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.
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    Missouri River

    It’s August coming off of a high-water year.  That means that the river is carrying a little more flow and is a little cooler than in a low water year.  That’s a really good thing!  For August, the fishing is really good.  Mornings rule.  Afternoons are for napping or sipping a beverage while following a hopper.


    Every year, the weed beds form up below the dam and the fish congregate around them and feed prodigiously.  From the dam to the Wolf Creek Bridge, you can find lots of activity. Little stuff like zebra midges and tiny micro mayflies are the primary players, though scuds, sow bugs, and larger nymphs can get some attention too.

    Dry Flies

    Trico hatches keep on rolling.  If your game is strong, you can get eats on the little bitty duns and spinners of the #22-#24 variety.  If you prefer a larger target, cluster patterns and caddis might unlock a few lips.

    Terrestrials such as; ants, beetles, and hoppers are really fun to throw after trico fishing has taxed your eyes.  Now is the time to fish the fun flies.


    Floating weeds make fishing large streamers with clingy materials very difficult. Smaller patterns with slippery mylar are the best choice now, as they are easy to rip through the water and remove any clingons.  We like the flash n’ grab, the kreelex and the skiddish in the late summer.

    Local Streams

    Most of the streams are still carrying a little more flow this late summer and that is very good.  The Sun River is on Hoot Owl restrictions below HWY 287 but that is typical for the season.  Get a little elevation, and you should enjoy some great fishing.

    The Lower Missouri River

    Not as many smallmouth bass and pike seem to have made their way up this year, but the fishing for other species has been really good.  Carp, drum, and channel cats will put a bend in your 8-weight.  If you want to have some topwater fun, bring a 3 or 4-weight and fish a hopper or caddis for the goldeye.

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