2019 Montana Fishing Forecast

  by    2   0

The holidays are behind us and our attention has turned to the upcoming fishing season. It is always a challenge to make an accurate Montana Fishing Forecast, especially at this early date. We still have a long way to go before we will be sure of our snowpack. Spring rainfall and temperatures will also have a big part to play in how the season turns out.

While it is too early to predict with any confidence the specifics of our upcoming fishing season, we can rely on historical averages and the general patterns of our Montana fishing season. It is supposed to be an El Nino year, but so far it is late to arrive. El Nino typically means a warmer, drier winter but at the moment our area snowpack is near average with extended cold in the forecast.

Honestly, as guides and anglers we worry about this information a little too much. Over the past 20 seasons I have seen big snowpack years quickly turn into low water and a dismal snowpack winter salvaged by big rainfalls and below average temperatures. Bottom line, it will be what it will be, and often it turns out differently than we expected.

With that perspective in mind, our 2019 Montana fishing forecast looks promising overall. Here is what I expect:

  • March-April: Skwala stonefly season. Many of our biggest dry fly trout of the season come during this hatch. Some years it’s a roller coaster with changing water flows, others it’s smooth and steady throughout.
  • May: We spend the entire month on the mighty Missouri river. This tailwater provides more reliable water conditions during run-off and the over 5,000 big trout per mile doesn’t hurt either. El Nino typically produces excellent conditions for the Missouri with consistent nymphing and exciting dry fly opportunities.
  • June: Salmonflies and Golden Stones, the mere mention of those two giant hatches sends many anglers into a frenzy. June produces more big trout than any other month around Missoula. Some years it is lights out dry fly fishing with huge dries and other years it is mostly nymphs and streamers. El Nino stacks the odds in favor of the dry fly anglers.
  • July: Wet wading season is in full effect with a myriad of hatches through the month. We start the month with Goldens, Drakes, PMDs, Yellow Sallies, and finish off with Spruce moths and Hoppers. The fishing is solid, but we may have to set early alarm clocks if fishing restrictions go into effect.
  • August: This month is becoming known for a time to find solitude in our area. Fishing restrictions and forest fires are a possibility, but anglers this time of year can have entire stretches of river all to themselves. Fast water areas are prime for big, juicy hoppers while slower reaches are the domain of technical trout on tricos and small terrestrials.
  • September/October: Fall is our most consistent season. Any issues with fires or water conditions are a thing of the past. Hoppers are still on the menu, but several different mayfly hatches are the main attraction. There is a reason why fall dates are the first to book each year.

How will the 2019 Montana fishing season play out? It is anyone’s guess at this point. The only thing we know for sure is that we will be out there everyday enjoying what we do. Be sure not to miss out on Montana this year!


Related Posts

Being Prepared to Fly Fish Montana

image of montana fly fishingThe image above looks inviting doesn’t it? It is what we dream about when we think of our fly fishing trips. The reality is that it doesn’t always work out that way. Being prepared to fly fish Montana can be the difference between awesome days on the water and miserable ones. I took the photo […]

READ MORE →

Fishing the Skwala Hatch with Oprah

image of fishing the skwala hatch with oprahThe Skwala hatch is a big deal these days and for good reason. It is the first main hatch of the season and at times it produces exceptional fishing. But, like any hatch during the Montana fishing season it has it’s pros and cons. The most common question we get from anglers is, “When is […]

READ MORE →

Salty Sunday – Keep em Wet or Not?

image of Keep Em WetI was jokingly referred to as being a little “salty” in last weeks post. After the winter we have endured I can certainly embrace that salty moniker. Since we are still not on the rivers yet, let’s keep that trend alive and tackle the growing Keep Em Wet campaign. Keep Em Wet states it “is […]

READ MORE →

Skwala Contest 2019

image of skwala contest 2019We are still stuck indoors for the most part in Missoula. February left us with our biggest dump of snow and March has started with the coldest temperatures of the winter. To fill the void I am thinking of creating a contest. Contests are all the rage on social media these days so why not […]

READ MORE →

Honesty in Fly Fishing

image of honesty in fly fishingThere doesn’t seem to be a lot of honesty in fly fishing these days. From the Instafamous taking pics of average sized trout just right to make them look huge to the girls posing for grip-n-grins in bikinis. Who knew long arms would be a marketable commodity, and if you’re in a bikini you are […]

READ MORE →

2 thoughts on “2019 Montana Fishing Forecast

  1. Bob Harley says:

    I am interested in a two day guided float and wade trip July 11&12. Two experienced fly fishers from the Inland Empire fly fishing club. We are primarily interested in bigger fish and dry flies. I believe the ClarkFork is mostly a nymphing river. Never fished the Blackfoot. Been disappointed in the Bitteroot several times: blown out or Skwala hatch over. Fished Rock creek but primarily small fish. St Joe is combat fishing that time of year. We could arrive Thursday eve the 10th. Fish Fridayand Saturday but need to drive back to Spokane Saturday night. Suggestions?..Bob Harley past President IEFFC

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top