Fishing Report Updated October 9, 2021

This Montana fishing report is valid from October 9 until about October 20, when the brown trout begin spawning heavily in earnest.

Cold, wet fall weather has finally arrived. We actually seem to be skipping fall, with heavy snow in the forecast for the early part of next week. Even so, we’re glad for the change. It will pump up BWO hatches to a degree, but it’ll really improve the brown trout fishing in all areas that produce strong pre-spawn brownie fishing (the browns also get the resident fish moving around and feeling frisky). In general, the browns begin spawning around October 20, which is when the equation changes again.

Most fishing now is in larger and/or warmer water: the Yellowstone River, private lakes, and geothermally-influenced water in YNP. These locations are where we’ll do all of our fishing and guiding for the remainder of the year.

Overall, fishing quality is at a 0-9 out of 10, with quality depending on being on the right water when the weather is both tolerable and not too bright. The following are top fisheries right now. Use the reports menu to visit specific reports pages. All reports were updated on October 9. Some will be updated again on the 20th, some in mid-November, some not until spring.

  • The Yellowstone River will produce good BWO hatches in the afternoons when water temps are above about 47 degrees and it isn’t too windy. Look for these hatches after lunch. Absent a hatch, throw streamers hoping for a big brown or two. Nymphing the deep slots (or fishing a #8-12 Woolly Bugger like a nymph, under an indicator) can also work well now, with rainbows more common than the browns. Avoid the shallow water: it’ll either have early spawning browns or nothing. Avoid the fast water, too. The water’s now too cold.
  • Private Lakes are in some cases closed as their owners prepare for elk hunting, but those that are open will produce lots of big fish on nymphs and streamers.
  • Geothermal Rivers in YNP may produce BWO hatches, and on the Firehole still a few White Miller hatches.
  • Rivers that receive fall brown trout in YNP will have their best brownie fishing of the year from now until the 20th, basically when the spawn begins and you have to start getting cautious about where you step/fish. Some also have BWO hatches.
  • For a change of pace, throw streamers in the Lewis River and Lewis Lake in YNP. Heck of a drive from here, though.

Relevant Montana Fishing Report Links