Fishing Report Updated October 31, 2023

This Montana fishing report is valid from November 1 until the next big cold snap or November 20, whichever comes first. Many of our individual fishing reports pages were updated today.

We are now tiptoeing into early winter fishing conditions on most area waters, mostly due to a recent extreme cold/snowy spell that’s on its way out. Water temps are in the 30s now, but will rise into the 40s again later this week. The midafternoon hatches and the nymph and streamer fishing for larger brown trout will improve with this warmup (subject to snowmelt), but consistent fishing for numbers of trout is about done until April in most areas.

Note that the Yellowstone Park season is now closed until Memorial Day Weekend (“now” being sunset on Halloween, actually about 3hr from the time we’re writing this).

The Yellowstone River is a good bet on warmer afternoons. Look for midge and BWO hatches or fish stonefly nymphs, eggs, and streamers in the deep runs downstream from riffle spawning areas. Do not fish shallow gravel; the brown trout are spawning and it is more than shady to harass them while they’re in the act.

The lower Madison River is warmer than other area rivers and should see more consistent hatches than other open rivers. Otherwise, fish streamers.

The Paradise Valley spring creeks are probably the best bet overall until at least March, but they do cost a pretty penny. Fish eggs, San Juan Worms, and BWO nymphs downstream of gravel spawning areas. You can also strip/swing medium-sized Woolly Buggers and similar streamers. Keep an eye out for BWO and midge hatches after lunch.

If you’re up for hitting the road… The Bighorn and Missouri Rivers are excellent choices through November due to their warmer water compared to our local rivers. Streamer fishing and BWO hatches are the top draws for the next couple weeks.

Yellowstone Park is closed to fishing. It used to be open through this upcoming Sunday, but that rule changed a couple years ago for some reason.

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Relevant Montana Fishing Report Links