Happy Labor Day Weekend! We hope you all enjoy the long weekend coming up safely. It’s a great chance to get outside and enjoy Montana while taking a break from the hard work this summer. Fishing has remained pretty good and the weather has been cooperating for us - some cooler mornings and days have felt really nice after the long, hot summer.
The Yellowstone River has been fishing a lot better since temps dropped down a few weeks ago. Water temps have been staying in the mid to low 60s every day. Even with flows near record low levels, the fish are a bit happier these days! Please remember to treat fish carefully this time of year - use heavier tippet than you normally might, fight them quickly, keep them in the water and release them as quickly as you can.
We’ve heard good things from both the Paradise Valley stretch and down below town. If you’re after hoppers the valley has been a bit more consistent than down lower this past week. You’re generally only getting a couple good hours of hopper bite each day, typically in the early afternoons after the bugs have a chance to warm up from these cool mornings.
As far as hopper patterns go, it pays to have a selection of profiles, sizes and colors available. Keep switching until you find one they key in on. Fishing a small (size 16 has been working well) black ant, Purple Haze, or trude behind the hopper is a great idea right now. Our guides are reporting just as many if not more fish eating the trailer than the hopper! You can always fish a flashy nymph like a Spanker or Lightning Bug behind a hopper as well since they make such good strike indicators.
Yellowstone National Park has been fishing well with the cooler temps. Most of what we’ve heard has been focused on the Lamar and Soda Butte and the Northeast corner. Bring terrestrials, caddis, and attractors. Be willing to hike a ways from access points and trailheads and you can find some solitude, a rarity after a busy year in Yellowstone! As always, be bear aware and carry bear spray while out in the park.
Other waters in our area such as the Boulder, Stillwater, Gallatin and Upper Madison are all fishing well. It just depends on how far you want to drive! Now that it’s September our window for mountain creeks and lakes is narrowing, so if you wanted to get out and fish them - do it sooner than later. Put your hiking boots on, bring a light rod and a pocket full of dry flies and have at it.
Speaking of September, some of the best fishing of the year is just around the corner. Fall fishing is a bit more dependent on the weather than summer outings, but it has a good chance of being fantastic. There are some epic dry fly hatches, the streamer fishing really picks up, and the crowds thin out pretty drastically. The next two months are some of our very favorite on our local waters, if you’re thinking about a trip come see why for yourself.
As always, if you’d like more updated information and reports, stop by or give the shop a call at 406-222-1673. Good luck out there!