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Bozeman Fly Fishing Overview

It’s middle of October in Bozeman, MT: fall is in the air, our rivers are quiet, and the fly fishing has been great. Great fly fishing doesn’t necessarily translate into easy fly fishing every day, in all conditions, but when conditions have been right and angling has been good, the fly fishing has been as great as great gets.

Our Montana fly fishing guides have been out daily with the exception of Wednesday and Thursday of last week when old man winter came through with a good one. Temps were between 9-20 degrees and the snow piled up high. Fall is back and looks to stay in the forecast for the coming week.

Fall is always a fun time to be an angler in Bozeman. This past week alone we have seen the full gamut of conditions across the Yellowstone, Madison, and Missouri Rivers. One day on the Yellowstone River was punishingly windy and we had to work hard to get a handful to the net and the next day it was calm as could be and we were treated to one of the best dry fly fishing sessions of the year. That’s October for you folks. Weather exists beyond our control. But when it’s good it sure is good.

BWOs are king at this point for dry fly anglers on all of our area waters. Bigger bugs are few and far between. We were able to find a few fish willing to eat hoppers this past week, but that is more or less in the rearview mirror from here on out.

Streamer fishing has been the best bet for targeting larger than your average fish. You’ll have to work for it but we’ve seen anglers get rewarded with some truly great rainbow and brown trout over the last weeks on the Madison and Missouri Rivers.

Yellowstone River Fly Fishing Report

Perfect fall conditions right now on the Yellowstone River. Calm days have made for fantastic dry fly and dry dropper fishing most afternoons. Colder mornings have left a little to be desired, but streamer fishing has been good enough to make things interesting. BWOs, midges, and fall drakes have been on the menu for the dry fly fishing. Our fly fishing guides generally run a tandem dry rig with a sighter and a finesse fly. The real ones are small, very small, especially on sunny days. The Yellowstone River is the best option for anglers in Bozeman, MT that prefer to dry fly fish.

Madison River Fly Fishing Report

Solid fall fly fishing conditions right now on the Madison River. The river is a ghost town, particularly from Ruby Creek down stream to the Missouri River confluence. We are still wondering where all of the reported crowding is? Makes you wonder.

The streamer fishing has been good to great depending on the day, especially for anglers willing to give up quantity for quality. Nymphing will be the top producer with stonefly nymphs, worms, small BWO nymphs #20-22, and caddis accounting for the bulk of the action. The dry fly fishing has been there under the right conditions: calm wind, calm water, and patient angling. Still a few out there looking for the hopper.

Missouri River Fly Fishing Report

Mid-late October on the Missouri River is about as fun as fly fishing in Montana gets. For every tough weather day you’ll get 6 days you won’t ever forget. Between the fall color, consistent hatches, and excellent dry fly fishing, what more could you ask for? BWOs, small caddis, and a few hoppers are still on the menu. Deep nymphing has been solid but not off the charts. The streamer fishing has varied between good and great, rewarding anglers who commit with larger than your average fish, which on the Missouri River means larger than your average, larger than your average fish.

Yellowstone National Park Fly Fishing Report

The fall run on the Madison River is in full swing, with some truly incredible brown trout coming to hand daily. Cold early mornings and warm afternoons make for unforgettable days spent fly fishing in the Park. While we enjoy chasing the trophy trout of the Madison, our guides and anglers would just as soon spend our days on the Firehole River enjoying great hatches, dry fly fishing, and soft hackle swinging.

Paradise Valley Spring Creek Fly Fishing Report

Challenging but rewarding. Fall on the spring creeks can be described as nothing short of technical, but good hatches of midges and BWOs have made for high-quality sight fishing on a daily basis.

Gallatin River Fly Fishing Report

Fall on the Gallatin River is all about getting back to basics. Classic wade fishing for wild trout. Go for a walk, enjoy the fall scenery, and expect to get into some good fishing. Hatches will bring fish up, streamers will get chased, and nymphs will consistently catch. As fun as it gets.