Fall Fly Fishing in Missoula–The Anglers’ Time


For many Missoulians fall is their favorite time of year and for good reason.  There are so many things going on in the few precious weeks of autumn; hunting seasons open, Grizzly football is in full gear, and the fly fishing is some of the best of the year.  For dedicated anglers this is a perfect recipe for isolated rivers and great fishing.

The summer tourists are long gone, the inner tubes filled with young kids have vanished, and many of the locals are preoccupied with archery season, bird season, or football.  The river corridors are alive with the changing colors of fall, and the streams are full of aggressive trout looking to pack on as much weight as possible before winter sets in.  It is the ideal scenario for those who look to their fly rods above all else.

Fall Fly Fishing on the Bitterroot River.

The Bitterroot in Full Fall Colors. Photo by © Tony Reinhardt

It gets even better when you consider that the best fishing occurs during bankers’ hours and a dry fly is often the most effective approach.  No need for an early start this time of year.  Water temps are dropping which means that the best fishing is often from late morning to early afternoon.  That time period often coincides with the best hatches this time of year.  Mahagonies, blue-wing olives, tricos, and October caddis are the main attraction although fish will still key on terrestrials like hoppers, ants, and beetles.  Most days in the fall a handful of dry flies is all you need to stay connected to trout all day long.

Dry Flies. Fall Fly Fishing in western Montana

Fall is for Dry Flies. Photo by © Tony Reinhardt

Of course, this is also prime time for streamer fishing.  Streamer addicts have been waiting all summer to throw those big, heavy flies at pre-spawn brown trout on the prowl.  It doesn’t much matter if there is sun our clouds this time of year, violent strikes can be provoked from big fish on streamers right now.

Fall fly fishing is some of the sweetest of the season.  Don’t just picture whole stretches of river to yourself and fish rising to dry flies.  Get out there while you can and make the most of the best fly fishing of the whole year.

Brown Trout. Fall Fly Fishing in Missoula. Photo by © Tony Reinhardt

Big brown trout. Throw caution aside this time of year. Photo by © Tony Reinhardt

Tight Lines,

Tony Reinhardt, Montana Trout Outfitters


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.