The Kootenai River is in the best shape of the year right now. Dry fly action is hopping all day.
Dry fly fishing is also picking up as flows drop on the Beaverhead River.
In the Billings area there's decent smallmouth bass fishing at Bighorn Reservoir out of Ok-A-Beh Marina. Fishing has been consistently good.
At Canyon Ferry, anglers looking for a walleye experience are boating toward the south end around the Ponds.
Dylan Sander took home the walleye first place, Paul and Patty Dull topped the northern pike competition and bass honors went to Wendi Ross at the Fishing for the Cure Tournament at Fort Peck Reservoir last weekend. Thirty-eight teams competed.
Here are the top picks of the week:
Beaverhead River — We are still seeing some PMDs and yellow Sallies on the river. Look for these hatches to taper off, and we will move into Tricos and terrestrials this next week. Hoppers are starting to work on the lower river. Flows are starting to drop out of Clark Canyon Reservoir which will help the dry fly fishing. — Sunrise Fly Shop, Melrose.
Bighorn Lake, Ok-A-Beh — Poppers, Frogs and Spooks have been consistently producing hefty smallmouth bass. — Scheels, Billings.
Canyon Ferry Reservoir — The walleye bite has been good with the best action from Hole in the Wall and Confederate Bay to the Ponds. Bottom bouncers are working best with a worm in 10-15 feet of water. Try using pink, chartreuse or green spinner blades. Some perch are being caught along with the walleye. An occasional walleye is being picked up in these areas from shore as well. A few rainbows are being caught while trolling cowbells or crankbaits 20-25 feet deep around mid-reservoir and at the north end. An occasional rainbow is being caught from shore while using worms around White Earth and Beaver Creek Bay. — FWP, Helena
Fort Peck Reservoir, Big Dry Arm — Fishing for the Cure Tournament results are: walleye, Dylan Sander, 28.14 pounds (five fish); northern, Paul and Patty Dull, 33.90 pounds; bass, Wendi Ross, 17.5 inch, 18 inch (35.5 inches). — Rock Creek Marina.
Kootenai River — Discharge from the Libby Dam is now at 9,500 cfs and the river is in great shape. Caddis and PMDs continue to pop later in the afternoon. Make a good presentation and they’ll eat a Parachute Adams (size 14) or an Elk Hair Caddis (14). A Purple Chubby (12), or Bugmeister with a BH Pheasant Tail (16) will roll nicely. Nymphing is off the charts. Remember to get bugs down. Look for fish in slower currents, buckets, tailouts, and especially around cover and down rocky runs. — Linehan Outfitting Company, Troy.
Ackley Lake — The muskie action is up using crankbaits. — Sport Center, Lewistown.
Big Hole River — These waters are in a transition period from PMDs and caddis to terrestrials and tricos. We are seeing some PMDs in the morning hours. The hopper fishing below Melrose has been good. We are fishing small hoppers and ant patterns (10-14). Tricos have been spotted on some days below Divide. Look for the Trico hatch to thicken up this coming week. Streamer fishing and nymphing in the shallow riffle has remained productive. We are still using drift boats from Divide downstream. — Sunrise Fly Shop, Melrose.
Bighorn River — Conditions are prime for summer fishing. PMDs are still the main event. If you’re looking to hunt fish on the surface, plan on about 1 p.m. till dark. PMDs and a handful of black caddis will keep the fish entertained. A variety of PMD Cripples and Spinners seem to be the best choices. Nymphing has been very productive, although not as hot as it was last week. Carpet Bugs, Ray Charles, Pheasant Tails, Quills, Split Case PMDs and various PMD nymph patterns have been the go to. The fish are starting to move up into some of the faster shelves, so don’t overlook those areas. We’re still picking up a handful of fish on Hoppers. — Bighorn Angler, Fort Smith.
Bitterroot River — The lower river is getting pretty warm, so the mornings are really the only time to fish. We are starting to fish more and more hoppers as fish are looking for them. There’s a few fish eating rusty spinners in the mornings. The upper river is a better all day fishery with the water temps not getting as high. Fish are eating attractor dries as well as Hoppers and a few small Goldens on the upper river. Droppers have been the go-to on the whole river with Perdigons, Pink San Juans, Jig PTs and Jig Princes. — Grizzly Hackle Fly Shop, Missoula.
