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10/13/20  Bozeman, MT Fly Fishing Report

Angler with a trophy brown trout on Montana's Missouri River

Bozeman Fly Fishing Overview

Mid-October is a favorite time in Bozeman, MT for anglers and our Montana fly fishing guides. All of our Montana rivers are fishing well as well as the rivers and streams of Yellowstone National Park. Fall is in the air, the trees are lit up with color, and anglers will find plenty of solitude on our blue ribbon waters.

Great days on the water with anglers have kept us away from the computer and on the oars, but with our Montana fly fishing season starting to wind down we have found time for an in-depth fall fly fishing report and forecast. Our guides have been on the water daily with the Missouri River, Yellowstone River, and Madison River at the top of the list for productivity. Strong hatches of BWOs (#18-22), fall drakes (#10-14), and a variety of caddis, midges, and lingering terrestrials have made for some memorable days of dry fly fishing the past few weeks.

The fall streamer bite has also been improving daily. Anglers willing to commit have been rewarded. The morning streamer bite on the Missouri River has been particularly good with consistent action on baitfish imitations fished through 3-4ft of fast moving water.

Anglers planning a fall fly fishing trip will find the daily rhythm of streamer fishing or nymphing in the morning followed by afternoons of dry fly or dry-dropper fishing to be fulfilling, with diverse opportunities and good action. Fall brings anglers the full gamut of conditions and anglers should expect to change tactics throughout the day for the best success. Both wade fishing and float fishing can be productive with the low flows of fall and patience often rewards the angler that starts late and ends late, with the best bite from 11AM-6PM.

While there is still time to book an October fly fishing with our Montana fly fishing guides, guide availability is limited. We could not have asked for a better 2020 season with anglers from all over joining us for the best Montana fly fishing trips. Trip dates for 2021 are booking daily with limited availability already for prime dates on the Missouri River in May and June and in Bozeman, MT for July and August. It is never too early to plan and book your next trip. Anglers are encouraged to contact us today to learn more.

Yellowstone River Fly Fishing Report

October is a favorite month on the Yellowstone River for our anglers and Yellowstone River fly fishing guides. Anglers can expect productive nymph and streamer fishing most mornings with quality dry fly fishing on calm afternoons. Cooler overcast days make for the strongest mayfly hatches with BWOs and drakes on the menu. Warmer days limit the mayfly activity but make for often excellent late season terrestrial fishing with hoppers and beetles still on the menu. Anglers willing to commit to streamer fishing will move some of the biggest brown trout of the year. Expect the bite only to improve as we move later into October and November.

Missouri River Fly Fishing Report

No where better to fly fish in Montana in October than the Missouri River. Like the clock that keeps on ticking, the Mo has been nothing short of reliable with great nymphing on the upper river, solid streamer fishing on the whole river, and excellent dry fly and dry dropper fishing on the lower river for those willing to work at it. Fall mayflies, caddisflies, midges, and terrestrials are all still on the menu. Dry fly anglers should expect demanding conditions and spooky fish, but rewarding conditions on calm days. Streamer anglers are advised to fish the fastest water they can find and consider an intermediate line or light sink tip. Nymphers at the dam will find solid action on zebra midges (#18-22) and small BWO patterns fished deep in the morning and shallow in the afternoon. We were treated to an all-time day recently that included 6 hours of phenomenal dry fly fishing, 2 bear sightings, and a memorable morning streamer bite. No better place to fly fish than the Missouri River in October!

Madison River Fly Fishing Report

Great time of the year to be an angler on the Madison River. The whole river is fishing well from YNP to the headwaters of the Missouri River. Streamer fishing is the name of the game in the fall with both stripped, dead drifted, and dragged presentations proving productive. A great time for anglers to cross paths with some of the biggest trout of the year. Lake run fish can be found both in the braids and the Barnes Holes. Nymphing and streamer fishing are the best tactics for targeting these fish. Dry fly fishing has been relegated to slack water and slow moving drop offs, with good hatches of BWOs bringing fish to the surface daily. Still a few out there looking for the hopper…

Yellowstone National Park Fly Fishing Report

Lakers in the Madison, blanket hatches on the Firehole, and Fall Drakes on the Lamar and Soda Butte. Anglers will find great fly fishing opportunities all across Yellowstone National Park right now. The perfect day:

  • First light swinging flies on the Madison River
  • Afternoon hatch on the Firehole River or Soda Butte Creek
  • Last light streamer bite on the Madison River


Looking forward for whats to come in November? Check out our full write-up on November fly fishing in Montana.