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 fishing is good throughout the reservoir with the hot spots being from Confederate to Pond 1, Pond 4 to Hole-in-the-Wall, north of White Earth and the west shore across from Avalanche. Walleyes are being caught in 15-25 feet of water on bottom bouncers with slow-death rigs or worm harnesses in red or pink colors. Rainbows are being caught as well as perch by anglers using walleye rigs in these same areas. A few rainbows are being caught while using jigs or crankbaits around Hole-in-the-Wall. Shore fishing is producing a few walleyes on hook and worms around Broadwater Bay. Troy Humphrey, FWP, Helena
Hell Creek General Recreation Information (August 8, 2023)
The Yellowstone has been fishing well recently. Before the drop in air temps, hopper fishing was picking up lots of fish so we expect that to come back into play once it warms back up! As for now, fishing streamers has been a good way to catch some fish, especially early in the morning. Olive and yellow have been our go to colors as of late, with flashy flies like sparkle minnows or kreelex minnows being a good option mid day when the sun is high. Nymphing has also been picking up some fish lately! try running the middle of the river with a large stonefly or sculpin followed by something small and flashy. Fish have also been looking up for PMDs, try a small hopper, chubby, or large Parachute Adams followed by a cripple PMD if you see some fish rising!
Suggested Fly Patterns
Parachute Adams (12-18), Chubbies Pink, Olive, Tan (8-12), Morrish Hopper Pink, Purple, Tan, Brown (10-14), Thunder Grass Hopper Tan (10), Donkey Kong Hopper Tan (10-14), Fat Albert Pink (12-14)
Woolly Bugger (4-12), Mini Dungeon Black/ Natural/ White (6), Montana Intruder (4), Sparkle Minnow JJ’s, Silver (4-8), Double Gonga Black/Rainbow (4), Sculpzilla Black/ White/ Natural (4-8)
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), Matt’s Shagadelic Mop Tan/ Brown/ Green/ Cheeto (10), Hare’s Ear (14-18), Dirty Bird (12-16)
Fresno is 54% full, inflow is 436 cfs and outflow is 842 cfs. Walleye fishing is good. Best depth is 10’-20’. Fish the main lake points in the Kremlin and Kiehns Bay areas. Bottom bouncers rigs with crawlers and leeches are producing. Nelson is 84% full, inflow is 3 cfs and outflow is 161 cfs. Walleye fishing is good. Most depths have been producing using bottom bouncer rigs. I prefer swim baits in the weed edges. Good fishing.
Walleye and perch fishing continues to be good around Cottonwood Creek, Ming Bar and on the lower end of the reservoir around weed beds while using jigs tipped with worms or leeches in 15-25 feet of water. Rainbow fishing has been great throughout the reservoir while trolling cowbells and spinners tipped with a worm or while trolling crankbaits. A few Kokanee are being caught above the Dam in 70-100 feet of water while using downriggers and trolling Dodgers or cowbells with spinners tipped with shoepeg corn. Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena
Drizzle and rain this past weekend. A nice cooling effect for us here in central Montana. While the warmer water temps have affected the remainder of the state and beyond, the cool tailwater of the Mighty Mo is in full effect. Our water temps are in check, not dangerous of the trout, and unlike the freestones this resource is quite cool for the time period. Air temps the week ahead do not crawl above 80F. Hooray.
Trico hatch daily. Spinner fall in the cooler weather of the week will be delayed. Look for them to fall after 10am. The hatch will be delayed as well, consequently the spinner fall later in the day. We have seen the hatch come off as late as noon. Call, stop in, contact us for up to the minute reports @ 406-235-3447. Love to talk about trout. Patterns include the Trico Double Wing Spinner, the Trico Spinner classic, Quigley’s and Stalcup’s Clusters, Griffith’s Gnats, Buzzballs, CDC Hanging Trio Emerger, C DC Trico Emerger, small floating unweighted PT/mayfly style size 18 or 20. There are few black ones as well, or olive as the females are, you guessed it, olive.
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PMD’s still playing a role in your dry fly attack. Rusty or Chartuese/yellowish spinner patterns. Sparse as we move into the middle of August. Gotta have a couple in your box for this occasion. 18’s for sure, man.
Ants. Fish them. You love them, trout love them, and you can mostly see this pattern on the water! Cinnamon, rusty, block, or a combo of colors. Not many things in nature are one color. Think about it. Truth. 12-18’s.
Caddis Flies Rule. A better than average, for he past 20 years, caddis fly participation this year. 16’s and 18’s right now. Translucent Emergers, CDC Caddis, Spent Caddis, Tent Wing Caddis, Skittering Caddis, floating pupa, downwinged caddis…anything that does not float too high. Like the profile of a hair wing caddis? We do too. Trim the hackle from the lower half to get that sucker in the water. Fish in Montana’s Missouri River like the fly sitting int he water, not on the water. You dig?