Blackfoot River — The water temperatures are heating up. Spruce moths have been hit or miss. Hopper/dropper action has been the go-to. Small Hoppers (12-14) with a jig nymph or San Juan off the back, as well as attractor dries like Royal Wulff’s, Stimi’s, P-Hazes and Brindle Chutes are other good bets. — Grizzly Hackle Fly Shop, Missoula.
Boulder River — The fishing is really good. Hopper/dropper combos are working well. — Sweetcast Angler, Big Timber.
Clark Fork River, Deer Lodge — Anglers fishing with caddis and terrestrials have been effective. Good nymphs to use are Ray Charles (16), Sowbugs, Superflash Pheasant Tails (14-18), red or chartreuse Copper Johns (14), SJ Worms (14-16), Olive Scuds. Streamers to use are Lemon Drop, Sculpzilla and Miller’s Brew Time. Dries to use are Missing Link Caddis (16-18), Purple Haze (16-18), and Rocky Mountain Mint (16-18). — The StoneFly Fly Shop, Butte.
Clark Fork River, Missoula — These waters are fishing well in the morning. Hopper fishing is starting to get better with the grasses drying out and hoppers jumping around. Make sure to drop a Perdigon, Jig PT, Prince or San Juan off the back for better odds. A few PMD spinners are around. If you see fish sipping tie on a spinner (16-18). — Grizzly Hackle Fly Shop, Missoula.
Clark Fork River, St. Regis — The river is fishing really good throughout the day. Anglers are bringing in 14- to 18-inch rainbow, cutthroat, and cutbows. Purple Haze flies and a variety of Hoppers are working very well. — Joe Cantrell Outfitting, St. Regis.
Cliff and Wade Lakes — These waters are fishing very well this time of year, especially when the spruce moths show up. Focus on the steeper wooded banks in the morning hours and use a Summer Spruce Moth (14) to catch trout cruising the banks. Once the wind comes up in the afternoon, drifting along those same banks and casting a pink Thunder Thighs Hopper (10) or Longhorn Beetle can be effective. — Blue Ribbon Flies, West Yellowstone.
Cooney Reservoir — This week the water temperature continued to climbed into the mid-70s. There has been constant boat traffic on the reservoir. Trout fishing seems to have picked up with the arrival of grasshoppers. Earlier in the day when the wind is low seems to be the best time. The perch and walleye bite has continued to be hit and miss. Evenings seem to be the best. Jigs and worms have been working for perch. Walleye have been tricky, some folks have had luck with jig raps, others have caught fish with bottom bouncers and worm harnesses. — Cooney State Park.
Flathead Lake (North) — Lake trout are biting cut plugs with maple sausage. Anglers are successfully trolling in about 30-60 feet of water. Be sure to have some whitefish jigs ready. — Snappys Sport Senter, Kalispell.
Flathead Lake (South) — Big Arm and Dayton Bay have been producing fat perch, while Dead Man’s Point has been producing lake trout and whitefish (in 40-50 feet of water) using green Rattle D Zastors. Lake trout numbers are up at Cromwell East. Blue Bay has been producing lake trout and whitefish in 40-60 feet of water using whole fish set-ups. City Docks (closest to the bridge) has been producing smallmouth bass on bait fish. The lake trout have also been biting at Safety Bay. — Zimmer Tackle, Pablo.
Fort Peck Reservoir, Crooked Creek — The fishing has been steady. Two 32-inch walleye were caught bottom bouncing in 29 feet. Purple, gold and black were the colors of choice. Some anglers were successfully pulling cranks. — Crooked Creek Marina.
Fort Peck Reservoir, dam area — The salmon bite is improving using bait cups and flies. — Lakeridge Lodging & Bait Shop.
