Montana Fly Fishing Report


Beaverhead River, Big Hole River, and Madison River 2016 Season Outlook & 2015 Montana Fly Fishing Report 

Backcountry Angler Newsletter December 4, 2015

Montana Fly Fishing Report  Montana Fly Fishing Report

2015 has been another great fishing year in Southwestern Montana. This time of year the colors are beautiful, the wildlife are moving around more and the fish are active. The area snow pack was good in the spring and the fishing on our area waters have been world class as always. According to Montana Fish. Wildlife & Parks - "The Beaverhead River is one of Montana's premier brown trout fishing rivers, producing more large trout, particularly brown trout, than any other river in the state." The local FWP fisheries biologist, Matt Yeager, is working on some great projects to benefit the Beaverhead River. The Big Hole River is one of the most scenic and productive rivers in the state and will be a great choice for anglers as well our other area waters. The Beaverhead Watershed Committee has a great project in-the-works to enhance the waters in Poindexter Slough Public Spring Creek. The upper half of the creek has been enhanced. If funds are obtained work will continue on the lower half. If you would like to contribute to this incredible spring creek that is open to the public we can direct you to the name and address of the fund. Just call or email us. And, we will get you the details.

 We have great fishing on the Beaverhead as well as the Big Hole, and Madison rivers. Our area rivers offer some of the best fly fishing in Montana for wild trout.  The Beaverhead, Big Hole and Madison rivers all are fishing well this season. April was outstanding with very few anglers to compete with. April can be one of the best months for large numbers of fish caught. Early April is pre run-off with some of the most consistent water flows and productive fishing of the season.  April started the season off with a bang - lots of bugs, fish and happy fishermen. May was a great month also with the Caddis hatch. May is always a BIG FISH month - Tom and Andy taped a number of big fish in the 23"+ class. These were  on the Beaverhead and the Big Hole Rivers. June and July were the height of the season with prolific hatches, and good fishing but the largest number of anglers - a very popular time. August is always a great month for the fair weather fishermen with consistent weather and fewer people than June and July. The Spruce Moths, Tricos and Hoppers can produce some of the most consistent dry fly fishing of the season. Another added bonus in late August/early September is the Crane Fly hatch on the Beaverhead. During August Clark Canyon Reservoir can be off the charts with large numbers of big fish being caught. The ice came off the reservoir mid-April and the fishing was good throughout the spring.

 September brought slightly cooler temperatures with good fishing, solitude, and brilliant colors. Hopper fishing is good in September. This is one of our favorite times of the year. Fish were be caught by all. October is an outstanding month - fall colors, few people, and great fishing all the way to the end of the month.

                                                                   Montana Fly Fishing ReportEveryone is absolutely in love with the Great Room at the River Lodge this season which has a wonderful gallery of photographs of the area displayed for your enjoyment. . The pool table is getting lots of use for evening entertainment.  The wood stove has been keeping everyone cozy in the cool evening hours after a productive day on the water. It seems to be the preferred location to gather for a few fish tales.    

 Seasons of the Rivers:                          

The Big Hole -  April to the beginning of May can have great fishing with Skwalas on warmer days and also streamer and nymph fishing. The Mother’s Day Caddis comes off  the middle to end of May. The Salmon Fly hatch came off prior to the middle of June. There were many excellent days of fishing during this time period. We spend a lot of days on the Big Hole river throughout the season. During July the river fished well on dries, nymphs, and terrestrials. August was a great dry fly month for , Tricos, Hoppers, and Ants. September was a transitional month from summer to fall with few fishermen, fall colors and great fishing with Tricos, hoppers, terrestrials and nymphs. All of October was outstanding using streamers and nymph patterns. Fishing was excellent this past fall. There was a new stream flow gauge installed at Maiden Rock the winter of'07/'08. Because of the location of this new gauge there is no question that the Big Hole will remain open throughout the season from Dickie Bridge to Melrose. This is the most productive section of the river. The Big Hole river has improvements at several fishing access sites along the river. The diversion dam above Divide has also been improved. 

                                 Montana Fly Fishing Report  The Beaverhead - In April and early May there is excellent fishing due mainly to strong Caddis and Blue Wing Olive Mayfly hatches, and small nymphs. The secret is still not out about the great early spring fishing. Early June has outstanding nymph fishing with fewer anglers than later in the month when the PMD's and Yellow Sally hatches started. July has great dry fly fishing with Yellow Sallies continuing throughout the month and great nymph fishing. In August  the fishing pressure slows down and anglers have Tricos, hoppers, terrestrials and nymph fishing. Near the end of August the Crane Fly hatch begins and continues into September when you can also have hopper and nymph fishing. In October the Browns start to spawn and the fish get more aggressive. The Beaverhead is a tailwater fishery. It is known as a fish producing factory due to its nutrient rich waters. Beaverhead River is one of Montana's premier brown trout fishing rivers, producing more large trout, particularly brown trout, than any other river in the state." The local FWP fisheries biologist, Matt Yeager, is working hard on some great innovative projects on the Beaverhead River to further enhance one of the best wild trout fisheries in the country.