Grasshoppers? Yup. Again, rising in the water, nearly drowned, or totally drowned in yellow, pink, purple, green, tan…or all the colors together. Most things in nature are not one note, one singular color. Many are fishing in the am, lower on the river system. Get the fly to the fish in the morning period. Less wind, less sun, less casting fatigue, less pressure, more action.
Slack line presentations are important for dry fly success. Find a cast, or cast that you like, practice, and implement. Tight liners need not apply. Those who come armored with the knowledge of several presentation techniques will enjoy this river. Those who don’t will seek freestones with much smaller insectual biomasses. Like the Madison, Yellowstone, Rock Creek, the Bg Hole…
Nymphers are fishing near the dam for the most part. Drifting later in the day to Craig FAS or beyond. Big flies include the Zirdle Bug, Worm, or a large Caddis Pupa. Bottom flies are varied including Perdigons of the black and darker color varieties, Little green MAchines, Tow Bit Hookers, S & M’s, Zebra’s and the like. Again, we have a giant, meaning 500+ bins full of killer Mo river patterns for your choosing. An acre of Sows and scuds too.
Water levels are a touch above normal. About 10%. That is good. Water temps below normal. That is good. On both ends of the scale we are in good shape. Water temps dipping this week in accordance with the air temps. That is good. Not in any danger for closures, restrictions, or otherwise.
Weed levels are average as well. Better towards the dam, not a good as you had downstream. Remember below the rapids at Prewitt Creek and beyond the weeds kinda disappear for w few miles. A good morning session can be had in those reaches.
Book your fall trip today including lodging from HH of Craig. September is a great tnymphing month. October has both nymphers and dry fly anglers alike with the beginnings of the swingers and soft hackers. Trout Spey caster are seen as well Ian the middle of the month Conti suing forward. November is one of our favorite months. Book today by speaking with Julie 406-235-3447 ext 1.
Flathead Lake- excellent white fish bite going! ￼ north and south end of Lake- North end-try the delta, Woodsbay point or Angel point in 40’ of water. South end- try Elmo, and Big Arm bays in 40 to 50’ of water. ￼
Middle/Lower Thompson- good salmon bite, try west end of middle- good pike, near weed edges with jerk baits.
Lake Mary Ronan- ￼ great perch bite 20’ of water. Try small green spoons for nice salmon and rainbows.
￼Thompson River- fishing well for browns and brookies try near bend area.
Swan Lake- ￼ good lake trout action mid Lake area, also nice pike in the bays near north end.
Stage 1 Fire Restrictions go into effect in
Flathead, Lincoln and Sanders Counties Saturday
- With our low water flow and higher temperatures Montana FWP are asking Anglers to help reduce stress and mortality for fish by following these practices when catching and releasing fish, though fish mortality may still occur:
• Fish during the coolest times of day, where permitted.
• Keep the fish in water as much as possible.
• Let the fish recover before releasing it.
• If high temperatures persist, anglers may want to consider fishing areas with less stressful temperatures, such as larger lakes or reservoirs, or higher elevation waterbodies.
For further information and updates, visit https://fwp.mt.gov/news/current-closures-restrictions/waterbody-closures or contact the FWP Region 1 office at 406-752-5501.
- Flathead Lake – Decent numbers of whitefish being caught in the morning off the delta in 40′-60′. You can also try Hatchery Bay in about 30′ using KB tackle or Zimmer tackle.
- Flathead River – The river flows are at 3700 cfs and warming up in the afternoons. Look for deeper pools as fish look for cooler water. Try using hoppers or Purple Haze paired with Pheasant Tails or Prince Nymph Droppers.
- Lower Stillwater Lake – Lots of pike being caught using spinner baits and hanging smelt on quick strike rigs.
- Church Slough – Good sized pike being caught off buzz baits and spinner baits. There is still some good panfish action on Crappie Magnets and Gitzits.
- Murray Lake – Decent trout bite in the mornings and evenings. Try using Powerbait or throwing Little Cleo spoons.
- Middle Thompson – Lots of perch being caught using small jigs paired with maggots and twister tails. Also, good pike action using flies around fallen trees and structure.
- Loon Lake (Ferndale) – Good numbers of Largemouth being caught using soft plastics and top water baits around the Lilly pads.
- Smith Lake – Good numbers of pike still being caught from the dock using top water baits or dead bait.
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
Are we sure it’s still August and not September? What a nice cooldown we’ve had over the last few days. Looking at the forecast it should continue for a few days as well. The moisture we’ve had is making an impact on some of our local waterways, but there’s lots of good fishing to be had.