Fort Peck Reservoir, Hell Creek — The northern and bass bite is doing well. Northerns are running in about 14 feet using crankbaits. The bass bite is phenomenal right now in 4-40 feet bottom bouncing and pitching. The walleye bite has been good at 20-30 feet bottom bouncing. — Hell Creek Marina.
Gallatin River — The water flows are down and the fishing has been solid. This time of year is certainly dry/dropper season. Chubbies, Ants, and Hoppers are great dries as they can hold up a fairly heavy nymph. For a dropper, fish are eating attractor mayflies, caddis, PMDs, stones and soft hackles. Nocturnal stones have been hatching throughout the river and spruce moths are hatching in the canyon. Fishing a smaller Chubby with a Spruce Moth dry has produced some fantastic dry fly action. If you're not getting fish on the dead drift try twitching and skating those dries. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.
Georgetown Lake — Overall the kokanee, brook and rainbow trout fishing has been fair to decent. Best techniques are stripping leech patterns, or using Callibaetis nymphs, Damselfly nymphs, Scuds, dead-drifting Chironomids and Sowbugs. The southeast shoreline is open. — Flint Creek Outdoors, Phillipsburg.
Glacier National Park — The west entrance to the park is open to Avalanche Creek. Expect temporary closures at either Lake McDonald Lodge or the foot of Lake McDonald due to full parking lots and congestion. Nonmotorized boats are allowed. Areas of the North Fork, including the roads to Kintla and Bowman Lakes, are open. The following areas are closed to fishing: Kintla Creek between Kintla Lake and Upper Kintla Lake, Upper Kintla Lake, Akokala Lake, Bowman Creek above Bowman Lake, Logging Creek between Logging Lake and Grace Lake, Cracker Lake, Slide Lake and the impounded pond below the lake. The following creeks are closed for their entire length: Ole, Park, Muir, Coal, Nyack, Fish, Lee, Otatso, Boulder, and Kennedy Creeks, North Fork of the Belly River, North Fork of the Flathead River within 200 yards (183 m) of the mouth of Big Creek. For more detailed information regulations visit https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/fishing.htm — GNPS
Hauser Reservoir — Walleye anglers fared well this last weekend. Rainbow action has slowed a bit with the warmer temperatures. Some walleye are being picked up by anglers slip bobber fishing from shore at the Causeway and pitching jigs or trolling crawler harnesses inside the Causeway Arm. Boat anglers are picking up an occasional rainbow below Canyon Ferry Dam while pitching jigs along the shorelines. Your best chance at some rainbows is still trolling cowbells and Wedding Rings tipped with night crawlers around 15-20 feet down between York Bridge and White Sandy. — FWP, Helena.
Hebgen Lake — Dry fly fishing has been a little up and down for the last few days. Some anglers have reported good numbers of Callibaetis and plenty of feeding fish. Try a Callibaetis Deer Hair Spinner (16) and Sparkle Duns, and don't be afraid to throw an ant like our Stubby Ant (14) if fish are rising sporadically. — Blue Ribbon Flies, West Yellowstone.
Holter Reservoir — Rainbow and walleye fishing slowed down quite a bit over the weekend with warmer temperatures. Anglers trolling cowbells or crankbaits above suspended fish are still picking up an occasional rainbow in the lower end of the reservoir. Anglers fishing weed beds are finding a few perch while pitching small jigs tipped with crawlers in 10-20 feet of water between the BLM ramp and the Boat Loft area. Walleye action has slowed a bit but a few are still being picked up while tolling bottom bouncers, running slip bobbers and leeches or vertical jigging in 10-30 feet of water near Cottonwood Creek and on the lower end of the reservoir. — FWP, Helena.
Lake Mary — This week the perch bite has been decent while the best time for kokanee has been in the evening. — Zimmer Tackle, Pablo.
Madison River, Lower — Please fish early, get fish in quickly and handle fish as little as possible. Pinching your barbs to get a quick release is a good call also. Dry fly fishing early with Hoppers, attractors and Caddis should get you into fish and keep you out of the moss. Crayfish, worms, soft hackles, caddis pupa, and attractor mayfly patterns are our best option when nymphing. The tube hatch is in full force also, so plan accordingly. This year will be the first year for the lower to be permanently hoot owled from July 15th to August 15th. The daily closure will run from 2 p.m.-12 a.m. This closure covers Warm Springs fishing access down to the confluence. This closure doesn't include Bear Trap canyon. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.
