Statewide MT Fishing Report Compilation 5.28.24
By angelamontana

Posted: May 28, 2024

Before diving into the fishing report, check out this article that explains the difference between anglers and fishermen.

Please check the fishing regulations before fishing.

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Jefferson River Fishing info by Fins and Feathers (May 28, 2024)

The Jefferson River in Montana is a beautiful, Cottonwood-lined stream that is often overlooked due to lower fish populations. Only a half hour from Bozeman, MT, and home to some of the larger trout in the area, this river has certain windows through the year where the angling can be good, typically spring and fall. The Jefferson River is a good option during the spring as long as it isn’t too dirty.

The river is coming up in flows and a bit off color.

It is pretty typical to only hook into a handful of trout on the Jefferson and anglers can normally expect it to be pretty tough as the river is deep and the fish can be spread out. The fish here hold deep and become lethargic, not moving far for their food. When the weather warms, you can find some decent fishing, it is normally due to being in the right place at the right time. The Lewis & Clark Canyon near Cardwell, MT, provides some of the better fishing with the Boulder and South Boulder rivers entering on this stretch. If you are in the area, it is worth fly fishing with nymphs or streamers. Effective patterns include San Juan worms, Zebra Midge Larvae, and Zirdles, fished under an indicator.

The river is open of ice and slush at the moment but is a bit off-color from all of the low-elevation snow melting. Look at some of our other Montana Fishing Reports to see how other areas are producing.

Hell Creek General Recreation Information (May 28, 2024)

Click here: www.HellCreekRecreation.com  CLICK HERE for Hell Creek webcam.

Gallatin River Fishing Report via Fins and Feathers (May 28, 2024)

Fly fishing Montana’s Gallatin River is one of the best options throughout the spring season. Being the closest blue-ribbon stream to Bozeman, MT, the Gallatin River offers many Montana anglers year-long fishing opportunities.

The river is still fairly off-color but it looks to be on the drop and it is already looking better through the canyon. This will be an option for anglers this week. Try fishing dark colored stonefly nymphs and worms for the best success.

Fly fishing has been best from Cameron Bridge FAS to Big Sky, MT, and the Canyon stretch provides good protection from windy conditions. Wild Montana fish are most actively feeding mid-day, when the Sun is at its highest points so no need to get up too early. It is a good idea to contact a local Bozeman fly shop for the most current info regarding stream conditions.

Using nymph imitations throughout the Gallatin Canyon towards Big Sky, MT is the most effective method of angling. Anglers are finding success using Montana staples like the Prince Nymph, Pat’s Rubberleg, or Copper Johns. Drive south out of Gallatin Gateway, MT, and look for turnouts that provide easy access to water that is deep and moves slowly, these areas are stacked with wild Rainbow and Brown Trout right now. Be extra careful when wading around these large boulders especially when there is snow. Our Bozeman, MT fly fishing guides have found that purple worm patterns and black stoneflies have been greatly effective.

Fly fishing with streamers has been decent, especially on low-light days. Small olive or black patterns like a McCune’s Sculpin or a Crystal Bugger are getting attention.

Fly fishing Yellowstone Park is closed for the season so make sure you are outside of park boundaries if you head this way. It is always a good idea to stop by fly shops in Bozeman, MT for some info and flies before heading out on the water.

You can get an idea of the water conditions in the Big Sky area by viewing this webcam, hosted by our friends at Montana Whitewater.

Yellowstone River Fishing Report by Bozeman Fly Supply (May 25, 2024)

Early spring is go time on the Yellowstone but as we warm and get moisture the water has and will continue to pick up color. Streamer fishing can move some really big fish this time of the year so don’t be afraid to go big with a Sluggo, Dragon, Dungeon or a Hum Dinger. Nymph rigs are a consistent way to boat some fish as well, worms, zirdles, hares ears, and flashy euro nymphs are our spring favorites on the Yellowstone. On warmer overcast days watch for bugs and rising fish, this time of the year fishing Baetis, Midges, and Caddis flies should be good options.

