When is the Best time to come to Montana to Fish? This is a common question we get a lot. Montana has fishing opportunities literally every day of the year, so let's break it down into seasons.
Spring: Spring is one of my favorite times of the year to be in Montana fishing. This would be April, May, and June. After coming out of a long cold winter, the urge to get outdoors is strong. This is also a less crowded time to explore some water. The weather can range from 40 degrees to 70s. Mornings are usually calm, with afternoon squalls rolling through. Pre-runoff can produce BWO, March browns, Skwala stone flies, Mother's day caddis, and prolific midge hatches. These are great opportunities to fish a dry fly. As the runoff picks up and the water gets dirty, we start to fish more streamers. Dirty Water Does Not mean bad fishing! There is always an opportunity to go fish. you just might have to change your strategy. As we get to the end of May into June, more stonefly will start to emerge as well as more caddis. It's a great time to fish streamers in the morning and Fly the Dry in the afternoon.
Summer: Warm weather, long, days, and an abundance of bugs! This is mid-June, July, August, and the first part of September. This is the time of year to see Stone flies, grasshoppers, Mayflies, caddis, and Baetis. Streamer fishing is also great with fish feeling healthy happy and ready to chase down a big meal. The days are long and it really gives you a chance to get a long day in and still make it back in time for dinner and a cold drink. This is a great time to target rising trout. The summers in Montana is what Fly fishing is all about!
Fall: The fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year to be in Montana. This is mid-September, October, and the first part of November. The mornings are cool and crisp with long hot afternoons, leaves are vibrant in color, and the rivers are flowing clear with trout still looking up for some lingering grasshoppers. The rivers are less crowded with people as the start of hunting season picks up. Along with the leaves changing colors, the brown trout start to put on their fall colors as well, getting ready to spawn. The brown trout pre-spawn is a great time to target big fish with streamers as they try and stack on the last bit of weight before they spawn. This is truly an incredible time to be in Montana.
Winter: Old man winter has finally arrived. This is December, January, February, and March. This is a long cold time to be in Montana. However, if you do find yourself here and want another activity outside of Skiing on one of the local ski hills, there is still an opportunity to fish! Winter midge hatches can be prolific, and the trout really key in on them as their main food source throughout the winter. This is when we fish small midges under an indicator and wait to see if the afternoon produces some rising trout. The other option is to get to the lakes and fish in hard water. Ice fishing can be an extremely fun and great group activity. Ice fishing We get out early to enjoy the sunrise and the morning bite. Fishing consists of setting out tip-ups with flags that spring up when a fish eats the hook, Jigging with a small spoon, or putting a mealworm on a hook with your rod on a stand. The ice fishing hut has a heater inside to warm you up and keep the wind off. Inside the ice fishing hut, we drill holes through the ice and sit on stools as we look down the hole (usually fishing 15 feet of water or less so you can look down and see the bottom) and sight fish for trout cruising the lake. This is truly a lot of fun and a great activity to bring the kids along for.
No matter what season it is, the weather in Montana can change quickly so dress accordingly and bring extra layers and rain gear.
“A truly memorable fishing trip”