Madison River, Upper — The river is getting low and clear. Focus on mid-river structure to find bigger fish. Fish have lots of food options right now, so this is the time of year when it pays off to switch up flies often until you find what they are keying in on. A dry/dropper rig has been a great method lately. Don't be afraid to go small with your dropper nymph. Hoppers, stones, ants, yellow Sallies, caddis and PMDs are out. Streamer fishing has been hit or miss until clouds roll through. If the sun is high and you still want to streamer fish try throwing a Kreelex in copper or gold. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.
Martinsdale Reservoir — The fishing was slow this week but improving. — John Scally, Martinsdale.
Missouri River, below Holter — We still have some PMDs around, but tricos and caddis are the main hatches. Nymphing has been steady. The fishing at the Gates of the Mountains has been steady. Tailwater Sowbugs and PMD nymphs are working the best in the river and Black Balanced Leeches and Chironomids in the lake. Dries that are working the best are: Film Critic PMD (16), Challeneged PMD (16), and Ninch’s Handman PMD (16). Nymphs and Streamers: 3-T Jigged Mossasin A-PMD (14-18), 3-T Jigged Mossasin A-MFG (14-18), and Psycho May PMD (14-18). — Montana Fly Goods, Helena.
Missouri River, PN Bridge — Catfish, sauger and walleye have recently been caught. Night crawlers have been the bait of choice this week. — Sport Center, Lewistown.
Pablo Reservoir — The pike and bass bite is good on dark tubes. Dark-colored plastic worms and crawdads have also been working. — Zimmer Tackle, Pablo.
Polson Bay — Big perch have been reported but just not in big numbers. Baitfish have been the bait of choice. Smallmouth bass are lurking and active. — Zimmer Tackle, Pablo.
Rock Creek (East) — The dry fly fishing has started to heat up. Recommended patterns include: Hoppers, naturals and attractors. Hopper patterns should be fished between sizes 8-12. Your best Hoppers to fish are Chubby’s, Pink Pookies, More or Less Hoppers in peach, pink or purple as well Rainey’s Grand Hoppers and Donkey Kong Hoppers. Natural dry flies to fish include Caddis (14) in tan or olive, PMDs (14-16), Yellow Stimulators (12-14) as well as ant and beetle patterns (12-14). Attractor dry flies like a Parachute Adams, Purple Haze, Royal Wulff, Trude or Humpys in sizes 12-16 round out our topwater suggestions. If you want to fish subsurface stick with your standard Caddis Pupa (14), Prince Nymphs, Copper Johns, Batman, Hare’s Ear or Pheasant Tails in sizes 12-16. — East Rosebud Fly Shop, Billings.
Rock Creek (West) — These waters are fishing well. The spruce moths are there some days and the next they seem gone. Hoppers, ants (16-18) and beetles are becoming more of an option. Keep them in the 12-16 range and drop a small Perdigon or Prince off the back. Attractor dries like Royal Wulffs, P-Hazes, Para-Wulffs, Hippie Stompers and Stimiulators, especially on the upper creek, have been good options. — Grizzly Hackle Fly Shop, Missoula.
Spring Creek — Browns and rainbows have been caught using nymphs and dry flies. Might see a bump in flows due to some rainfall. — Sport Center, Lewistown.