*Pay attention to flows. Seasonal conditions can make wading unsafe so be cautious when heading to the river.*

Suggested Fly Patterns

  • Dry Fly

    Parachute Adams (16-20), Purple Haze (16-18), Griffiths Gnat (16-20), Buzz Ball (14-16), Corn fed Caddis (14-16), X-Caddis (14-16)

  • Streamer

    Woolly Bugger (4-12), Mini Dungeon Black/ Olive/ Natural (6), Montana Intruder (4), Sparkle Minnow JJ’s, Silver (4-8), Double Gonga Black/Rainbow (4), Sculpzilla Black/ White/ Natural (4-8)

  • Nymph

    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)

Georgetown Lake Fishing Report by Blackfoot River Outfitters (May 28, 2024)

3/5

Georgetown lake is finally open! (The South and East shore line is still closed until July 1st). The lake is also ice free and a little muddy. Look for fish in the shallows as they cruise the shore lines.

Here are a few tips for fly fishing Georgetown Lake:

1. A balanced leech stripped or under an indicator is the best method right now.
2. Small damsel patterns and chironomids are also effective.
3. Cover water and be methodical and you’ll catch fish!

Here are a few fly suggestions:

1. Black balanced leech

2. Damsel nymph

3. Maroon balanced leech

4. Ice cream cone head chironomid

Looking ahead:

This is one of the best times to be out on Georgetown! Get out there!

Southwest Montana Fishing Overview by Montana Angler (May 28, 2024)

We are officially in late spring and early summer mode here in southwest Montana. That means our tailwater fisheries like the Upper Madison and Missouri Rivers and the Paradise Valley Spring Creeks are the go-to options for anglers for the next few weeks. The Yellowstone River is most likely in snowmelt runoff mode as our temps this week will remain high enough to push the river into runoff for good. With flows at 6000 CFS it is still a good flow for fishing, but with the warm temps early this week it may be high and muddy till mid or late June.

Hatches

On the Madison and Missouri caddis can hatch in abundance

Fly Selection

  • Pat’s Rubber Leg’s in sizes 8-16
  • Zirdles in sizes 8-16
  • Any beadhead rubber legged stonefly pattern in size 8-16
  • Beadhead PTs in sizes 14-18
  • Beadhead Hare’s Ear in size 14-18
  • Beadhead Rainbow Warrior in size 14-18
  • Any favorite scud, sowbug, or firebead in size 14-20
  • Caddis dry flies in sizes 12 to 16

For dry flies a selection of caddis patterns will be crucial. Crime scene caddis and Blooms Hi-Vis are great choices right now.

Streamers, whether stripped or dragged through deeper holes, can produce fish. Go with your favorite choice. Or, if you haven’t yet fished a Circus Peanut, Sparkle Minnow, or Sculpzilla, those are all good choices for this time of year.

Reading Water

During snowmelt runoff reading water is different than any other season in Montana because each river has their own habits. For example, trout on the Upper Madison often migrate closer to bankside structure while Missouri River trout often feed in large current seams that can be originating from bankside structure or midriver structure. On the Gallatin and Yellowstone Rivers, because these are feed by mountain snowpack and often will be too high and muddy to effectively fish.

Cooney State Park Information via FWP (May 28, 2024)

Missouri River Fly Fishing Report by Yellowdog Fly Fishing (May 28, 2024)

Flow Data: Missouri River below Holter Dam near Wolf Creek, MT

The Missouri is fishing well for the most part. Hit in miss in some areas on some days. The tributaries have cleared so everywhere is fishable once again. The weather in Craig is looking great for the next weed or so with some windy days thrown in the mix. March Browns and Caddis are getting fish in the canyon. March browns are on their way out for the season. Still plenty of BWO’s out and about. Fish have been on them well when it is cloudy. Scuds, sowbugs, worms and BWO nymphs are the aquatic bug imitations to use right now. PMD nymphs starting to work a bit as well. Tailwater Sowbugs, Pill Poppers, Olive Micro May’s, and Olive Two Bit Hooker are a few of our favorite Missouri Nymphs. A worm in wine or red will also trick MO fish this time of the year. Swinging can be a good option all winter long with small buggers or streamers. The streamer fishing has been picking up as well. Kreelex, Sparkle Minnows and Skiddish Smolts produce well in the Spring. PMD’s coming soon! Maybe next week with the current forecast.

Hell Creek Marina Fishing Report (May 14, 2024)

May 14 fishing report:
Walleye bite is picking up, still best west of Timber Creek. They’re starting to catch some walleye closer to the marina.
Northern bite is good up in the bays from Hell Creek going west.
Laker bite is still good, but the water is starting to warm up, so they will start going deeper soon.

