Montana fly fishing in October
October 18, 2012
Bozeman - Freshwater Fishing Report
October is here and it is time to swing for the fences! October is well known for being one of the best months for landing trophy sized brown trout. Browns will be beginning to spawn in November but they are already moving in the rivers and becoming more aggressive. The fish are colored up and spectacular right now. Doug Casey landed a 25" brown with the Hixson party last week and the Allison party roped a 22" and 25" brown the other day with guide Adam Shaw-Doran on the Yellowstone River. The hunt for big fish should only get better as we move farther into the fall.
So where to go to target huge browns? Any of the larger river systems that hold big fish can produce a monster including the Yellowstone, Lower Madison, Upper Madison, Jefferson and Missouri to name a few. There are also some interesting locations where big browns run out of lakes and into rivers that include the Madison in Yellowstone Park, the Madison between the lakes and the Missouri both above Canyon Ferry and between the lakes near Beaver Creek. The better known fall spawning runs aren't a secret so expect to see a few other anglers on the more famous ones like the Madison in the park and between the lakes on the Mo. Some of the "regular rivers" like the Yellowstone and Madison are still a great bet in the fall and you won't see a lot of pressure and you often have a great shot at roping big fish when playing with the resident population. Big trout fall to a variety of patterns and techniques. Stripping streamers on clouding days can be exciting and productive, especially when the water temps aren't too cold. As water temps become cooler traditional nymphing techniques are still productive. Dead drifting favorite streamers trailed by baetis nymphs is a good bet. Egg patterns also become productive again since both whitefish and browns spawn in the fall.
Fall water temperatures result in great fishing on all of our regular summer time favorites like the Gallatin, Upper Madison and Yellowstone but there are several low elevation fisheries that come into shape in the fall. Some of the waters around Three Forks like the Lower Madison, Jefferson and Missouri are too warm most of the summer but when temps start dropping they are a viable option. The catch on the lower rivers is that there aren't a lot of trout but if you don't mind just a few hookups it can be a fresh option this time of year.
October isn't completely about catching huge browns. There is also some great dry fly fishing to be had in the fall months. Baetis mayflies rule the roost when it comes to autumn hatches. These smaller size 18 and 20" insects will be in much greater abundance on cloudy days but even on a sunny day they can be important. Don't forget about terrestrials in early October. Hoppers and ants can still turn fish on a warm and sunny afternoon in the fall. If you are a dry fly aficionado the spring creeks near Livingston are a great option with reduced rates and a daily hatch of BWO's.
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