This is a brief synopsis of fishing conditions and reports from select waters across the state. For more detailed information, contact a fly shop, bait store, or boat marina for the particular water.
There are a few common strategies used by anglers to find success during the mid-summer weeks of Montana’s fishing season. Stream anglers should carefully study the hatches, and pay close attention to the insects that they see on the water, since the insects hatching have changed dramatically since the cooler days of early spring. Fish will not be found in the same places where they were earlier in the season, since low water levels have changed the rivers entirely. Stretches of the river that were a fast, deep run, may now be a shallow riffle, and deep pools and holes may now be slow backwater areas. Successfully adjusting to the changes in the rivers is what makes Montana fishing such a challenge, and catching those fish so rewarding. Have fun!
Some of the best fishing bets right now:
Big Spring Creek – Heavy evening caddis hatches make this a prime time to get on the creek.
Flathead Lake – If weather cooperates and the (lack of) wind allows anglers to get out, this can be a great time to fish the lake. Lake trout action can be excellent, especially in deeper water, and anglers are beginning to target whitefish.
Fort Peck Reservoir – Walleyes have begun to disperse, but good catches can still be made fishing deep. Anglers are also spending time fishing for lake trout in deeper water, and eagerly awaiting salmon action to begin near the dam.
Gallatin River – Good hatches early and late in the day of both mayflies and caddis.
Upper Missouri River – Water temperatures are climbing, but flows from Holter dam have stabilized. The morning trico hatch is going strong, and fishing is good; mid-day nymphing can also be productive.
Mountain Lakes – Just entering the prime season for fishing the mountain lakes. Grab a rod and box of lures or flies, and put your hiking boots to good use. Don’t forget a camera to capture the stunning scenery.
Nelson Reservoir – Has provided excellent fishing for most of the season, and this week is no exception. Walleye and northern pike are both good bets.
Stillwater River – Now would be a great time to give this fishery a try. Good hatches on the upper reaches are providing good fishing with dries and nymphs, while larger dries, hoppers and streamers are the ticket on the lower river.
Yellowstone River – Hoppertime has arrived on the Yellowstone. Drift a big hopper pattern close to the bank, add a small nymph as a dropper fly, and hang on.