Chancy and Dave’s Fish Camp Fishing Report (May 24, 2024)

🇺🇸🇺🇸 Memorial Day Fishing Report 🇺🇸🇺🇸
🔹 Rodgers Lake- Excellent grayling fishing, try small jigs under bobber or small spinners. Flies- try small leech patterns.
♦️ Middle Thompson- Good numbers of salmon early mornings trolling the surface with small flasher and wedding rings.
🔹 Lower Thompson- Great bass, pike and perch fishing.
♦️ Echo Lake- Good bass fishing, try bays for bed fish, few big pike.
🔹 Flathead River Slough- doing well for pike and bass.
♦️ Flathead Lake- Trolling scatter raps near surface west shore area, delta also. Try the south end for nice bass and perch, west side Polson Bay.
🔹 Lower Stillwater- Goid perch action above islands, try live leeches.
♦️ Swan Lake- Pike hitting well south end , dead bait or big swimbaits.
🔹 Ashley Lake- Salmon action picking up along west shore, look for big perch too.

Flathead Valley Fishing Report by Snappy’s Sport Senter (May 24, 2024)

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A Store Like No Other, Since 1947.

    • Flathead Lake – Trolling for lakers has been good with Rapala Scatter Raps up shallow. Warrior Spoons, jigging in about 70-80 off the delta has been good as well.
    • Echo Lake – Smallmouth are biting well using soft plastics. A few Largemouth showing up around docks as well.
    • Lake Koocanusa – Still a few Kokanee being caught by Rexford. Bull trout fishing has been good in 40′-60′ using flatfish.
    • Church Slough – Pike are biting well using dead bait or spinners. A few pan fish showing up too.
    • Thompson Lakes – A few pike have been caught around fallen trees. Reports of lots of perch biting on small jigs.
    • Flathead River – Flows are leveling around 16000 cfs and water clarity is getting better. Be careful if you are going to try to hit the river.
    • Swan Lake – Still picking up some pike around the inlet and south end; try using cranks or jerk baits.
    • Murray Lake – A few rainbows being picked up off the shore. Try using small spoons or Powerbait to increase your odds.

Smith Lake – Small pike are still biting with dead bait and spinnerbaits being the best options.

Bozeman Fishing Reports by Fins and Feathers (May 28, 2024)

The weather this spring has allowed for some decent fishing opportunities when local rivers are on the drop. This is all unpredictable but for now, enjoy the cooler weather slowing our runoff, it will only help us further into the summer.

The Madison River fishing has been solid near Three Dollar Bridge and Raynolds Bridge FAS, about 40 minutes south of Ennis, MT. Using nymphs like Pat’s Rubberlegs, San Juan Worms, Spanish Bullets, and Zebra Midges have been hot sub-surface. The dry fly fishing is getting better each day with the emergence of the Mother’s Day Caddis hatch.

Missouri River fishing has been really good near Holter Dam, near Craig, MT. This area provides a healthy population of Rainbow and Brown trout that feed on sowbugs, scuds, midges, and small mayflies. Our Bozeman fly fishing guides say that pink and red are the best colors.

The Gallatin River fly fishing has been good through the Canyon, north of Big Sky, MT. This national forest area provides a lot of access to deep holes and slow-moving runs where trout will hold. Stoneflies, worms, and Midges are the golden ticket when fishing the Gallatin River. The river has a nice color to it through the canyon with a few feet of visibility, this is a good option when trying to avoid the wind.

Yellowstone River fishing is getting better every day as temperatures warm. The flows have dropped and the river is in a good condition to fish before our runoff prevails. Find a day with low wind and head over to the Yellowstone River near Livingston, MT. Fishing with nymphs that imitate Stoneflies, Midge Larvae, and Caddis are effective. This is a good time to fish with streamers as well, smaller sculpin imitations can catch some larger trout.

Kootenai River Fishing Report by Linehan Outfitting (May 26, 2024)

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

Barry’s Landing Update May 28, 2024

Dank murky water from runoff and I’ve heard it’s slow like usual this time of year there.

5/23/24 – The spring creeks of Paradise Valley are a great option this time of year. With flows in the freestones rising, the spring creeks can be some of the most consistent fishing in the area. As the air temps begin to rise we’ll start to see more bug activity in the form of PMDs with BWOs mixed in the cloudy days. Fishing smaller flies is key.

