Fall Fly Fishing in Western Montana


What is the best time to fish in Montana?  I hear this question all the time, and my answer is always the same.  September is always the best month to fish here, and that will never change.  The weather is usually mid 60’s or mid 70’s, and there are always big fish eating may flies every day.

All of the big fish that have been hiding from the hot summer sun for 2 months will all come out of their hiding places to eat readily again.   This is also the most beautiful time of the year to be in Montana so on most days I have a hard time caring if any fish get caught at all anyways.

As the hopper fishing begins to slow down, and the tube hatch finally begins to dwindle, we see the emergence of some of the greatest hatches of the season.  Blue wing olives, Mahogonies, Tricos, and Hecubas should pop on a daily basis very soon, and the fish will respond.

We have already seen some Mahogonies on the Clark Fork, and Tricos have had fish up on the Bitterroot for a couple of weeks.  September in Montana is truly some of the greatest dry fly fishing on earth, and this year shouldn’t disappoint.

So make some time in between football games, bow hunting, and bird hunting, and get to the river a few more times before winter sneaks up on us again.  Even if you only make it out to the river one more time this season, we promise it will be worth it.  After all, it’s hard to complain when you are consistently watching big rainbows, and giant browns eating size 16-20 dry flies pretty much all day long.

Enjoy this blog? Please leave comments in the Facebook commenting box below and be sure to click the +1 button.   Be sure to visit our Make it Missoula fishing page.  And Check out Matt and Bryce’s other blogs: Ode to Brown Trout,  The Four Stages of Fly Fishing, The Trip of all Fly Fishing Trips, and Missouri River Fishing–Trout Mecca of Montana.

If you enjoy western Montana lakes and rivers, you might also enjoy our page on Missoula kayaking and rafting.


Photos of Missoula Fly Fishing Experts Matt Devlin and Bryce McLeanBryce McLean:  (Right) I was born and raised in Montana, and have been fly fishing here for almost 20 years.  I first learned to fish on the Missouri River, but when I was 10 my family moved to the Bitterroot Valley. I have been fishing the Bitterroot River ever since.  This will be my second season guiding the Missoula area rivers, which I consider to be some of the best trout fisheries on planet earth. Matt Devlin:  (Left) Matt is originally from Annapolis, Maryland and learned to fool trout on the technical waters of the Gunpowder River.  He has fished in Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Main,e, Michigan, Indiana, North and South Carolina, Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Washington, Idaho and Montana.  He thinks about flies and fishing a whole lot.