Great Falls Fishing Report

We get it—Big Sky Country offers some of the best trout fishing options in the West, and if you’re lucky enough to be in the Great Falls area you get a crack at what many people would call the very best. That’s the Missouri River for you—major dry fly possibilities and, always, the opportunity to land a beast on dry, dropper or streamer. But the opps don’t stop there—many small streams offer great fishing for rainbows, browns and cutthroats, and the area lakes, including Canyon Ferry, Pishkin, Hauser and Holter—to name only a few—kick out big trout, plus walleye and pike. The only problem you may have while fishing around Great Falls is deciding where to fish.
  • Great Falls Fishing Report

    Missouri River

    The outlook is for lots of sunshine and mild temperatures.  The weather is almost too good. Great for going fly fishing.  Not as good from the action side, but fall fishing is always pretty good, so no one should be complaining.  I’m sure we’ll see some cold and darker days soon enough.


    If you like to get out early, you’ll likely do best running longer leaders and fishing scuds, sows, and larger attractor nymphs. As the day progresses, you can run short or even get stealthy with a dry dropper.  Try an October caddis or big orange stimi for your dry and drop a little bwo, zebra or soft hackle off the back.

    Dry Flies

    A few caddis are about and with the warming trend, they should keep on flying.  A good friend of mine fished a TFP hi-vis and spent from 10 a.m. until late afternoon this week and caught fish steadily.  You can hunt for heads but keep on fishing to productive water while you do.  Fish are looking up.

    Baetis hatches are going off daily with varying intensity depending on the reach of river you are on.  Be ready with your little pseudo/ bwo patterns from a #22 to a #18.  If the winds are calm, you just might have a very special session.


    We like cloudy days for streamers.  We are not going to get them for a while. Galloup’s flies in the mini versions, like the mini dungeon, have been flying out lately, so that says something.

    Trout Spey

    I’ve been swinging either balanced leeches or October caddis pupas and trailing little soft hackles. Early and late in the day, the bigger flies get the most attention.  Late morning to early afternoon, the softy gets the lions share.  I can’t stress enough how fun it is to swing flies from a light two-hander.  It’s like steelhead fishing only easier and with lots more action.  The Missouri is such a great river for the trout spey game.


    The next week should be excellent on the Stillwaters.  The water temperatures will stay just right, and the fish will stay on the bite.  Upper Holter, Holter, Nilan, Willow Creek, and Pishkun are all putting out great fish.

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