Stillwater River — Water flows have continued to drop after a spike last week. The upper river is pretty much done for float fishing. Anglers are picking up fish on big dries like PMXs, Stimulators, Jack Cabe and smaller size Chubbies in the early morning to midafternoon. Dropper nymphs like smaller Prince Nymphs, Red Copper Johns and Lil’ Spankers are picking up fish. Straight nymphing with a double nymph setup of a bigger rubberleg like a Girdle Bug or Pat’s Rubberleg along with a smaller beadhead nymph like a Prince or Batman has been productive. Some PMDs and yellow Sallies are still sporadically coming off mid-morning, so a PMD nymph as a dropper is picking up fish as well as a small dry pattern dropper. There may be an afternoon lull in the heat of the day. Later in the afternoon, look for caddis. A smaller size Stimulator should get some action. Another good combination has been to fish a double dry setup with a Purple Haze as a lead spotter fly trailed by a Jack Cabe (14) or Stimulator (14). Stillwater fish love the Jack Cabe. The rubberleg variant has been effective as a big dry pattern. — Stillwater Anglers, Columbus.
Swan Lake — The pike fishing has been slow recently. — Zimmer Tackle, Pablo.
Tongue River Reservoir — The bass bite has been phenomenal. Multiple bass have been caught with presentations of jerkbaits, Twister Tails and spinners. The walleye bite has been decent from daylight to sunset with worms or jigs. Crappie have been caught in 20-30 feet vertical jigging with worms or trolling at about 1 mph. The northern bite is a surprise when searching for other species. — Tongue River Marina.
Yellowstone River, Columbus — Hopper patterns like a Fat Frank, Yellowstone Hopper, Water Walkers or Chubby in peach, olive, purple or tan size 6-10 have been working. It’s also time to break out the Pink Pookie. Try fishing a double Hopper setup with a smaller hopper pattern like an Otter Hopper or Parachute Hopper trailed off the bigger pattern. During the afternoon fishing a double dry fly setup of a Jack Cabe and a Purple Haze searching likely water will produce. Nymph fisherman should have success with a big rubberleg fished down deep. Also try dead drifting Buggers. The Grinch and Electric Goldfish are always good for streamer fishing. Fish are being located in moving water that has some definition, deeper buckets and along gravel bars. — Stillwater Anglers, Columbus.
Yellowstone River, Huntley — The smallmouth bass fishing has been very good recently using crawler harnesses. — Huntley Bait and Tackle.
Yellowstone River, Livingston — Hoppers, Stoneflies, Caddis, Drakes, PMDs and worms are all on the menu. Midday has been fishing a little tough with the high sun and lack of clouds. Morning Chubby/droppers for the nocturnals, and afternoon Hopper/dropper rigs tight to the bank have resulted in some big fish hitting the net, along with lots of whitefish on the dropper. We have had some good reports from anglers getting fish on streamers, as well. Try stripping small and flashy streamers through the faster water. The evening caddis hatch has been great and will have lots of fish looking up. Shorter nymph rigs with some serious split shot also be productive. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.
Bighorn Lake, Horseshoe Bend — Trout, smallmouth bass, sauger and catfish have been caught at the docks. At the state line, walleye and bass anglers are catching. — Horseshoe Bend Marina.
Bighorn River, Thermopolis — Nymph and streamer fishing is the name of the game with some dries later in the day on Caddis and Midges. We are having great success on float trips at Wedding of the Waters to Thermopolis. Lots of grass and moss due to the increasing water temps. Nymphs: Zebra Midges, San Juan Worms, Yum Yum Scud, pink Soft Hackle Sowbug, Yuk Bugs, Pat's Rubberlegs, Jig-head nymphs, Midge Pupa, Wire Worm, and small North Fork Specials in black or tan. Streamers: Leeches, Woolly Buggers, Cone-Head Zonkers, Double Bunnies, Sex Dungeons and Muddler Minnows. The hatches popping right now are caddis and midges. Cicadas and hoppers are getting attention in the Wind River Canyon and on the float into Thermopolis. Dries: Griffith’s Gnats, Rojo Midge, Parachute Adams, Hemingway Caddis, Elk Hair Caddis, Dave’s Hopper, and Wade's Natural Horror. — North Fork Anglers, Cody.
Buffalo Bill Reservoir — Copper and silver spinners and spoons have been working very well recently. — Rocky Mountain Discount Sports, Cody.
