Montana Fishing Reports

We are now in mid summer fishing mode here in Southwest Montana. We have had several early heat waves that have resulted in an early runoff and rivers are lower than average for this time of year. With lower levels some of the larger rivers experience elevated water temps in the late afternoon and are under "hoot owl" restrictions to encourage anglers to get on and off early. A few fisheries that have extensive irrigation draws are also closed to protect trout. There is still good fishing to be had but be as a general rule it is a good idea to head out just after dawn and then wrap up in early afternoon to avoid stressing trout during the warmest water temps which tend to occur between 6 and 8pm. Make sure to pay attention to current fishing restrictions on the FWP website. Spring creeks and higher elevation mountain streams still have plenty of cold water. For the bigger valley rivers the best water temps are found in the mornings and early afternoons. Hatches are now waning with the exception of tricos on some waters and callibaetis mayflies on the lakes. Nocturnal golden stones are also out and about in early mornings. Trout are now focusing on terrestrials such as ants and hoppers as well.

Southwest Montana Fishing Reports Overview

- Good
Montana fishing reports
Mid July Fishing Report Flows are lower than average and it is important to get out early and off early on lower elevation valley rivers. Make sure to pay attention to specific river "Hoot Owl" restrictions as many have already gone into summer patterns. We have had a warmer than average May and...Read more

Yellowstone River Fishing Report

- Very Good
Yellowstone River Montana
Current Conditions ***Hoot owl restrictions for portions of the Yellowstone River Hwy 212 Bridge in Laurel to Yellowstone National Park boundary, fishing must occur between midnight and 2pm*** The Yellowstone has dropped significantly over the past weeks. The early summer heat waves resulted in an...Read more

Upper Madison River Fishing Report

- Very Good
Madison River Montana
Current Conditions: ***Hoot owl restrictions for the entire reach of the Madison River from the mouth to the boundary with Yellowstone National Park - all fishing must occur between mid night and 2pm to protect trout from warm late day water temperatures*** The Upper continues to be one of the best...Read more

Lower Madison River Fishing Report

- Poor
Lower Madison River
Current Conditions: The Lower is officially in "Hoot Owl" restrictions. This means all fishing has to cease at 2pm. If you do go to the Lower Madison check water temperatures first. Often water temps in mid summer are too warm even very early in the day. If there is a cold spell it can be great,...Read more

Gallatin River Fishing Report

- Good
Gallatin River Montana
Current Conditions: ***A full fishing closure for portions of the Gallatin River from the mouth to Hwy 84 Crossing*** The higher sections of the Gallatin have cool waters and are fishing well. Once the river exits the canyon it warms fast and water levels drop due to irrigation pulls. Due to low...Read more

Montana Spring Creeks Fishing Report

- Very Good
Montana spring creeks fishing report
Current Conditions: The spring creeks are still productive. PMD’s are still coming off although a bit sporadic now. The strongest hatches are on the O’hair Ranch on Armstrong. On Depuy the hatch is spottier and on some runs you only see a few and on others it is still strong. Terrestrial fishing is...Read more

Stillwater River Fishing Report

- Good
Stillwater River
Current Conditions: ***Hoot owl restrictions for portions of the Stillwater River from the confluence with Yellowstone River to Absaroka Fishing Access Site - *** The Stillwater River is a nice option right now and is producing good dry fly opportunities. The river is low and is best wade fished...Read more

Boulder River Fishing Report

- Good
Boulder River Montana
Current Conditions: The Boulder is low but fishing well. It is best waded right now so leave the raft at home. On hot days go early and wrap up early if water temps are elevated. Aquatic hatches are waning so trout are opportunistic. Small attractor dry flies, smaller bead head nymphs, ants and...Read more

Jefferson River Fishing Report

- Fair
Jefferson River Montana
Current Conditions: ***A full fishing closure for the entire Jefferson River*** Long Term Fishing Forecast: The Jefferson will likely run low and warm this summer and other fisheries will likely be a better bet when the dog days arrive. By mid September irrigation draws end and water levels should...Read more

East Gallatin River Fishing Report

- Fair
East Gallatin River
Current Conditions: A full fishing closure is in effect from Penwell Bridge down to the mouth and then "hoot owl" restrictions above Penwell Bridge. These restrictions are due to lower than average water levels to protect the fish. Tricos are the main hatch and can be strong in the mornings. Fish...Read more

Missouri River Fishing Report

- Good
Missouri River Montana
Current Conditions: ***Hoot owl restrictions for portions of the Missouri River from Town of Cascade Boat Ramp to Holter Dam. Fishing must be done between midnight and 2pm to protect trout from warmer late day water temperatures*** The Missouri near Craig and Wolf creek is producing some daily...Read more

Ruby River Fishing Report

- Good
Ruby River
Current Conditions: ***A full fishing closure is in effect from the Duncan District Road crossing to the confluence with the Beaverhead River due to low flows below the irrigation draws. The Ruby is still a nice option up near the dam. Aquatic hatches have wound down so focus on terrestrials and...Read more

Montana Lakes Fishing Report

- Very Good
Montana Ranch Lakes
Current Conditions: The smaller private ranch are still producing some great fishing. Sight casting small nymphs or dries in the morning has been productive along with slow stripping damsel flies. In the afternoons beating the banks with hoppers can produce some explosive takes. Pay attention to...Read more

Small Streams Fishing Report

- Very Good
Small stream fishing Montana
Current Conditions: The smaller streams around Montana is hit or miss. Lower elevation streams that have some irrigation pulls can get dewatered on low water years. Mountain streams are often fishing extremely well and also offer some cooler surroundings. Attractor dries with a dropper should be...Read more