Montana Fly Fishing ReportThe Madison The Madison had great spring fishing near Varney with a heavy midge hatch, and some Blue Wing Olives and March Browns. However, nymph fishing is the most productive method to catch numbers of fish. The fish are healthy and stout having come through the winter well. April fishing is some of the best of the season due to few people and willing fish. We filmed a segment on Madison Spring Fishing for the Outdoor Channel Familiar Waters with Mike Pawlawski. The middle to end of June often sees high water. The Salmon Fly Hatch comes off towards the end of June. The Caddis hatch is heavy after that throughout July and early August. Then hoppers and terrestrials kick-in for August and September. Streamer fishing picks up in October.


The Ruby - The Ruby is always a star in the spring before the irrigation season.  Nymphs always work, with some excellent Blue Wing Olive and Caddis hatches in the early spring.

We are having a busy Season. Our loyal return cliental are already firmly ensconced in the books for the new year. All of us at Backcountry Angler join in expressing our appreciation and thank-you for your continued friendship and patronage. It is because of you that our season was a great success.

    Time has a way of passing so quickly that we sometimes loose track of our priorities in life. If you have any inkling of fishing the Dillon area make sure we get you in the loop and on the books now.  We are very fortunate to have many rivers to chose from thereby having a fishing season that goes from end of April through October.  We are presently full during certain time periods for the upcoming season but we can always fit you in if you are somewhat flexible on your dates.  Montana Fly Fishing Report Montana Fly Fishing Report

As another season of fishing approaches we anticipate again the wonders of nature and relaxation in the outdoors of which we all need. Do you remember your feelings when you are on a beautiful stream with your fly rod in hand - a strike hits - the beauty of the fish caught - the gentle release back its own habitat - looking around at all the scenery of the hills, mountains, trees, and sagebrush - listening to the rush of the water - the stillness of the stream. Life is too short and too hectic to let these moments escape even for a year.

We hope to hear from you soon and see you fly fishing Montana. We are looking forward to a great fishing season. Treat yourself to the beauty of nature and a wonderful time away from your day-to-day existence. We anticipate hearing from you. Come Join Us!

Best Regards & Good Fishing,

Tom & Mary & Tippet Montana Fly Fishing Report

Montana Fly Fishing Report

The most often asked question is:


The answer is “WHENEVER YOU CAN GET HERE.” We have numerous waters to choose from and usually point our rigs towards the rivers that are fishing the best. We start fishing in April and fish through the end of October. April and May can be great fishing with a solitary experience, spring storms are possible. The Big Hole is a star this time of year! PRIVATE SPRING CREEKS are optimal for dry fly fishing NOW. Beatis, Midges and early Caddis are possible. October - the later the better if you want solitude. Fall storms are possible, but it could also be 60+ degrees. Streamer fishing for the BIG BROWNS.

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BEAVERHEAD RIVER  Tail water clear all year can be good on dries & streamer, nymphs good all year

April1     May1     June1     July1     Aug1     Sept1     Oct1     Nov1


Baetis & Midges          PMD__________   Craneflies             Baetis

        Mother's Day Caddis      Caddis______ Terrestrials Streamers_

                                 Yellow Sallies_Tricos

BIG HOLE RIVER run-off 1st week of June free flowing river no dams can be good on dries & streamers, nymphs all year

April1     May1     June1     July1     Aug1     Sept1     Oct1     Nov1

Baetis                   Salmonfly  Caddis___ Tricos & Terrestrials

     Mother's Day Caddis      PMD________                      Streamers(solitude)

        Skawala        Drake Golden Stones_ Spruce Moths_ Baetis_______

MADISON RIVER run off mid-June, lots of riffles, pocket water, nice runs lower sections can be good on dries & streamers, nymphs all year especially good in April/May.

April1     May1     June1     July1     Aug1     Sept1     Oct1     Nov1

Streamers                            Salmonfly Terrestrials_____Fall Streamers___

Drakes                         Caddis_________

Baetis & Midges                  Flavs & Yellow Sallies

RUBY RIVER tailwater can be good on dries & streamers, nymphs all year

 April1     May1     June1     July1     Aug1     Sept1     Oct1     Nov1

 Baetis & Midges          PMD___________  Tricos Terrestrials  Baetis__

                                                              Craneflies____ Fall Streamers


POINDEXTER SLOUGH A public spring creek, technical, can be good on dries & streamers, nymphs all year

April1     May1     June1     July1     Aug1     Sept1     Oct1     Nov1

Baetis                    PMD____________Tricos   Terrestrials    Baetis

HIGH MOUNTAIN LAKES & STREAMS can be a great option for those willing to do a little hiking in beautiful country. Lots of willing fish and awesome scenery, few if any people. Hatches depend upon the elevation and time of year. Hatches include numerous Mayflies, Caddis and Terrestrials throughout the season.






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