Montana Fishing Reports

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.

Fly selection
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.

Yellowstone River Fishing Report

- Good
Current Conditions: The Stone can be hit or miss. If you get light wind and cloud cover you should be in good shape. Streamer fishing can be good with a chance at some good fish. Change up your strip until you starting getting reactions. Nymphing the norm of stoneflies, worms, sculpins, eggs,...Read more

Upper Madison River Fishing Report

- Good
Current Conditions: The Upper is fishing well when the wind isn’t howling. The upper and lower stretches are producing the best results. Up high has been solid streamer fishing as well as nymphing big protein flies like stoneflies, worms, sculpins, and eggs. If you get a warmer overcast day the dry...Read more

Lower Madison River Fishing Report

- Very Good
Current Conditions: The lower is one of the best late fall/winter options around. It will fish very well especially on the warmer overcast days. Look for the buckets and deeper runs. Crayfish, sculpins, worms and eggs are the norm, with baetis and midges trailing. Streamer/swing fishing can be...Read more

Gallatin River Fishing Report

- Good
Current Conditions: With the cooler weather the water has cooled drastically. Nymphing is the producer now. Stoneflies are a major player from now thru into June, trailed with a baetis. Fish are starting to find their winter holds in the deep runs and slower seams. The browns are just now starting...Read more

Spring Creeks Fishing Report

- Good
Current Conditions: The spring creeks are in great form this time of year. With solid hatches of baetis and midges happening with the fish feeding in the deeper slower pools and tailouts. The right fly and most importantly a good drift will produce. These waters are always technical but the fish...Read more

Stillwater River Fishing Report

- Good
Current Conditions: The Stillwater drains from the high country so water temps drop fast. Decent fishing can still be had on the warmer days with some opportunity at baetis hatches under the right conditions. Nymphing and streamers will produce in the deep slow runs and seems. Some browns from the...Read more

Boulder River Fishing Report

- Good
Current Conditions: The Boulder is a fun fall fishery. Water levels are low and clear making it a beautiful destination. But that also makes the fish spooky so be sneaky with your approach. Water temps are cold so no need to be on the water until midday, some of the best fishing will be in the mid-...Read more

Jefferson River Fishing Report

- Fair
Current Conditions: We are in the tail end of the fall Jefferson fishing. Dries will be sparse. Browns are on the spawn and looking to finish up soon. But you can still get it done nymphing some larger offerings like sculpins and crayfish. Streamer fishing can still produce some large fish. The...Read more

East Gallatin River Fishing Report

- Good
Current Conditions: As the high country freezes the East will become more of a spring creek than anything. Fishing can be very solid throughout the fall here. Dry fly fishing over thick Baetis hatches can be amazing on warmer cloudy days. It can be quite technical so bring you’re “A” game. Nymphing...Read more

Missouri River Fishing Report

- Good
Current Conditions: Below Holter: With the cooling weather and water temps weeds will start to die off and get out of the way. Fishing will really be good for the next month or so. Dry fly fishing with baetis on cloudy days with no wind can be challenging but good. Nymphing will always produce good...Read more

Ruby River Fishing Report

- Good
Current Conditions: The Ruby is a great late fall and winter fishery. With plenty of trout to be had. Streamer fishing and nymphing will produce very well. Near the dam will hold the largest concentrations of fish. The flows will be down on this already small wade fishery so working the obvious...Read more

Montana Lakes Fishing Report

- Fair
Current Conditions: The larger lakes that have feeder rivers or streams will have less fish in them as they are or have moved up into the rivers or streams to spawn or follow the spawn. If it is a landlocked pond or lake the fishing should be very good as fish are feeling the cooler temps and try...Read more

Other Waters Fishing Report

- Fair
Current Conditions: The small streams are still fishing well in the midday and afternoons. Any small bead head or small bugger will produce. Water levels are low and clarity is excellent so be stealthy. The Month Ahead: Streams close for the season on Nov. 30 th for the season. They open back up on...Read more