Clarks Fork — The river is fishable. Salmonflies and golden stones are on the water later in the day. Green drakes, yellow Sallies and caddis are also flying around. If you’re fishing the lower canyon section the water is still heavy. Wade the edges. Look for rattlesnakes! Mosquitoes are also a nuisance. Golden stones, salmonflies and caddis are active. Some green drakes and yellow Sallies near the canyon and downstream through the prairie country. Dry/dropper or going deep with weighted nymphs recommended. — North Fork Anglers, Cody.
East and West Newton Lakes — The lakes are fishing OK. Water temps in the high 60s. East Newton is fishing fair except early morning or late in the evening. Trout numbers (rainbows, browns, tiger trout and splake) are down and the size of the lake has doubled, which spreads out the trout. Access and parking is limited to the southwest corner of the former parking lot. The West Lake is fuller compared to past years. Cutthroat are the only species of trout in the lake. Nonnative goldfish have been introduced into the West Lake. The West Lake is fishing well. Fish the trees and shoreline structure where the trout seem to be holding. A float tube, small pontoon boat or larger is better to fish from than wading the edges due to water levels. Callibaetis, midges, caddis and damselflies are active on both lakes. Ants, beetles and now hoppers are the terrestrial insects on the lake. Flies: Buggers, Ice Cream Cones, Chironomid pupae and larvae, Clouser Minnows, Scuds, Wade’s black North Fork Special, Wire Worms, Damsel nymphs, light Cahills, Parachute Adams, tan Sparkle Caddis, Wade’s Bow-Tie Midge and adult Damsels. Trina’s Ant, Wades’ Horror, Magic Beetle and Joe’s Hopper for terrestrial imitations. — North Fork Anglers, Cody.
Lower Shoshone — Fish the canyon and the section through town. Wade carefully. Caddis, and golden stoneflies are out in the canyon. Some action on these flies in the slower sections. Not much dry fly action due to flows below town. Wet flies: Purple and Peacock Prince, San Juan Worms, Pat’s Rubberlegs, black Girdle Bugs and black North Fork Specials. Streamers: Orange Blossom, black, brown or dark olive Zonkers, darker colored Sculpinators, JJ Special Conehead, Black Peanut Envy, dark Sex Dungeons, black or brown Krystal Buggers and other dark streamers that have a lot of hackle or movement. — North Fork Anglers, Cody.
North Fork of the Shoshone — The river has cleared, but flows are swift and heavy in the Wapiti Valley. Hatches: Green drakes, caddis, yellow Sallies, golden stoneflies. Hoppers are out on the lower river. Evening caddis and yellow Sally activity is good the entire length of the river. Wet flies: larger black North Fork Specials, Fat Bastard, Epoxy Stone, Double Beaded Stones, Pat’s Rubberlegs, Girdle Bugs, all in sizes 2-8. Dries: Tan, purple or gold Chubby Chucks, Green Drake Wulffs, Parachute Green Drakes, Royal Trudes, Royal Wulffs. — North Fork Anglers, Cody.
Upper and Lower Sunshine Reservoirs — Leech patterns have been very effective this time of year. Beadhead nymphs stripped or slow trolled behind a kick boat or float tube also works well. Scuds best if fishing the bottom near the shoreline. Damselflies are out right now. Anglers should fish damsel nymphs, soft-hackled Bloody Mary’s and Midge Pupae. On the lower, larger streamers are effective for splake and tiger trout. In shallower water, Leeches, Scuds, beadhead nymphs, Zebra Midges, Bow-tie Midges and Wire Worms as do Hoppers and larger ant or beetle patterns. — North Fork Anglers, Cody.
Yellowstone National Park (Slough, Lamar, Soda Butte) — These waters continue to fish well when the conditions are clear. Recent rains have had them running high and off-color. PMDs have been going strong, with a few green drakes still in the mix. Terrestrials are also a great choice, so have plenty of foam flies to throw when fish aren't rising. Longhorn Beetles (10), Stubby Ants (12-14) and pink Thunder Thighs Hoppers (14) and Morrish Hoppers will all be great choices, along with PMDs (16) and Green Drake Sparkle Duns (12) and Razor Mayflies. — Blue Ribbon Flies, West Yellowstone.
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