Montana Fishing Report Overview
With the fall spawn either in full swing or starting to wain depending on the location please watch your step, don’t tread on the redds. It is not recommended to target fish on the redds either, let them do their thing to ensure the next generation of trout for us to chase.
With that being said some great fishing is still yet to be had before the depths of winter settle in. Most likely you can have the river to yourselves as mostly only local anglers are left on the water and even then a good portion of them are out chasing 4 legged creatures to fill the freezer. Big rivers and chasing bigger than average trout is the game this time of year. If there was any time to swing for the fences now is the time. Don’t expect huge numbers but it could happen on the right day. Small streams are low, clear and cold. Lakes have been exited by the fish headed into the rivers for the fall spawn. By and large the program will be nymphing as well as some streamer action. If you get the right day some dry fly action can be had.
On November 30th area streams and a few select river sections close until the third Saturday in May. So please check the current regs before you go.
Baetis & Midges when conditions are right. Warmer cloudier days could bring on the dries. The go to will be nymphing, with some decent streamer/swinging action.
With the spawn going fishing eggs that get flushed from the redds is highly productive, as are worms, and leeches. With the onset of winter the fish will take advantage of the still somewhat warmer water temps and feed heavily at times to get that last bit of bulk on before they go into maintenance mode. So fish your largish attractor nymphs like sculpins, rubber legs, worms, leeches, eggs, crayfish, etc. with confidence. But don’t forget about the small bugs like baetis and midges.
Reading the water
Water flows can be up slightly with the seasonal precipitation and irrigation no longer taking place. Check your water temps as it can vary from location to location by quite a lot depending on where the water is coming from, ie. the high country, a dam, low elevation spring creek, etc. this can help you determine the most likely place the fish will be holding. It can be a transitional time from the faster currents, to the softer lies, and finally into the slow deep runs where they will remain for the winter. This can change throughout the day as air temps swing as well. Where the fish are holding is the most important aspect of fishing this time of year and into winter.