November 2018 Montana Fall Fly Fishing Overview
What happened to Fall? Seems like Winter arrived early in Bozeman, Montana this year. The snow is already starting to stack up in the mountains, skies are getting grey, and the forecast is calling for high temperatures in the mid 30’s to low 40’s. The warming huts on DePuy’s Spring Creek are fired up daily. Just about perfect for November fly fishing. I’ve heard it said before that there is nothing worse than a sunny day in November and April for fly fishing. Sure it may be comfortable, but bright skies will often mean little or no hatches and poor streamer fishing. We’ll take the cold and grey any day.
Our Winter/Spring Guide Trip Specials started November 1. $400 for a full day of fishing from now until April 30 with our Montana fly fishing guides. Can’t beat that. Anglers coming to fish in November and through the Winter and Spring can expect solitude on our local rivers. And solid fishing. In the past week I have floated the Yellowstone River and Madison River several days and have seen a combined total of 1 other boats. I’ll take it.
Our daily hatches of fall BWOs and midges will start to thin out in November, but still some good dry fly fishing to be had when conditions align. Large attractor mayflies and midge clusters will be your best bet on the Yellowstone River and Madison River. Hatches on the Missouri River will continue to thin out as we move through the month but expect to see fish rising here and there to BWOs and midges when they do hatch.
It is never a rush to the river in November. Enjoy that extra cup of coffee.
Streamer fishing has been good on both the Madison River and the Yellowstone River. Look for this to only improve as we move through November. The worse the weather, the better generally. Had the pleasure of fishing with some streamer junkies on the Madison River on a bright sunny day last week. Lots of follows, good number of eats, and a few landed. Starting to get good out there.
Nymphing will be the key to consistent success in November. As our fish start to move into winter water, they will group up in predictable lies and are easily targeted with nymph rigs. Stoneflies, worms, princes, and buggers are all great top flies on the Yellowstone River, Madison River, and Gallatin River. Small mayflies and midges are great second flies. Worms, sowbugs, and scuds will be king on our tailwater rivers. Deeper slower water will be your best bet.
November isn’t the most popular month for guided fly fishing trips in Montana. Never has been and never will be. But if solitude, snow capped peaks, and good fishing is what you want, we’ve got plenty of it, all month long.