore and boat. Shore anglers are finding rainbows around the Outhouse and Shannon while boat anglers are catching rainbows around Cemetary Island, the Outhouse and Hole in the Wall on spinners or cowbells. Troy Humphrey, FWP, Helena
J.G.: Fishing is good at HC most main lake points in 6 to 12 foot range, crawlers and minnows both working well. The fishing is best from the J marker to Crooked Creek east. The points are producing good numbers with a lot of 27″ plus walleyes. The northern bite is good as well most people are pulling spoons or cranks along the new weed beds. Bass fishing is improving daily as the water warms up.
Hell Creek General Recreation Information ( June 7, 2023)
Spring is here and with spring comes warmer temps and more water. This being said, the flows are starting to slowly come down! With the rain we are expecting in the coming week we could see a small bump in flows but we are still trending in the right direction. Fishing should get good here in the next couple of weeks but for now streamers on the bank are a great option. Nymphing larger stoneflies, worms, eggs, and any of your other runoff favorites can be productive as well right now. Be safe and stay out of the water if you can, it is moving fast! 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
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), Griffiths Gnat (16-20), Buzzball (16-18)
Woolly Bugger (4-12), Mini Dungeon Black/ Natural/ White (6), Complex Twist Bugger (2), Kreelex Minnow (4), Sparkle Minnow (4-8), Double Gonga Black/Rainbow (4), Urchin Bugger (4), Sculpzilla Black/ White/ Natural (4-8), Sculpinator (4-6)
Pat’s Rubber Legs (6-12), Zirdle Bug (6-12), Woolly Bugger Black/ Olive (4-12), Perdigon (14-18), Pheasant Tail (10-18), Jigster Baetis (14-18), Prince Nymph (10-18), BH Hare’s Ear (12-18), Sizzlin’ Hot Spot Squirrel (14-16), Zebra Midge (16-22), San Juan Worm, Matt’s Shagadelic Mop Tan/ Brown/ Green/ Cheeto (10), Hare’s Ear (14-18), Dirty Bird (12-16)
Fresno is 92% full. Water is mainly clear and surface temps 60-70s. Walleye fishing is good. Most methods are working. Best depths from 10’- 15’ along weed lines. Nelson is 90% full water is clear and surface temps 60-70s. Walleye fishing is good. Most methods using live bait is working. Best depths from 10’ to 20’ along weed lines. Again use your equipment to locate fish. Good fishing!
The walleye bite in the Canyon near the Gates of the Mountains continues to be good and most are being caught while vertical jigging with various Rapalas, hair jigs, or Mister Twisters tipped with leeches or crawlers. Good numbers of rainbows are being caught out from the Gates of the Mountains while using egg patterns, black and red leech patterns, Power Bait, or plain night crawlers, and from Black Beach to Split Rock and along the Clay Banks across from the boat loft while trolling orange or yellow crankbaits or cowbells with wedding rings. An occasional kokanee is being found while searching for rainbows. A few perch are being found while pitching small jigs tipped with crawlers between the Oxbow Bend and Log Gulch. Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena
Missouri River June Forecast
Rain. A total of 6 days historically. 2.62″ on the average. Hopefully more this year. Looking like an average month with equal chance higher or lower precipitation and the same for temps too.
Sunshine. Yes. Mostly. Average high temp of 76F and low temp of 46F. Still a month where you should be prepared for anything. I have seen snow on the 11th. Only 9″ though. Gone that afternoon. Raingear? Yep. Sunscreen. Certainly.
Currently in the approximately 8K club. But that may not last. It could bump up a bit? Or not. We will see the flows continue to drop as the inflows in conjunction with the snow pack slipping by us has left us needing the remaining high mountain snow to fulfill the lake needs.
Flow levels for the second half of June and July? We believe about average. But will not know, until the days have passed us by. Then, we will know. You will know, too. This author predicting a perfect storm.
Your Missouri River information source is Headhunters of Craig.
Flows from here on out are dependent on the rain that falls from the sky. We have had a pattern where the warmer than average May air temps have evaporated the waters. Check out the Snow Water Equivalent Map below and see what we are currently situated at.
