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.
  • montana fishing report 12.21.17

    Missouri River, Montana

    The good news is that the Missouri River is a highly reliable fishery in varied conditions.  Varied conditions are what we have been experiencing this year.  There have been some epic days lately.  Also, some tough ones.  Water is the issue.  It was dropping fast, but heavy rains changed that in a hurry.  Now she’s going back up.

    The Dearborn and the Sun River blew up to massive proportions due to heavy rains along the Rockies.  The Dearborn feeds into the Missouri below Craig.  On 6/18, the Dearborn was running at more than half the volume of the Mo, adding a significant muddy flow.  It’s going to fall quickly, but additional rains are predicted.  Most angling will be confined in the 13 or so miles between the Dam and the Dearborn for a while.


    The fish were moving to the hard banks and bubbly seams.  Now the water might start pushing them back to the softer edges again.  We will see.  Fishing inside out, running the side channels, lengthening the leaders to fish the deep lanes or going short to fish above the banks are all techniques in play.  Variable options can produce fish.  Anglers are going to need to keep making adjustments.

    Dry Flies

    The PMD’s and Caddis are coming off, but they will have lots of water over their heads.  Some won’t even reach the surface.  Water levels were shaping up nicely, but the rain and increased flows might put off much of the surface activity.  Again, we will just have to wait and see.


    Always a viable choice if you like tossing the big flies.  Aggressive browns and a few rainbows are willing to chomp most days.  The best streamer action is usually early before the hatches build up.

    Local Streams

    Conditions were great last week.  Then everything took a bounce.  Streams off the Belts got a little water push but should shape up quickly.  On the Rockies side, a ton of water came down.  It’s going to be awhile before the Dearborn, Sun and Teton drainages are going to be fishable.

    The Warmer Slower Waters

    If you don’t like high water on the streams and rivers, you’ve still got great options to tighten your line.  Pike, tiger musky, bass, carp, walleye, sauger, perch, goldeye, drum and channel cats will all take the right flies. Intrigued?  Just stop in and ask us.  There are a bunch of multi-species fanatics around our shop.  While Montana offers some of the best trout fishing in the country, fly fishing is not just for trout.

    Click here to see past Great Falls reports, or here to view all northwest regional reports.