Montana Statewide Fishing Report Compilation 9.21.22

We survived another week! The forecast is certainly looking up for next week, with plenty of fall weather in all 10 days. I’m lovin ‘it. This is the kind of weather we all look forward to. Is it fall fishing here? Not yet, but it’s pretty close!


At the risk of sounding like a broken record here, late summer conditions have continued on the Yellowstone River. The days have been hot, the air has been smoky, and the hoppers have been running. Bright sun is not good for dry fly fishing, but oncoming clouds could make that better. Think of it this way: if you were looking at the glare of a bright day without sunglasses, would you like it?

Hoppers and terrestrials like ants and beetles are the name of the game at the top. Our fall hatches are still far away, so you might as well catch a grasshopper or a large attractor with a nymph on the back. If you don’t have much success at the top, catching two sub flies is a great option. A larger pattern like rubber feet, mega prince, or drifting dead streamer with a nymph attractor behind it works quite well. If you just want action, put a hare’s ear or a firefly on the white fish.

The river from Mayor’s to Sheep Mountain remains closed. Remember that Sheep Mountain does NOT have an approved boat ramp, and do not drive through the dry channel to put a boat down. Once they can get the old rail bridge out on 89, hopefully this stretch of river will open up. .

Falling in Yellowstone is really amazing. Coming soon…


Same thing at Madison. Autumn is fast approaching. The late summer pattern on the Upper Madison River continues with some pretty good fishing on hoppers and hopper/dropper rigs. Grounders are the name of the game right now and don’t overlook the ants and beetles. The key fall hatches are getting closer, but they are still ahead of us.

Many people look forward to streamer fishing in Upper Madison, and with good reason. It’s the season for a good chance of catching the biggest fish of the year. Break the 7wt and swing towards the fences.

Lower Madison is still the realm of tubers and re-enactors, and while the Hoot Owl restriction has been lifted, there are better options for anglers. If you just have to fish the Bass, float below Black’s Ford or hike up Bear Trap Canyon. As the colder weather in the forecast reduces the number of recreationists, the fishing will improve. Stay tuned. The Lower Madison can be a great fall fishery.


Late summer conditions persist on the Gallatin River. We are encouraging people to fish in the canyon and higher and not mess with things in the valley. There are no restrictions on that water, but it needs a little break and will only get better as temperatures get cooler.

Things are fishing reasonably well in the canyon, though watch out for algae blooms below Big Sky. There are plenty of access options, which is great since this stretch of the river is always pretty busy. Bring some grasshoppers and attractors up, and your “standard” nymphs for below the surface. Perdigon style flies are doing well.

Like anywhere else, we’re waiting for our fall hatches to spring into action. Not bad now, but soon it will be much better here.


As water temperatures slowly recover from summer highs, restrictions are lifted, and we shift more into the fall pattern across the state, there are plenty of options for fishing in southwestern Montana. Explore a bit. Take that ride you’ve always wanted, spend a weekend day testing some new water.

The high country still beckons these days, and September is one of the best hiking and backpacking months of the year. The highland lakes still fish well, and the small water is well worth the effort. This can be one of the most rewarding catches you’ll find around here, even if the fish are small. The effort required to get there is not equal to the size of the fish, but we’d say the experience more than makes up for it.


Things are slowly starting to slow down in Livingston. We had our first rainy day yesterday too long ago and we have more in the forecast. Walking through the city you can start to see the first color change of the fall season. It’s just that time of year. We’re starting to see a subtle shift in what people are buying for next season here in the store.

Our fly bins are packed for the upcoming fall fishing, and we’re excited to be your one-stop shop for all your fishing, camping, biking, and hiking needs. We are starting to get fall clothing and gear to keep you warm and dry during your time outside.

Stop by our store or call us at 406.222.1673 for the latest information and tips on where to go. Tight lines this week!