PMD’s are near. Water temps are nearing the correct temp for these summer hatching insects. They will become more of an issue as the month progresses. Historically the PMD pops on/about June 4, 5, or 6. Then 4 or 5 days until it is game on. This is my favorite fly fishing week on the Mighty Mo. Will the water be appropriate for rising fish this year?
Expect PMD action to increase all the way through the 4th of July. Then it may wane. But wait! It does not end until sometime in July. Late July on higher water years. Sooo…we will have to see what transpires.
Dry flies that will work for the front end include that classic parachute pattern you like. They are dumb easy in the beginning. Then they get more difficult every day. Cripples, spinners, and emergers rule this hatch. The Buzzball is a great pattern for both the caddis and PMD. Remember that our theme is generally presentation first. Fly Second. But if you like a ton of kick ass PMD patterns then look no further than your fly source on the Missouri River, Headhunters of Craig.
Caddis flies will come in better numbers as the month move ahead. Enough on the lower to see a few fish finding the top water caddis. IF you like that kind of action you may want to fish below Mid-Canon for the next couple weeks. It can, and will happen.
Downwinged patterns are popular because they work. those high wingers will get some fish early, but then you must fish it in the film man. CDC, short hair-winged patterns, and soft hackles will find you the best catch rates.
Ants. Fish them. Towards the end of the month you will need a selection of cinnamon, black, and bi-colored patterns on your person daily. Terrestrial play a big role throughout the summer months. Stock up today and fish them all season long!
Yellow Sallies will make an appearance in June as well. Have a few nymphs in your box along with a couple downwind Sally patterns. Although we do like the parachute versions for success. Put that fly in the film as well. And remember it is a stonefly. A small and yellow fellow.
The worm hatch will continue for those who like to soak their flies. All of your cool patterns that you tied all winter long are in play. Caddis Pupa and emergers. PMD techy nymphs like the Split Back and Two Bit Hooker. Fish them and enjoy getting the net wet. Iron Sally. A good one. GRHE too. Big PT’s? Sure. Small ones too. Zebra’s and small black PT’s will finish the month with the Trico on our minds. The nymphs are in play before the dry fly shows itself. Smart nymphers know that!
CraigTroutCamp and CraigLodging are the two portals that you need for any lodging needs you may need fishing the Missouri River in Montana. 30+ lodging options for you to peruse. Book today with our booking agents at Headhunters Fly Shop and Guide Service in Craig Montana 406-235-3447. Lodging for two starting just over a hundred bucks. Lodging riverside for bit more. Lodging for groups. Lodging for every budget and need.
Headhunters is the number one rated guide service on the Mighty Missouri River. Our annual return client rate is 78%. Strong. The best in Missouri River guides coupled with our famous Headhunters customer service gives you the best experience on the Mo!
Call today and we will fit you with the right fishing guide for your fly fishing desires. A dry fly guide to show you the difficult, albeit large, brown trout? Got it. A numbers man? Got it. A guide to educate your children, or your wife? Got that covered too. Let Julie, Sara, cater your trip to you! It’s what we love to do and it’s what we do best.
We are open daily at 7am. Earlier sooner than later. Open late too til at least 7pm nightly. Find your gear needs at Headhunters with the best fly selection on the river. We have rods, reels, fly lines, logo wear, accessories and trinkets too. We built our shop around our fly bins and the fly fishing enthusiast!
See you this June in Craig. Any questions or for bookings call 406-235-3447
Bitterroot Lake- excellent salmon action trolling or jigging is working well. Try south and 50 feet of water for nice rainbows late afternoon.
Middle Thompson- pike fishing doing very well, cast large plugs, or swim baits along weed￼ beds. Look for nice perch also on weed beds using live leeches.
Blanchard Lake- great Crappie action along weed edges try small minnow type jigs.
Crystal Lake- excellent salmon bite- 8-10” fish trolling.
Lake Mary Ronan- good salmon bite early morning jigging. Perch action getting good also.
