This will be the last fishing report of the 2005 season, but that certainly doesn’t mean that the best of the fishing is over. Some of the year's best action happens in the fall, as lower water temperatures, shorter days, and the onset of winter brings out an aggressive nature in the fish. As more and more hunting seasons open, fewer and fewer anglers will be found on the water, so the next few months really are the time to experience solitude in the splendor of Montana’s lakes and streams. Soon the ice will be here, ushering in a fishing season and style of its own, but until then, set aside a few hours to get outside with family, friends, and a fishing rod. When the winter storms shake the windows of your house, you’ll look back and be glad you took that last fishing trip.
Some of the best bets for this week:
Bitterroot River – The bitterroot offers some good dry fly fishing in the fall, especially on cool, cloudy and calm days.
Blackfoot River – Fall is a great time to be on the Blackfoot dragging big streamers through the deep holes. Sink tip lines are a big help.
Canyon Ferry – Some bigger rainbows have been showing up, and typically later in fall provides good fishing before ice-up.
Clark Fork River – When rain and clouds hit Missoula, grab a rod and head for the river. This is a great spot for fall dry fly fishing.
Fort Peck Reservoir – Bass, walleye and pike action all can turn on in the fall. Don’t forget your binoculars to glass for elk and mule deer.
Kootenai River – This river offers one of the best chances for truly big fish in Montana. Dredge the bottom with flies and lures, and hang on.
Madison River – The lower river is often the place to be in the fall, with a sink tip line and streamer, or a spinning rod with a minnow plug or spinner.
Missouri River – The stretch below Holter Dam is home to some great hatches of blue-winged olive mayflies. You and the trout should be watching for them on cloudy, drizzly days in the fall.
Stillwater River – A good option for some fall nymph fishing action, and on the lower parts of the river the hopper fishing remains viable for a few more weeks.
Yellowstone River – The warm days will still provide some decent hopper and terrestrial fishing, but much of the best fishing now will happen with nymphs and streamers.
Yellowstone River (lower) – There is some great fishing in the fall for catfish, sturgeon, sauger, and other warm water species.
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.