The Fourth of July holiday is traditionally one of the best times of the year to fish in Montana. This year however, cooler weather and much-needed rainfall have slowed the transition from spring to summer fishing patterns.
In eastern Montana, action for walleyes has been improving on the larger reservoirs, and other warmwater fisheries will see increasing fish activity as waters continue to warm. Reservoir fishing in the central part of the state has been sporadic, with some days producing a good bite and others slow. Again, look for fishing to improve as water temperatures increase.
More cool, wet weather has kept streamflows high across the state lately. Many of Montana’s blue ribbon trout fisheries have seen increased flows, either from higher dam releases for tailwater fisheries, or the recent rains. Fishing is excellent on some, while on others the runoff has resulted in high, muddy water and unfishable conditions.
Some of the best fishing bets right now:
Bighorn River- flows have come up dramatically, and fishing has been excellent, especially with nymphs.
Fort Peck Reservoir- fishing has been excellent for lake trout, northern pike and walleyes.
Madison River- salmon flies should be out any day.
Nelson Reservoir- excellent fishing for northern pike and walleye.
Rock Creek (near Missoula)- a good option right now with a variety of hatches and good wading conditions.