This reprieve in temps is certainly much welcome for all, including the fish. Water temps on many of our rivers have dropped with these weather. Even still, we recommend fishing early and late, not in the peak of the day. Fight your fish quickly, keep them in the water, and release them as fast as you can.
The Yellowstone has seen a pretty impressive jump in flows over the last few days. The moisture pushed a bit of mud into the river, reducing visibility and impacting fishing. It’s clearing up now, and water temps have dipped down as well. WIth highs in the 70s for a few days, we can expect temps to stay reasonable for a while.
August is an interesting month – a lot of the big name hatches are over, and fall fishing is still on the horizon. You can still find caddis in the afternoons, and they can offer some great dry fly fishing. Hoppers, terrestrials, and attractors are the name of the game these days. It’s shaping up to be a solid hopper year, and we’ve heard many reports of fish chowing these patterns. The great thing about hopper flies is that they are large and buoyant enough to support a pretty good size dropper. Rubberlegs, caddis pupa, attractor nymphs are all good choices. Something like a drowned ant might be a really solid choice too…
Another option in this brief interlude of cloudy and cool is streamers. Typically overlooked during the bright days of mid summer, tossing a streamer when there’s cloud cover might just be the thing to find that trout of a lifetime.
The Upper Madison is fishing well right now. Same story as the Yellowstone – the cooler temps and cloudy days are helping, look for caddis in the afternoon, be ready to face crowds at the boat ramps. Hoppers are out in force, especially along the grassy banks of ag fields mid valley. Bring a wide selection of colors, patterns, and profiles to work through to find what works best.
The best days of the year are still to come on the Upper Madison, but right now is a pretty solid time to be here too. At this time we aren’t recommending the Lower Madison at all, due to Hoot Owl Restrictions, recreational floating traffic, and warm water temps.
It feels like late summer on the Gallatin, but like everywhere else this cooler weather is much appreciated. The river below Gallatin Gateway has been struggling with warmer water temps and agriculture draws, so we’re recommending above that. The river below Big Sky through the canyon is experiencing some algae growth, so be ready for that. Above Big Sky flows get pretty skinny, but crowds are less and there’s still plenty of places to access the river. If you’ve got a Yellowstone Park fishing permit, the park stretch of the Gallatin is a lot of fun this time of year.
Spruce Moths are still out, as are afternoon caddis and lots of terrestrials. If you want to fish dries all day, you can certainly find a way to do it here. With flows at summer levels there isn’t much cause for heavy nymphing, but dropping something behind a chubby or hopper pattern can be a great idea.
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
The NE corner continues to shine. There is a lot of water in Yellowstone National Park, and late summer can be a great time to fish it. Caddis are still out, but the main focus now is terrestrials. Places like Slough Creek and the Lamar can be super productive with hopper and ant patterns.
As with everywhere around here, carry bear spray and know how to use it. Us anglers are especially prone to being in places and at times when bears might be the most active. Keep your head on a swivel, make your presence known, and enjoy your day of fishing.
LIVINGSTON AND THE SHOP
Dan Bailey’s is your one-stop-shop for all your outdoor activities in SW Montana this summer. Our fully stocked fly shop can get you outfitted with the gear and flies you need, as well as the knowledge on where to go. We’ve got everything for biking, hiking, fishing, camping, and much more.
Our lovely town and backyard area have so much to offer everyone this time of year. Live music, farmer’s markets, beautiful scenery, great food and drink, and so much more. Come see for yourself!
Walleye fishing in Lake Helena and from the Causeway to Black Sandy continues to be good while trolling bottom bouncers with walleye spinners and a leech or slip bobber fishing with leeches in shallow water during the evening hours. A few nice perch are being picked up while searching for walleyes. Rainbow fishing has been slow, but a few are being caught while using crawlers and marshmallows below Canyon Ferry Dam and while trolling cowbells with wedding rings tipped with worm pieces from Black Sandy to York Bridge. Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena
With the recent weather change, the Bighorn fish are a little off their normal program, but overall fishing has been pretty good. The whole river has been steady, but the upper few miles has by far been the most consistent.
Black Caddis are around in the late afternoons into the evenings providing some great dry fly fishing. A few folks are catching fish on hoppers still, but it’s not super consistent. We’re seeing some Tricos showing up in spots, so could be a sign of things to come. It doesn’t look like the PMD’s are going to happen this year after our high water event, but who knows..
Fishing subsurface with Carpet Bugs, Orange Scuds, Frenchies, Poodle Sniffers and a variety of Perdigons has been productive, especially in the morning hours.
It’s our peak Summer window right now and it’s very busy out there so please respect other anglers’ spaces!
