This is the time of the summer when anglers suddenly notice that the days really are getting shorter. While evening fishing earlier in the summer often meant staying on the water until 10 pm or later, and arriving home close to midnight, it suddenly seems as though the evening fishing ends early, by 8:00 or 8:30 pm. The more civil fishing hours also extend to the morning, since it’s no longer necessary to arise at 4 am to enjoy fishing before sunrise, as daylight does not arrive until after 6:00 am.
Although the shorter days and longer nights may cut into your fishing time a bit, they have a very positive impact on the fishing, since the shorter days mean that there is now more than two fewer hours of sunlight on the water each day. That translates to the water warming less during the day, and also to having a longer period during the cool nights to release some of the heat back to the atmosphere. Cooler water temperatures during this time of year makes for better fishing, so enjoy the light, but don’t curse the darkness either.
Some of the best bets for this week:
Bighorn River – Fishing on the Bighorn remains steady, is it has been for most of the summer. An evening hatch of black caddis offers good fishing in slightly less crowded conditions, but afternoon nymph and hopper fishing remains excellent also.
Fort Peck Lake – Fishing remains spotty for walleyes and northern pike. Lake trout fishing near the dam has been ok, but a good salmon bite has not yet materialized.
Hebgen Lake – Those picky, cruising fish are still there, offering a nice change of pace from fishing the moving waters.
Madison River – The upper river has provided the coolest water temperatures and best fishing, with terrestrial patterns still the best option.
Upper Missouri River – The trico hatch has been decent, but spotty. Hoppers and droppers are a more consistent option for afternoon fishing.
Mountain Lakes – Snow will soon be dusting the peaks, so lace up your boots and get into the lakes before it’s too late. Even though they may be up high, hoppers are still a great pattern for these fish, which are often not as picky as their brethren down in the lower valleys.
Rock Creek – Cooler water temperatures and stable flows have made for good fishing lately. Don’t forget to trail a dropper fly off the back of your dry fly rig.
Stillwater River – This smaller stream near Columbus has been fishing well, and is worth a visit. Lower flows allow for good wade fishing, and nymphing the pocket water has been productive.
Tiber Reservoir – Walleye fishing has slowed, but fish are still being found in deeper water.
Yellowstone River – Terrestrial patterns have been productive in between rainstorms, when mud has made fishing difficult.
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.