Flathead Lake- Trolling Delta with large spoons doing well. Also try Woods Bay Point early morning with T50 Flatfish.
Van Lake- good rainbows using power bait.
Island Lake- lots of nice perch, few good bass and pike too.
- Flathead Lake – Lakers are still being caught in about 80′-100′ of water. Try trolling Rapala Scatter Raps or jigging tubes.
- Flathead River – Water clarity continues to improve as levels have fallen below 15,000 cfs. Best luck using San Juan worms, Prince Nymphs or Pheasant tails right now.
- Blanchard Lake – Panfish have been biting well. Rig up some small hair jigs or crappie magnet lures. Hearing good numbers of slot limit pike and bass being caught as well.
- Church Slough – Perch and crappie bite remain consistent. The pike are getting more aggressive and biting on dead baits and spinners pretty well.
- Echo Lake – Good bass fishing using Senko’s or crawdad soft plastics. Not hearing much else going on other than the bass at the moment.
- Lower Thompson – Bass have moved up into the shallows. The smallmouth have been fanning beds while largemouth have been moving along the shorelines.
- Bitterroot Lake – Still a decent rainbow bite on planer boards and trolling flies! A few salmon being caught using pink or orange Swedish Pimples and Hali’s tipped with corn or maggots.
- Smith Lake – Lots of pike being caught! Best options are using dead bait rigged up or some spinner baits.
- Swan Lake – Lake trout being caught off the highway in 60′-80′ of water. Mostly trolling cut plugs or scatter raps have been the most solid option. There have been reports of a few pike being caught on the south end of the lake as well.
–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
Happy start to the work week everyone, we hope you all enjoyed the long weekend. A stroll through Sacajawea Park here in Livingston over the weekend was a great reminder that Memorial Day isn’t just bbqs, an extra day off work, and celebrating the start of summer. We humbly thank and remember those who gave all in service to our country.
Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer in our neck of the woods, and it certainly feels like it. We’re still solidly in the middle of runoff, but the warmer weather has opened up a few options for the area that should keep us occupied for a while.
Here’s what’s happening in our area:
While the Yellowstone has been coming down, visibility is still sitting right around zero. Flows are still elevated, and we aren’t expecting to be on the river anytime soon. That being said – if this downward trend continues, we might get a window of opportunity! Stay tuned.
The Upper Madison River has quite a bit of color in it these days, but is still fishing reasonably well. The BWOs are pretty much gone, it’s still a bit early for PMDs, and the caddis are still there in places. With the water this off color, most of your action is going to be subsurface. While many people associate streamers solely with the fall, spring can be the best time of year to throw big flies off the bank and get into some really nice fish.
Other standard spring nymphs such as rubberlegs, caddis pupa, worms, and larger attractors like Perdigons, lightning bugs, and other jig nymphs are a solid bet. Don’t be afraid of adding extra weight to get the flies down to where they need to be. In heavier water like we have now it can take more than you think.
While the bulk of the Mother’s Day Caddis hatch on the Lower Madison is over and the buzz around it is winding down, there are still lots of them around. If you want to go catch fish on dries, this is about the best bet for you. Streamer fishing has been really good as well, as has nymphing the buckets this stretch of the river is known for.
The Lower is getting pretty busy, especially on weekends. It’s allllllmost warm enough to start seeing a lot of recreational floater traffic on the river, so pack your patience.
The Gallatin is still running pretty high and dirty. There are other, better options. You might find some clearer water up above Taylor’s Fork and into the Park, but there are closer options.
PARADISE VALLEY SPRING CREEKS
We’re entering that time of year when the spring creeks are fishing really well, but they are generally booked solid for the next few months. If you’re lucky enough to have one of those dates, come into the shop and talk! We’ll make sure you get what you need.
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
The fishing season for Yellowstone National Park is open! While the Northeast Corner is pretty high and muddy right now, you can still find some fishable water in the smaller creeks and streams. Keep your head on a swivel and mind the fast water. This part of the park is going to just get better and better as we move into summer.
