Great Falls, Montana Fishing Report 09.13.18

montana fishing report

Missouri River

I have not heard a bad report from anyone fishing the Missouri River lately.  Everyone seems to be having some level of success and some are having epic sessions of fly fishing bliss.


Lots of nymphs are working -everything from zebra midges to zirdles. The biggest issue happening is dealing with floating weeds.  That’s why many anglers are fishing up near the dam.  There are less weeds in the drift and lots of fish.  As you move down the canyon, you will encounter more weeds, but less traffic.  It can be a good trade-off.  The fishing is still good all the way down the river to Cascade.

One of the best ways to beat the weeds is to fish a dry dropper rig.  Use your favorite visible terrestrial and then hang your favorite nymph underneath.  This rig is much easier to navigate amongst the weeds and can be very effective when fish are along the banks and spread over shallow flats…like now.

Dry Flies

Tricos are still a presence.  Callibaetis are in the mix too.  There are also lots of little baetis are on the water at times. Plus, caddis are plentiful enough to hold attention. Terrestrials including ants, beetles, and hoppers in that order can bring fish to the top.  This is a dry fly fishing opportunity and diversity is about as good as it gets right now.


The only streamer fisher I know who’s been chucking lately said he moved lots of fish.  With the dry fly fishing so strong, most people are focusing on top. The next cold front accompanied by rain or even snow will be a streamer window to jump on.

Local Streams

Right now, the small streams are low and clear.  Cooling nights generally get the fish energized.  You really can’t go wrong fishing just about anywhere in Montana right now.

The Lower Missouri River

I played with the carp a few days ago this past week.  They are chowing down and easy to see now that the irrigation channels are closing off.  Sometimes, I have a hard time deciding between trout and carp fishing.  Sometimes, I split the day and do both.


Reports of really good. Callibaetis hatches have been bringing lots of fish to the top on some area lakes recently.  If I told you exactly where I might get shot! But if you know where they might exist, you should go right now.

The Big Picture

Every week continues to roll out with great fishing potential and the forecast is awesome.

See past reports from the Great Falls region here, or click here to view all northwest regional reports.

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North 40 Fly Shop got its start in Great Falls, Montana when a couple fishheads snapped up a pile of closeout items and offered them for sale on a single pegboard wall. Today, we offer the largest selection of fly-tying materials in the area, along with a broad range of high-quality rods, reels and lines, plus gear and apparel, from dedicated fly-fishing specific brands. We spread our love of fly-fishing through fly-tying classes, spey claves, and community outreach, and run our shop with this motto: Beginner or expert—you’re welcome here. We love Montana and are proud to call the Missouri River our home water. While we always keep our finger on the pulse of the mighty Mo, we are surrounded by many other great rivers, streams and lakes and offer insider tips on these waters. Beyond Montana, we host destination trips to Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Christmas Island and Belize.

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