Fall Fishing, Our Favorite Time of the Year!

In this newsletter:

  • Summer Overview
  • Fall Fishing—Our favorite time of the year!
  • Fishing Report

Summer Overview

It has been a while since we last published a newsletter—June 5th, to be exact. Our only excuse, which is a good one, is that we have been busy taking guests out on our waters every day.

Fishing has been fair to good this summer. August has been a difficult month with spotty fishing, especially with the terrestrials. Some better fishing has been on the wade-only sections of the Madison River from Raynolds Bridge FAS to Lyons Bridge FAS and from Ennis to Ennis Lake, most likely because it is seeing little to no pressure from anglers, especially if you are in a boat floating away from the Fishing Access Sites and getting out to fish. The section from 8 Mile FAS to Ennis Lake was put on Hoot Owl Restrictions on August 2nd but has been lifted since August 24th. Hoot Owl Restrictions mean that we cannot fish from 2 pm to midnight due to high water temperatures within that period. Those anglers that were willing to get up early and get on the water by 6 am and finish at 2 pm were rewarded with great fishing and no crowds of anglers.

Those anglers in the float sections of Madison River, from Lyons Bridge to the Highway 287 Bridge in Ennis, found August days challenging unless they were willing to stop and work the buckets holding fish. Those fish have seen every fly tied and are very wise, so it takes a few passes by their feeding lane with a few different options to get their attention or piss them off, depending on how you look at it.

For more information on the current state of Hoot Owl Restrictions, you can click HERE, or contact us; we will be happy to help.

We took some folks to Yellowstone National Park to do some fishing this summer. YNP attendance was down by 40% in August, which was nice for those who do not enjoy crowds of people. However, like anywhere in the Park, you could find some great fishing if you are willing to hike a distance away from any major roadway. Below are a few picks of some anglers we hiked and fished on the Yellowstone River, a true pinch-me moment for them and for us!

Yellowstone National Park Fly Fishing Trips Yellowstone National Park Cutthroat Trout Yellowstone River in Yellowstone National Park Couples fly fishing in Yellowstone National Park Yellowstone River in Yellowstone National Park

Lake fishing on Hebgen, Ennis, and Holter Lake has been good in August, often better than the rivers, and doesn’t have crowds. Sounds like a win in my book!

Fall fishing – Our favorite time of the year!

As we turn the corner into September, this means: 1) fewer crowds as kids return to school; 2) cooler water temperatures as the nighttime high’s cool down; 3) more water available to fish as Hoot Owl Restrictions are lifted, and 4) finally, the bigger-than-average browns are prompted to start their migration out of our reservoirs for their annual spawn in late October and November. And this is why September and October are our favorite times of the year to fish. It’s not too late if you are interested in the opportunity to chase a larger-than-average brown in the fall with us. We have available guides. We always recommend mid-September through October and will be happy to help with recommending accommodations based on where we think the best fishing will be during your scheduled fishing dates with us. You can book through our online store HERE.

Fishing Report

Madison River

Dam: 1010 cfs

Kirby: 1140 cfs

Cameron: 1290 cfs

Again, some better fishing has been in the walk-n-wade-only sections from Raynolds Bridge to Lyons Bridge and from Ennis to Ennis Lake, and this will continue. We can float these sections, but we must get out of the boat to fish. This is a huge advantage as it helps avoid crowded fishing access sites without trespassing to get to good water. As we make our way into mid-September, we will want to focus on the water from Varney Bridge to Ennis Lake to intercept the bigger browns migrating out of the lake to their spawning grounds. These browns typically start their spawn in late October. However, like all fish, there are some early spawners in mid-October. These browns are on the feed and are agitated. Overcast days will be best, but then again, our biggest brown (28″) in this section with a client was on October 4th, on a sunny day at high noon on a nymph.

Madison River rainbow trout Madison River Rainbow Trout Barley Legal streamer eating rainbow trout

Recommended Patterns

  • Nymphs/Emergers
    • Pats Stonefly nymph, black with olive legs – size 8-4
    • Pats Stonefly nymph, olive with brown legs – size 8-4
    • Bead Head Squirrel, natural – size 12-16
    • Sizzlin Hot Spot Squirrel – size 12-16
    • Prince Albert, silver– size 16-14
    • Lightning Bug, silver– size 14-12
    • Hogans S&M, olive – size 16-14
    • Green Machine, olive & PT – size 16-14
    • Bloody Mary, size 14-16
    • $3 Dip, brown – size 16-14
    • San Juan Worms, red & orange – size 6-2
  • Dries
    • Hi-vis flying ant, purple, black and red – size 18-14
    • Purple Haze -size 16-14
    • Royal Wolf – size 16-14
    • Thunder Thighs Hopper, pink, yellow, and tan – size 10-14
    • White Cloud Hopper, peach or pink – size 10-12
  • Streamers
    • Barely Legal, olive/white – size 6
    • Peanut Envy, olive – size 2
    • Delektable Screamer-Double Olive Black  Silver – size 6

Missouri River

Below Hauser Dam: 4160 cfs

Below Holter Dam: 4070 cfs

Cascade: 3920 cfs

The fishing can be really good in the months to come. However, much of the Missouri River is full of weeds. This can be frustrating for any anglers, especially when the weeds start to break free. You may spend more time picking the weeds off your hooks than fishing. Consider fishing at Upper Holter Lake as it is fishing well.

