When summer finally arrives in Montana there is still plenty of snow in the mountains. Warmer weather melts snow at a rapid rate during spring run off and many rivers become high, dirty and dangerous. Although some favorite rivers like the Yellowstone are toast during run off, there are still many great options that produce outstanding fishing in Montana.
Many of our guides feel that Montana spring creeks are at their best in May and June. Spring creeks flow crystal clear year round and are not affected by snow melt. Trout in the technical spring creeks have not been hammered too much this early in the year and they are not as wary as they will be in July and August. Weed beds are also at a minimum and allow for much easier nymph fishing than later in the summer. There are also some great hatches that occur during run off that include the blue winged olives in May and pale morning duns in June.
Reservoirs allow sediments to settle out allowing rivers to flow clear below dams. Fisheries like the Madison, Willow Creek, Bighorn and Missouri are outstanding in June. Some rivers like the Madison receive some sediment downstream of the dam from some incoming tributaries, but usually if you fish high enough, the fishing is still great even with 6-8" of visibility. Some sediment mixed in usually improves the chances of hooking the largest fish in the river and we catch some of the biggest trout of the year out of the Madison in June.
Private lakes on ranches require a rod fee but produce extremely exciting site casting to monstrous trout that are cruising the shallows and are at their peak during June before weedbeds and warming water temperatures slow things down. Most of these trophy fisheries have a great June callibaetis mayfly hatch that gets the large trout roaming and looking for emergers and duns. Spending a day making accurate casts to cruising trout over 20" is reminiscent of site fishing the flats for bonefish. Larger lakes like Harrison, Ennis and Hebgen also produce awesome fishing for large trout during June.