GO-TO FLIES:

Tilt Wing PMD #18
Barrs Emerger BWO #20
Tung Wonder Nymph PMD #16
Jig Slum Lord Black #6
OG Bent Cripple PMD #16

Bighorn River Fishing Report via Yellow Dog Fly Fishing (May 28, 2024)

Flow Data: Bighorn River near St. Xaiver, MT

The Bighorn is fishing well and should get even better this week with the warm weather. The water is coming up again which will likely slow the dry fly action. Nymphing is the best and most consistent option and has been really good some days but slow the next. Sounds like fishing in May. There have been a few BWO’s and midges hatching and fish slurping them down on the surface when it is calm and cloudy. Fish have been picky so a good first drift is imperative. Flies to use to trick these risers include but are not limited to the Quill Gordon BWO and BWO CDC Biot Comparadun. In the event that you find fish rising to midges a Peacock Cluster or Griffith’s Gnat will fool a consistently rising fish with a good cast and presentation. Scuds, sowbugs, worms, and midges are Bighorn spring fare to imitate. Ray Charles, Pill Poppers, Tailwater sowbugs are great choices followed by a Manhattan midge or Zebra Midge. BWO or midge nymphs are working well when the tailwater cuisine mentioned above is not. You can nearly always count on a Wire Worm or a Squirmy Worm to trick a few trout. Small streamers swung or fished deep and slow can pick up fish as well. Streamer fishing has been relatively slow overall.

Upper Madison River Fishing Report by River’s Edge (May 23, 2024)

5/23/24 – 1410 CFS @ Kirby. The Upper Madison has a bit of color to it but is still fishing well. Girdles, rubberlegs, and worms have been favorites as of late. Don’t be afraid to tie on something with a larger profile to stand out in the current water conditions. There are still some BWOs hangin around on the cloudier days so bring some dries!

GO-TO FLIES:

BH San Juan Worm Red #10
Jig BH Girdle Bug Black #18
RS2 Emerger Olive #18
Pat’s Rubberlegs Camo #8
BH Prince #12

Tongue River Reservoir State Park Update (May 1, 2024)

Park Updates 5-1-24:
The electric is now on at the campsites- all sites at Campers Point (CP1-40) and Pee Wee South (PWS1-41). The water samples need to be tested yet for spring start up, but should be available next week. The fish cleaning station will be available once the air temperatures stay above freezing at night. Same with the water at campers point and the dump station.
Lake temperature is 54 degrees at the CP dock. Water level is 3425.51′ or 87.1% capacity. Yes, you can get your boat into the frog pond area and your CP site.
Fishing is hit and miss. Seeing some walleye and bass.
All camping is first come, first serve until May 17th, cash or check self pay. Don’t forget the dump station is $5.00 to dump.
Remember to slow down (10 mph), dogs on leash, don’t drive on the grass, double sites cost double even if you only have 1 camper.
Marina is open Thursday through Sunday.
See you soon!

Headhunters Fly Shop Missouri River Fishing Forecast (May 27, 2024)

The Missouri River came up a bit. Off color off and on as the rains came back this past week and doused the region with add’l rain and in the high mountains late season snow. Rogers Pass, the Continental Divide, experienced a snow event we are still feeling.

Tributaries all with some color, an increase in flows, and debris coming throng the system. Logs,  brush, and suspended matter exited the feeders staining the waters for a period.

That is over. For the time being. We are reminded that Mother Nature has the cards and plays them as she wishes.

Dearborn at 500 cfs and holding. Little Prickley Pear about 200 cfs. Sheep Creek, Stickney Creek, Wagner Creek, Prewitt Creek, all running at spring levels. Cleaner than last week.

Bugs include caddis and BWO. Midges omnipresent. PMD on the docket for bugs ahead of us. The BWO will disappear as the summer mayflies and caddis develop. June is a great month of dry fly fishing. A great month for nymphing as well. The quality fishing reflected by the volume of traffic the month ahead.

The fishing has been tumultuous. We are graced by a terrific fishery with stable results. Even off days here are pretty good compared to other very good Montana resources. And, remember, that fishing does not always equate to fish in  the net. Nope. They are wild creatures.

Missouri River below Holter Dam flows are currently 5970 cfs. 500 cfs below historic averages. Toston inflows are 7000 cfs. 2500 cfs below historic averages. We don’t anticipate any higher flows this month. Unless it rains. And, June is our wettest month. We’ll let you know after it happens.

