Happy September! While it has been unusually hot, we have the first cooldown on the horizon and it looks like things are closer to fall. A low of 34 forecast for tonight will put a definite cut in the air. Fall fishing is right around the corner, but we’re still solidly in late summer territory right now.
YELLOW STONE RIVER
The Yellowstone River remains in late summer conditions. The water is low, the afternoons are slower than the mornings, there is not much hatching. The jumpers are out, and they make a great platform to hang a little nymph from the back. Better to fish in two zones with a hopper/dropper rig rather than staring at a cork with two nymphs this time of year!
With the heat, the mornings have been fishing better than noon for the night. Leave early and you will be rewarded. Please note that Mayor’s Landing to Sheep Mountain remains closed for all recreational use. FWP also asked us today to remind people that there is no boat ramp on Sheep Mountain and you cannot drive through the dry channel to drop off your boat. Apparently this has become a thing with a decent amount of people doing it. Nope.
Things are fishing reasonably well, with hoppers and attractors working on top. Drifting dead streamers, flashy nymph attractors, and basic patterns like pheasant tails, hare ears, and princes all work well. Have you ever fished a jig pattern? This is the time to start!
Things are going to get better as we move further into fall. Come fishing on the Yellowstone River in October and see what all the fuss is about.
Our tip for the Lower Madison bleachers: avoid it. Fall is amazing on this river, but it is yet to come.
The Upper Madison has been fishing well. Things have slowed down a bit since we’re in the late summer pattern (since everything slows down a bit this time of year), but there are still very nice things to find. This coffee captured by Keenan, a friend of store manager Rob, is proof of that!
Jumpers, grounders, and attractors are all working above, but you’ll have the best success below the surface. What we would be fishing for would be pheasant tails, copper breeches, fireflies, whips, and little drifting dead streamers. On a jig hook if possible. Fish the good water well and you will find fish. Try to avoid the middle of the day if possible. Launching a little later in the day (after 11am or so) will almost ensure you’ll get some solitude on the river.
Same thing at the Gallatin this week. It is late summer. Avoid fishing below the canyon if you can, the water is still pretty shallow and warm. You’ll find most of the fishing pressure below Big Sky all the way to the mouth of the canyon. Big Sky’s algal plume continues. Avoid the crowds by going higher.
The Gallatin is a great fishery that everyone loves, but it really gets better once things start to cool down. Stay tuned.
The end of summer is an interesting time in Montana and every other mountain destination. Flows are low, water temperature is high. Fish early in the day to beat the heat, play your fish quickly, and release them as soon as you can. There’s a lot of water that should probably be left alone this time of year, but one place that isn’t is the high country.
Lakes, creeks, and streams are a great option this time of year for reasons we’ve mentioned over and over in previous reports. Go hiking, biking and backpacking and go find some fish in really cold waters in truly spectacular places. The fish may not be huge, but the experience certainly is.
Another place we haven’t talked about in a long time is Spring Creeks, south of Livingston. This is the time of year when you start to see a little more availability on the calendar and the fishing can be very good. Spring streams maintain a nearly constant flow and temperature throughout the year, and are an excellent choice for fresh water. These trout are spooky and demanding any time of year, but especially now after a season of pressure. Bring your game A…
LIVINGSTON AND SHOP
We are starting to see a noticeable change in tourist traffic here in Livingston. The families are long gone and the off-season visitors are starting to trickle in. The volume of traffic in the fall is considerably less, the weather is very pleasant, and the fishing is excellent. Come see for yourself why fall is the best season in Montana!
Our store is still on summer hours from 8 am to 6 pm (8 am to 3 pm on Sundays), and we are just starting to get the first fall arrivals. Stay warm on cold mornings! We have the flies, gear, rods, reels and more you need to enjoy your time here.
Visit us and tell us how fishing has been for you. Tight lines this week!