Hebgen Lake Fishing Report via Montana Fishing Addicts 2.0 (August 7, 2023)
D.H.: Trico, calibeatis, caddis for rising fish, pheasant tails, leeches and midge larva if no rising fish. Shallow areas will be really warm so best time fish early in the morning
J.M.: I was there, last Monday, Tuesday, and for a morning Troll, Wednesday. Morning bite was slow. We hit the water again around 430. They really liked the panther Martin, black with yellow dots, brass on the inside. We stayed close to Rainbow point bay. That’s where we were getting the most action. Close to the cabins. We tried several different cowbells as well. My buddy was there til Sunday. They went to quake and did well. The fish caught on hebgen were all nice. Ranging from 2 1/2 to 4 pounds. I used an ultra lite. That way, I could feel the action of the lure. If you picked up grass, you would lose action. Of course, you’re not going to catch any fish, either
The weather has cooled off but the fishing is HOT!
Hebgen: Fishing is good on the lake currently, but the weather at the moment may make things tricky. Anglers are catching fish all over the lake, focus your efforts on glassier, less windy areas. Callibaetis season is here, look out for gulpers cruising around shallow. Hanging/stripping leeches and nymphs has also been productive (more so now with the cold front that moved in).
Flies: #8 Black or Olive Simi Seal Leech, #6 Flash-a-Bugger, #6 Olive or Black Hot Bead Leech, #8 Thin Mint, #18 BBQ Baetis, #14-16 Turkey Callibaetis, #12 O.S. Buzzer, #16 Found Link Callibaetis, #16 Purple Missing Link
Inflow to Hebgen Lake: 1161 cfs
Hebgen Lake Outflow: 1030 cfs
Kirby Flows: 1150 cfs
** Flows as of 8 am August 6th, 2023 **
Upper Madison: Nymphing a two fly set up will still (as always) be your most productive method right now, think smaller if you’re nymphing (#16 and smaller). Fish are actively feeding on PMD’s, BWO’s, Epeorus mayflies, and small chubbies. Attractors are fishing well additionally. Terrestrials like hoppers, beetles, and ants are also beginning to fish well.
Flies: #16-18 Redneck, #16-18 Guide Dip, #16 PMD Split Case #16-18 PMD Loop-Wing, #14 Olive Hot Spot, #18 BWO Comparadun, #16 Purple Parachute, #16 Pink or Tan Chili-Dog, #14 Butch Sally, #16 Klinkhammer PMD, #6 Black Hot Bead Leech, #4 Olive/White Barely Legal
The Yellowstone river and its tributaries are open and fishing great!
Madison near West Yellowstone: 539 cfs
Yellowstone below Yellowstone Lake : 2260 cfs
Gibbon: 278 cfs
Gallatin near Big Sky: 645 cfs
** Flows as of 8 am August 6th 2023 **
Gallatin: The Gallatin is low, clear, and cold, it will be stained a bit following the recent rains. Fish are hesitant to look up, but are rising in the evenings on BWO’s and Epeorus. Hopper droppers have been fishing well Ants are beginning to fish very well with other terrestrials soon to follow.
Flies: #16-18 Shop Vac, #16-18 Green Lightning Bug, #16-18 Black Krystal Dip, #18 ICU Midge, #18 Split Case PMD, #18 Parachute Adams, #18 Tilt Wing BWO, #16 Rocky Mtn Mint PMD, #18 Baetis Cripple, #14 Royal Stimulator, #16 Arrick’s Ant
Madison/Firehole/Gibbon: The Firehole is too warm to ethically fish. The Madison in the park has been slow. If you do choose to fish the Madison, try to get off the water by 11am/12pm. The Gibbon is still cool and fishing well. Try dries in the mornings and soft hackles during the mid-day lull.
Flies: #8-10 Partridge and Orange, #8-10 Partridge and Pheasant Tail, #14 Prince Nymph, #16-18 Frenchie, #14 Diving Caddis, #18-20 Parachute BWO, #18-20 Griffith’s Gnat, #16 Rocky Mtn Mint PMD, #16 Royal Stimulator, #14 Larimer’s Yellow Sally
Yellowstone/NE Corner: The Yellowstone is low and clear enough to begin fishing well. Hunt around for rising cutties when you see bugs flying. The Lamar is fishing great as well. Look for fish rising on Sallies, PMD’s and Drakes. Pink, purple, and red chubbies, as well as other terrestrials like will also fish well.
Flies: #18-20 Parachute BWO, #18-20 Sprout Baetis, #16 Rocky Mtn Mint PMD, #16 Butch Sally, #16 Tilt Wing PMD, #14 pink/purp/red Chubby Chernobyl, #6 Black Hot Bead Leech, #6 Olive Slump-Buster, #6 Olive/Black Crystal Bugger
We are still booking float, & walk/wade trips for the 2023 season. Give us a call if you have any questions or are looking to book a guided trip.