Fall Fishing Forecast For Montana

Like a challenge?  Try 22 inches of Missouri River rainbow trout on a size 20 trico dryfly.

Like a challenge?  Try 22 inches of Missouri River rainbow trout on a size 20 trico dryfly.

We are exactly one month away from the Autumnal Equinox, but in Montana the 1st of September usually announces the end of summer and the start to our favorite season, the Fall. Archery hunters are already afield chasing pronghorn antelope, upland bird hunting opens next week, elk will be in full rut within a month, and some of our best fishing of the season is still to come.

The best part of fall fishing is that the summer swelter has passed. We don't like the heat and neither do the trout! Nighttime temps have begun to drop and so has water temperatures in most of our rivers, which is a good thing. Hopefully the wildfire smoke will also pass, no guarantees on that, but it certainly hasn't affected our fishing productivity. For sure we will be able to reset the alarm clock for more gentlemanly fishing hours, and before we know it the trees will turn and the Big Sky scenery will put on a show.

What do we love most about the fall fishing season in Montana?  Here's the short list:

  • There's still some summer fishing to be had - hopper opportunities will continue into early  October.
  • Our trout are at the physical peak in the fall, so searching for long and thick fish is fun and gets results.
  • Our trout know winter is coming so they must strap on the feedbag one more time before they take a long, cold nap.
  • The worse the weather gets, the better the fishing will be. We cheer for clouds and cool temps because it makes the trout happy. Pack some layers and hope you'll need them.
  • Some of our favorite hatches come off in the fall, most notably the Blue Winged Olive mayfly, a wild trout fave.
  • We have at least two more months of prime-time fishing left, and another month that can be real good if the weather holds, so there is plenty of time to treat yourself to one more Montana fishing adventure this year.