Montana Fishing Report Overview
Rivers in Southwest Montana continue to be productive and cooler weather and frequent rains have kept fishing good throughout the day. Hotter than average days can produce slow afternoon fishing but on the days when cooler weather has prevailed fishing has been good late into the afternoon. With the exception of the tricos most of the aquatic hatches are on hold and terrestrials are now running the show. As water levels drop trout become more concentrated and the days of blindly floating down the river randomly catching trout are over. In August you need to have laser sharp focus and target the holding water and skip the rest.
So what is producing right now? The Upper Madison has been lights out all season and continues to be very consistent with good flows and water temps. The best fishing is definitely in the morning and as the day progresses the bight slowly tapers off. The dry fly fishing has been OK in the morning with spruce moths on the upper river early but the hopper fishing hasn’t taken off yet. The nymphing has been very, very good and the trout are moving and are opportunistic. We have been mostly fishing a big small combo with either a stonefly or streamer on top trailed by small size 20 attractor nymphs behind. Fluorocarbon tippet is a must and dropping down to 4 and 5x can pay off on some days. Trout are moving into heavy water and around rocks and most of the flat riffles are not as productive as they were at higher flows.
The Yellowstone has been productive as well but some slow days are definitely been creeping in. The Lower River has had some good hopper action; some days have been brilliant and other days really tough. The Town stretch has been producing consistent nymphing action. The Upper River has been the most consistent for tossing dries with trout looking for hoppers and smaller terrestrials. On the hot days the fishing has been slowing in the early afternoon.
Other cold rivers like the Boulder and Gallatin continue to produce good wade fishing. The cold water temps keep the trout vigorous even on the hottest of days. The gin clear water requires longer leaders and stealth. Trout are in shallow riffles when feeding and are looking for terrestrials, smaller is better. Small size 20 nymphs on 5x fluorocarbon are also producing.
Another favorite of ours is the spring creeks. Although they produce VERY challenging fishing in August, the water is nice and cold and the trout are very frisky. You can always find some rising trout sipping on small terrestrials and if you like a challenge they are a great place to spend the day.
Finally, tricos are on in full force on many rivers and where the hatch is strong enough such as the Missouri, East Gallatin, Hebgen Lake and Ennis Lake you can have a great time sight casting over rising trout. On the lakes the callibaetis is also producing big surface eats to cruising trout.