Recommended Patterns

  • Nymphs/Emergers
    • Soft Hackle Sow Bug, pink and tan – size 16-12
    • Firebead Ray Charles, grey, pink & tan – size 16-14
    • Green Machine, chartreuse & pt – size 16-14
    • Perdigon – Purdee John Brown– size 16-14
    • Blooms Weight Fly, purple – size 16-14
    • Tung Darts – size 16-14
    • Silvey’s Diving Caddis, tan/olive – size 16-14
  • Sizzlin Hot Spot Squirrel – size 12-16– size 16-14
  • San Juan Worms, red & orange – size 6-2
  • Dries
    • Adams – size 18-16
    • Parachute Adams – size 18-16
    • Purple Haze – size 18-16
    • Elk Hair Caddis, olive, purple & brown – size 16-14
  • Thunder Thighs Hopper, pink, yellow, and tan – size 10-12
  • M’s Hopper, pink, tan & yellow – size 10-12
  • Streamers
    • Kreelex, gold/silver – size 4
    • BH (bead head) Wooly Bugger, black – size 8-4
    • Thin Mint – size 8-10
    • Sparkle Minnow, olive – size 4
    • Zirdle Bug, olive – size 8 (dead drift as a crawfish pattern)

Hebgen Lake

The browns will start to stage at the inflow of the Madison River on the Madison Arm as they feel the water temperatures decline in a couple of weeks. You can’t beat this experience during September and October. Callibaetis are still present, but not for long as evening temperatures decline. Nymphing under a strike indicator will work best with the Callibaetis and leach patterns. Try an ant or attractor dry during the Calibaetis or Tricohatch, and you may be pleasantly surprised!

Recommended Patterns

  • Nymphs/Emergers
    • BH Hares Ear, grey – size 16-12
    • BH Red Copper John – size 16-14
    • Ice Cream Cone – red or black -size 12-16
  • Dries
    • Callibaetis Spinner AK’s – size 16-14
    • Silhouette Dun – size 16-14
    • Gulper Special – size 16-14
  • Hi-vis flying ant, purple, black and red – size 18-14
  • Royal Wolf – size 16-14
  • Meanie, Bee – size 14
  • Streamers
    • BH (bead head) Wooly Bugger, black or olive – size 8-4
    • Balanced Leach, black, olive, or burnt brown – size 10-6

Yellowstone River

Corwin Springs: 2060 cfs

Livingstone: 2250 cfs

The Yellowstone River in Montana is one of our waters’ most fickle fisheries. Yet its wildness and the thought of a potential larger than average wild brown draws us back to it. Fall is a great time to swing for the fence for a brown of a lifetime. No guarantees. Come float with us on the longest free-flowing river in the lower 48 states this fall and strip streamers for the chance at a fish of a lifetime!

Yellowstone River Brown Trout
Photo by guide Sam Cady

Recommended Patterns

  • Nymphs/Emergers
    • TJ Hooker, Tan & Coffee – size 8-12
    • Birds Nest, olive & tan – size 16-12
    • BH Prince Nymph -size 12-8
    • Lil’ Spanker, silver & red – size 16-14
    • Gold Rib Hares Ear Soft Hackle – size 16-12
  • Dries
    • Purple Haze – size 16-14
    • Adams – size 16-14
    • Parachute Adams – size 16-14
    • Dave’s Hopper, yellow or olive – size 8-12
  • Thunder Thighs Hopper, pink, yellow, and tan – size 10-12
  • M’s Hopper, pink, tan & yellow – size 10-12
  • Chubby Chernobyl, purple, uv cinnamon, pink, tan – size 6-10
  • Streamers
    • Sparkle Minnow in sculpin, jj special, and smoke colors– size 8-4
    • Mikes Pecs Sculpin, white or olive – size 6
    • Sex Dungeon, white, olive or tan – size 2

Gallatin River

Gallatin Gateway: 467 cfs

Logan: 280 cfs

Fall is a great time to get back on the Gallatin River, especially the lower sections near Three Forks, Montana. Full-day float trips on the lower Gallatin will be available once the Hoot Owl Restrictions are lifted (most likely mid-September). We are currently taking guests out on half-day trips in the morning before the water temperatures rise around noon. Fishing has been good and will only improve as the water temperatures start declining in the next few weeks. Most ranches will be finishing up their irrigation, which means more water in the rivers as well. The bigger-than-average browns will start to make their way up from the Missouri River in mid to late September. You can fish from the drift boat downriver to the Missouri River from Manhattan, MT. Everything upriver of Gallatin Forks FAS is wade only; we can float some of these upper sections but must get out of the boat to fish.

Recommended Patterns

  • Nymphs/Emergers
    • Pats Stonefly nymph, black with olive legs – size 8-4
    • Lightning Bug, silver or purple– size 14-12
    • Hogans S&M, olive – size 16-14
    • Green Machine, olive & PT – size 16-14
    • Bead Head Prince Nymph, size 14-16
    • Physco Prince, purple or yellow – size 16-14
    • San Juan Worms, red & orange – size 6-2
  • Dries
    • Hi-vis flying ant, purple, black and red – size 18-14
    • Purple Haze -size 16-14
    • Royal Wolf – size 16-14
    • Thunder Thighs Hopper, pink, yellow, and tan – size 10-14
    • White Cloud Hopper, peach or pink – size 10-12
  • Streamers
    • Barely Legal, olive/white – size 6
    • Peanut Envy, olive – size 2
    • Delektable Screamer-Double Olive Black  Silver – size 6
    • Sparkle Minnow in sculpin, jj special, and smoke colors– size 8-4
    • Mikes Pecs Sculpin, white or olive – size 6

 

Follow us on our social media feeds such as Instagram and Facebook for more current and up-to-date information.

 

Thank you for staying connected with us on current conditions, reports, and news!