The West side is in much better shape. The Firehole River has been fishing well with BWOs and PMDs giving a good show for opening weekend, and we’ve heard the Madison was doing great as well. The Firehole shines in the early and late season, before water temps rise mid summer. Get out there!
LAKES AND STILLWATERS
With area rivers high, a lot of anglers have been headed to the local lakes and ponds in the area. Hyalite Reservoir has iced out, and is always a good time in the spring. Leeches and chironomids slowly stripped from just under the surface to within the first couple feet of water always do well. Have some small parachute adams or purple haze in the box too.
Dailey Lake can be a lot of fun on a calmer day, with some large trout and other species providing some good fun. Get the boat out, get the tube out, just go walk the edges even. It can be busy on the weekends so if you can go during the week, have at it.
The higher mountain lakes are in various stages of ice off, and if you can hit it just right when the ice melts off you can have some of the best fishing of your life. We’re entering the time of year when the odds are decent you will find fishable water in most lakes instead of a sheet of ice, but stop in or give us a call before headed out if you have any questions. And if you have any updated info, we’d love to hear it!
LIVINGSTON AND THE SHOP
Summer is basically here! There is a ton of stuff going on in our area from now through the summer and it’s a great time of year to be in Montana. Our shop is in full swing for the season and we have everything you need to get out and make the most of your time in our incredible part of the world. Dale even dressed up the front of the shop with the traditional flowers for the season.
We hope to see you in the store this summer season. Tight lines this week!
The fishing is getting real hot.
The walleye bite on Lake Helena continues to be great while trolling silver or blue crankbaits or bottom bouncers and crawler harnesses tipped with crawlers or leeches. A few walleye are also being caught while trolling bottom bouncers near York Bridge. Some nice rainbows are being caught at Riverside below Canyon Ferry Dam while using Power Bait, crawlers, jigs, or leech pattern flies. Tolling orange, yellow, or brown crankbaits or cowbells with a wedding ring between Black Sandy and the Powerlines is also producing a few rainbows. Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena
Water is up again a bit on the Bighorn. Flows were increased to 3450 CFS a few days back in anticipation of the downpour. The rain showed up heavy and blew out a good portion of the river below 3 Mile. With the bump in flows, the moss got let loose a bit as well. Things are getting back to normal as we speak. Overall, fishing has been good in the afternoons, although not as consistent as it was a week or so ago.
The Baetis are still out for random afternoon windows and some fish are on them. They’ve been really picky lately, so definitely not a numbers deal.
Nymphing has been day to day. Some days great, some days not so much. Carpet Bugs, Rainbow Candy, Quills, Silver Bullets, random Perdigons and worms have been the consistent ticket. Keep your bugs clean right now! It makes a big difference between fish and no fish.
Water temps are still pretty chilly (mid 40’s). We’re hoping they start rising here in the next few weeks and the streamer bite might pick up as well.
This Yellowstone River fishing report is valid from June 7 through June 20–25. That’s when we expect spring runoff to begin fading.
The Yellowstone River reached maximum runoff around May 25 (early). It now has far less than normal snowpack remaining in the headwaters. It’s at between 13,000 and 16,000cfs right now and will only drop no matter the weather.
We expect the Yellowstone to become fishable much earlier than we did a month ago because of the early, hard runoff. We now expect the Yellowstone to drop into shape between June 20 and June 25. The Salmonfly hatch will occur immediately thereafter and should be fishable.
The main X-factor is whether or not the Yellowstone takes a long time to clear up like it did last year. It got low enough to fish July 7 last year but remained sort of a puke green color until July 25. Dry fly fishing (and numbers) were limited during that window. We’re hoping all the loose silt washed in from last year’s flood got flushed through during this year’s runoff and the river will clear on schedule. If it does, expect some “big bug” dry fly fishing in late June and the first few days of July.
Our next Yellowstone River fishing report will drop when the river begins to drop into shape around June 20.
Learn more about fishing the Yellowstone River (in Montana).
Info about our float trips, a majority of which take place on the Yellowstone.
Info about our Montana walk & wade trips, which in winter and early spring take place on the Yellowstone.