Montana fly fishing doesn’t end in October according to Montana Angler Fly Fishing outfitter and guide Brian McGeehan. “Most destination anglers avoid November fishing because of concerns for cold weather, but the late fall can produce some great fishing.” Although several winter storms have already starting bringing mountain snows to the Big Sky state, the temperatures have still been relatively mild allowing access to most of the big rivers. “Some years we have early arctic fronts that can ice over some of the larger freestone rivers but on most years the fishing is still very good in the late fall.”
Brown trout are fall spawners and begin moving upstream in October. Most browns spawn in November and some as late as early December. “One of the perks of fall fishing is that you have a shot at some huge browns that run up out of reservoirs and into the rivers. Fly fisherman don’t have access to these trophy trout during the rest of the season but in the late fall you have a shot at some real monsters. Although some of the spawning runs peak in late October, others don’t peak until later in November” states McGeehan. “Our fishing guides see some of the very largest browns late in the fall long after most anglers have put away their rods for the season. Most days in November you have the entire river to yourself.”
“Although it is fun to have a shot at trophy brown trout this time of the year, we also see some large rainbows. A lot of big rainbows move up the rivers with the browns and whitefish that are fall spawners to eat eggs and take advantage of some of the fall insect hatches that occur in the rivers.” According to McGeehan the dry fly fishing can still be good at times. “Although most folks are targeting big browns in the fall the dry fly fishing can still be really good on some days over the baetis mayfly hatch. Cloudy days in the late fall can bring thousands of insects to the surface along with rising trout”.
Montana Angler Fly Fishing (http://www.montanaangler.com) is based in Bozeman and guides trips across Southwest Montana.
Image courtesy Montana Angler Fly Fishing