Evenings are best for the dry fly gang. Calming and equalizing of the wind(s). Traffic subsides. Peace is obtained again. On the sounds of sipping trout. Once wrote a poem, Sonnet of the Sipping Trout. Early 90’s.

Caddis below the Dearborn confluence all the way down hill. Some random mayfly action as well. Localized.

Memorial Day today. We remember all the who have died in the act of serving this nation. Thanks you ladies and gentlemen. Thank you. We remember today and every day.

June is jammed. July too. The last portion of July has some availability. Call Julie for any guide or lodging needs! 406-235-3447 ext. 1

Gallatin River Fishing Report by Montana Angler (May 28, 2024)

Current Conditions:

The Gallatin River near Big Sky and Bozeman has dropped and is hanging in there for fishing. We had some of our shop staff fish it off and on over the weekend for a few sessions and reports were good. The usual Gallatin River fare….Pat’s Rubberlegs with something flahsy or red as the second fly.

Check our Lower Madison or Upper Madison or Missouri River report for some other options in the Bozeman and Yellowstone National Park area during snowmelt runoff.

The Month Ahead:

Runoff will start in earnest on the Gallatin very soon. But the Gallatin River often fishes through runoff. It is being safe that is the most important concern when the river runs high and cold.

Bighorn River Fishing Report via Fins and Feathers (May 28, 2024)

3/5

The Big Horn River near Fort Smith, MT, is some of the best fly fishing in the state. The tailwater provides an extremely healthy trout population that offers Montana anglers opportunities throughout the year and is a prime option during spring, as temperatures here are typically much milder versus the Bozeman area.

The Bighorn is fishing well, especially while wading. Some algae has been floating around as the flows have increased to 5k making it a bit more challenging for angling from a boat. Nymphing has been best with your typical springtime flies like an HB Ray Charles #16, tan Carpet Bugs, and pink Jellybeans fished about 5 ft under an indicator. PMD nymphs should start to become more of a focus for the fish as well.

Fly fishing with streamers has been hit or miss, mainly depending on the conditions. Some anglers are finding success with white or two-tone flies like a Barley Legal. Our Bozeman fly fishing guides have found that using a sinking tip line and making medium-length strips has been best.

Make sure you stop by some of the fly shops in Fort Smith, MT like the Bighorn Angler and the Bighorn Trout Shop to get the latest information and conditions regarding the river.

Spring Creeks Fishing Report via Yellow Dog Fly Fishing (May 28, 2024)

The Spring creeks have been fishing well and will be an excellent option around Livingston with the stone likely to blow out in the next few days. If the wind is low, expect to see fish rising to midges and BWO’s. A few March browns here and there along with some Caddis. PMD’s will be around in no wimt with the warm weather this week. If you find risers they will likely take a Peacock Cluster, Miracle Midge, or Griffith’s Gnat with a good drift and presentation. If these patterns are not working a Slick Midge or Smoke Jumper will be the answer. There are a few BWO’s on the water in the afternoons and a few fish rising to them. A 401k Baetis or Stealth Link have successfully tricked these picky Spring Creek trout. Small scuds, sowbugs, and midges work well under a dry fly or under an indicator this time of the year. Any midge nymph with a white or flashy wing such as the Manhattan Midge seems to get a but more attention than other patterns. BWO nymphs and emergers will be in play once again. Nymphing will be pretty consistent in the event that the trout do not want to cooperate and eat bugs from the surface.

Yellowstone River Fishing Report by Yellow Dog Fly Fishing (May 28, 2024)

*Flow Data: Yellowstone River near Livingston, MT

The Yellowstone is still hanging in there despite the recent precipitation and now warm weather. There is still roughly 2 feet of visibility and both nymphing and streamer fishing have been good. Nymphing will be the best option in any current break near the bank or slow moving inside bends. With the water still off color and high a large stonefly nymph, sculpin, or a worm will be the best nymph choices. You may still find fish rising in slow moving flats to March browns, caddis, or BWO’s. The number of rising fish has been pretty low with the current river conditions. Streamer fishing remains a strong option at the current flows. Fish tight to the banks with something dark like a black Sex Dungeon or an Ebony. As the water clears more a lighter colored fly will become a great option. Cold and wet weather today, nice tomorrow, wet all weekend. Some wind. Not bad.

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