The Best Season of All


Finally, Fall has arrived in Missoula.  Among anglers it is one of the most anticipated events of the year.  It has been a long hot summer, too long for fly fishers and we eagerly welcome the cool weather of autumn.  The next 30 days or so will offer some of the most consistent and best dry fly fishing of the season.

Terrestrials like hoppers, ants, and beetles are still a factor but the main attraction  during fall is the big mayfly hatches of Hecubas, Tricos, Mahagonies, and Blue-wing Olives.  Top it all off with giant October caddis and there is no need to worry if you will get to fish dry flies, the only question is how many different hatches you will see during the day.

Trico Hatch on the Clark Fork

Trico Hatch on the Clark Fork.

Streamer junkies will get their fix in the fall too.  While the dry fly fishing is great, this is undeniably the best time of year to throw streamers for big aggressive trout.  Those alpha fish are looking to pack on as much weight as possible before the icy days of winter arrive.  Anglers willing to hunt the meat eaters all day are rewarded with trout measured in pounds not inches.

Big brown trout that fell to a streamer

Big brown trout that fell to a streamer.

While local fly fishermen certainly take advantage of the great fall fishing, the biggest boon has to go to the visiting angler.  Montanans simply have too much to do.  There is fishing, upland bird and waterfowl hunting, archery season, Grizzly football and precious little time to fit it all in.  Nonresidents are often greeted by uncrowded rivers, prolific hatches, and no shortage of hungry trout.

Fall dry fly fishing on the Bitterroot River

Fall dry fly fishing on the Bitterroot River.

If the unbelievable fishing isn’t enough for you, keep in mind that the fall season offers spectacular scenery on the rivers of western Montana.  Catching trout amidst the stunning cottonwoods and larches is a dream for most but it’s not too late to make it a reality this year.

Fall scenery around Missoula speaks for itself

Fall scenery around Missoula speaks for itself.

Tight Lines,

–Tony Reinhardt


Tony Reinhardt BioTony Reinhardt is the owner, outfitter for Montana Trout Outfitters in Missoula.  He has been a guide on the rivers of western Montana for 16 years and absolutely loves his job.  When he’s not working you’ll find him fishing with his two children or in the woods hunting.