An August to remember on the rivers
On the rivers and streams, it could be an August to remember. The big – and late – snowmelt in many parts of trout country have the rivers dropping and clearing. Waters are still cool enough for fish to be active. Flows are in the comfort range for trout to go on a late summer feeding spree.
The must-have fly patterns these days are assorted high-floating, low-floating and even sinking grasshoppers. The hopper bite is turning on all across the state. Pack some caddis imitations along, too. And for the early mornings before the real hoppers start flying, bring along some streamers and nymphs.
Trout and walleyes are heading deeper in search of cooler waters. Fish are getting tough to find and tougher to catch. But smallmouth and largemouth bass, perch and northern pike are hitting well.
For the big, big water fishermen, the lake whitefish bite on Flathead Lake is still just starting and a handful of Chinook salmon have been caught on Fort Peck so far.
In short, August is shaping up to be a great month for fishing.
Bighorn Lake: Smallmouth bass action is improving. Walleyes are being caught on worm harnesses and minnows.
Bighorn River: There’s a lot of moss floating down the river. The upper three miles isn’t too bad. The hopper bite has started and it’s very good.
Bitterroot River: Fishing is good with dry fly action all day long with hoppers, PMD’s, ants and caddis.
Canyon Ferry Reservoir: The most consistent bite on Canyon Ferry has been mosquitoes. Rainbow fishing has been fair around White Earth trolling leaded line with spoons 25-35 feet deep. Anglers continue to catch small walleye on bottom bouncers off the south dikes.
Clark Fork: Daytime hatches have been sporadic but hoppers are providing some daytime fishing and there’s a decent evening bite on caddis.
Flathead Lake: The lake whitefish bite is still developing. Sometimes, you get into them in good numbers. Sometimes you don’t. Lake trout fishing has been good.
Fort Peck Reservoir: Dam area: Walleyes are from 5 to 35 feet and all depths in between. Lindy rigs, bottom bouncers and leaded line with crankbaits are the tactics off main lake points. A handful of salmon have been caught along with quite a few lake trout.
Gallatin River: The river continues to drop and clear with attractor patterns working in the canyon and fish starting to look up for grasshoppers.
Kootenai River: For dry fly fishermen, hopper patterns are the fly of choice in the afternoons and evenings. Streamers are a good bet during the morning.
Lake Frances: Walleyes are deep and getting tougher to find and catch. Action on northern pike and perch is decent.
Madison River: It’s fishing very well with golden stones, sallies, caddis, PMD’s and even some tricos working. In the morning, use nymph, sculpin or rubberleg patterns.
Hauser Reservoir: Rainbow fishing is fair with a few being caught from shore below Canyon Ferry Dam on worms and marshmallows. Walleye fishing is good in the Causeway while using chartreuse jigs tipped with a worm or leech in 10 to 15 feet of water.
Holter Reservoir: Some nice rainbows are still being caught early morning or late evening while trolling cowbells tipped with a crawler around Split Rock and the Oxbow. Walleye action is good throughout the reservoir, but most are small.
Missouri River: Below Holter: Some PMD’s, caddis and tricos are on the water. Hopper action is starting.
Rock Creek: Beadhead nymphs are producing well during the day and there’s good caddis fishing in the evening.
Tiber Reservoir: Walleyes are heading deeper with the rising water temperatures. Lindy rigs or bottom bouncers with a bead and single hook baited with a leech or nightcrawler has been working.
Yellowstone River: Upper: There is still a lot of water moving downriver but big nymphs, sculpins and rubberleg patterns are working well to take trout.