Believe it or not, August is nearly over, September is almost here, hunting season is just around the corner and hoppers are really just getting going as we head into the end of summer here. If we're looking into a crystal ball, the first few weeks of September should bring with it some great dry fly fishing with the cooling temps and extended summer forecast. With the nice late summer, expect the hopper bite to pick up a bit now that all of the hay cuts have been made - a big factor in when the hopper fishing gets good. The movement from the mornings being the only good time of the day to fish has begun and will only continue into September as the days are shorter, the nights longer and the lows lower...
Hatch wise, about the only thing we're seeing on the rivers anymore are the midnight stone cases - other than that there's some Trico's around still and you’ll have some fish looking up for the black plague through the next week or two, then it will be a waiting game for the Baetis in late September and October. If you’re considering what to have in the dry fly boxes besides tricos, then you’ll want to have along plenty of ants, beetles, cicadas and grasshopper patterns along with your Chubbies (nocturnal stone/hopper imitation). You can always have a few Para Wulff’s along too – Purple and Adams are both killer patterns through September.
Wrapping up the fishing reports for the area right now we’re seeing the Yellowstone up high and down low fishing pretty well, through the middle of the valley from Point of Rocks down to Mallards things are still a bit mossy and fishing reports have been pretty marginal – around Livingston, below town and up towards Gardiner above Yankee Jim have definitely been fishing much better than the aforementioned sections. If you go make sure and take along some chubbies, hoppers, zonkers and crayfish along with your assortment of whitefish slaying beadhead patterns.
The Lower Madison has been back online and fishing well for the past week or more now ever since the water temperatures dropped back down. We had some great trips out there this past week – fish are chowing the Chubby, crayfish and an assorted selection of tiny size 18-20 mayfly nymphs. Dead drifting krystal buggers and zonkers has been decent too. Upper Madison is a little boney but fishing has been decent – trico’s way up high, the rest of the river has been ants, beetles and hoppers – early morning streamer fishing too is decent, not great but decent.
The Tailwater rundown is as follows – Bighorn hopper bite has finished up, but black and tan caddis are around providing some decent dry fly fishing still. As for the Missouri the dry fly fishing has been just ok now, trico’s have tapered off pretty much to a dull roar, still a few in the mornings, other than that not much else going on top, expect Baetis by late September most likely if it cools off and clouds up, until then your best bet will be subsurface with standard tailwater nymphs like zebra midges, Ray Charles, and assorted caddis larvae. Beaverhead has been fishing decent off and on, nothing really red hot to report on – some terrestrial action with hoppers, some fish eating some streamers too, but nothing really to get super excited about.
Boulder and Stillwater producing some decent attractor dry fly fishing these past few weeks, it’s of course wade fishing mostly at this point on both rivers – heard some good hopper fishing on the Stillwater down low, and the Boulder has had some good Chubby action up higher, all in all both rivers worth a trip to, just fishing a little better in the mornings than the heat of the day still.
Had some excellent reports coming from over on the Lower Big Hole this past week, word is that there’s little pressure and lots of willing fish – you’ll have to hike though, not enough water for a boat and a lot of log jams down lower on the river right now so be aware. Jefferson is ok up high if you’re into smaller fish on Tricos – flows are low and there’s still a fair bit of moss in the river making nymphing and streamer fishing a little challenging right now. Down low on the river Carp fishing has been good though.
Yellowstone Park in the Northeast Corner would be the place to be right now if you twisted our arm and made us choose a place to go wade fishing instead of putting a boat in on a river. Slough is good, Lamar is excellent and Soda Butte good as well. It’s late summer terrestrial time up in the Park so be sure and have along your ants and beetle imitations as well as some good black cricket patterns – the Tick has been getting them as have assorted black ant patterns.
Overall this may not have been the best summer on record in Montana, but it was far from bad, and probably some of the best fishing of the year is yet to come. You never really know what’s going to happen next, but if I was betting – I would bet on some good late summer hopper fishing on the rivers and streams around the area!
Fly of the Week - Q's Glitter Ant
As the days have grown shorter and the nights longer and summer is closer to over than just beginning it's time to have a few ants in your flybox no matter where you are going. If you are fishing around Montana and you don't have any ants in your flybox, you truly are missing out on an effective part of any serious anglers arsenal. The problem traditionally with ants is the inability to see the patterns on the water, leading to missed fish and thus decreasing the effectiveness of the pattern. Enter the Glitter Ant. Ok so you still can't see this on the water at extreme distances all that well, but at 40-50 feet this is an easily spotted pattern that floats nice and high and accepts floatant quite well. I've always been a big fan of tossing ants right through the middle of trico hatches and this is a good bug for doing just that. But where this really shines is on big flat slicks where you know that there are fish sitting but they won't respond to a sloppily presented grasshopper pattern. Toss this on instead or just toss it off the back of your hopper and watch your fish catching results improve.
Shop Product of the Week - Umpqua UPG Series Fly Boxes
Since Summer isn't quite over yet and Fall is rapidly approaching, I have been attempting to reorganize my flyboxes and do a little \"late summer cleaning\" of all of the mess that is my fly selection. Enter my solution - Umpqua UPG Flyboxes. Now there's literally thousands of flyboxes on the market, after all as long as there have been fly shops selling flies, there's been a need for something to hold them. So what makes these different you might ask? Everything. For years I was a big C&F Design fan, the boxes were durable, a little fancy, but very easy to organize and they had an option of waterproof gaskets and latches. The problem with the C&F Design boxes was they were very pricey and all of them looked identical and you couldn't see what was in the flyboxes as they were all black or grey plastic outers. Enter the Umpqua UPG series - clear colored plastic with rubber gaskets and water resistant latching systems. These boxes max out your carrying capacity and do it an organized fashion and come in a plethora of box arrangements. Everything from midges to streamers, they have a box setup for everything. Stop by the shop and check them out - caution though, you may want to toss out all your old flyboxes...
Enter your number below to receive new, up-to-date river reports from Montana Troutfitters.