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 June resulting in flows dropping earlier than average. Water temperatures tend to have a 6 to 10 degree swing over the course of each day. Generally coldest water temps are found at about 8am while warmest water temps tend to peak between 6 to 8pm. Many rivers are under hoot owl restrictions that protect fish from elevated water temps in the afternoon (no fishing between 2pm and midnight). Be prepared to fish early and be off the water by lunch time on many Montana rivers this summer.
Hatches are now waning on most rivers. The exception is the nocturnal golden stones which are a flightless stonefly with stubby wings. You will find them skittering around just after dawn. Trout focus both on the adults and the nymphs. Trico mayflies are also important on some water such as the Missouri and larger lakes such as Ennis Lake and Hebgen. Callibaetis mayflies also hatch in abundance on lakes in August.
Outside of the aquatic insects listed above, we are now entering "terrestrial season". Hoppers and ants are garnering attention and are a favorite of trout of all shapes and sizes.