September Montana Fishing Report

September Montana Fishing Report

On Monday I was out with long-time Grizzly Rider, Dan. We met early and headed up to the canyon of the Blackfoot. I started Dan off with a dry/dropper rig and he hooked up in the second run, but the fish came unbuttoned. Then it was quiet in the next several runs with no action.

I changed the dropper and Dan connected on a solid fish in the next spot. It was a good fight from a colorful rainbow that was pushing 18″. Our next hole was Munchmore and I rigged another rod with a trico short leash and Dan picked up 3 smaller cutts in there before we went back to the dry/dropper.

That continued to produce in the likely spots with mostly 10-13″ cutts and cuttbows. We stopped for an early lunch so we could dry fly fish the rest of the way and I convinced Dan to fish a small ant even thought it was a little tough to see. That fly saw lots of action the rest of the way. Early in the afternoon it was lots of smaller trout from 10-12″ but they were eating in every single run. As the afternoon progressed the average size improved.

Toward the end of the float Dan stuck a bright 16″ cutt, and then we had a handful of 13-14″ to round out the day with the last fishing hitting the net in sight of the bridge. It was a solid day in the canyon with an angler that I have shared a lot of days on the water with over the years.

Dan with a great rainbow in the morning - September Montana Fishing report
Dan with a great rainbow in the morning – September Montana Fishing report
Hooked up in the middle of the canyon - September Montana Fishing report
Hooked up in the middle of the canyon – September Montana Fishing report
Nice cutthroat on an ant in the afternoon - September Montana Fishing report
Nice cutthroat on an ant in the afternoon – September Montana Fishing report
September Montana Fishing Report

Tuesday was my last day with the Grizzly Riders and today I was joined by Cliff and Denise. Cliff has been fishing with us for years, but I’ve never had him in my boat so I made a point to make that happen this year. We met early and went back up to the canyon.

The day started with dry/dropper rigs and Cliff hooked one on the dry in the first spot and Denise landed a small bull trout to get us going. Cliff added a cutthroat a couple runs down and then Denise doubled up with him. The was plenty of action on the dropper in the morning. Denise landed another small bull trout and we boated plenty of 10-12″ cutts and cuttbows with a couple rainbows that were a little bigger.

In the afternoon we went with single dries and an ant proved to be the most consistent producer. We picked up a couple fish right out of the gate and then I saw a bigger cutt eating tricos so we anchored up and set Denise up for the shot. It took a few casts, but Denise got the right drift and that fish sucked down the trico.

It was a great eat from a 15-16″ cutt and Denise played him through some boulders before he finally came unbuttoned. After that it was back to the ant the rest of the way and there were fish looking up in just about every run. Not many big fish on the prowl today, but Cliff and Denise landed a bunch of 8-12″ cutts, cuttbows, and rainbows. It was a nice way to close out the Grizzly Ride. It’s a trip I always look forward to each season,.

First bull trout for Denise in the morning - September Montana Fishing report
First bull trout for Denise in the morning – September Montana Fishing report
Bent rod in Munchmore - September Montana Fishing report
Bent rod in Munchmore – September Montana Fishing report
Lots of spunky cutthroat today - September Montana Fishing report
Lots of spunky cutthroat today – September Montana Fishing report
September Montana Fishing Report

Wednesday I was out with local anglers, Cindi and Sandra. Our game plan was to meet late and fish the Bitterroot behind any morning boat traffic. Plan A was a bust as there were two boats launching as we pulled up to the put in with 3 other boats already in the water. Plan B was an access further downriver without anyone in sight. We started off fishing single dries and after a fly change to a smaller mayfly we started to get some action.

It was mostly smaller fish but the little guys were looking up in the first several runs before that action started to dry up. Another fly change brought a nice trout that Sandra hooked near a bridge but that fish wrapped in something and came off. I tried short leasing some tricos in a foam spot with Cindi but those trout were super spooky and quit rising after 2 casts. At that point we decided to take a break for lunch.

In the afternoon we tried hoppers and a few other dries but it just wasn’t happening on top so we switched up to dry/dropper rigs. Sandra and Cindi both picked up a couple smaller fish each and then the highlight of the day was a run that produced 3 nice fish in a row for Sandra. Each fish was a little bigger. It started with a 14″ cutt and finished off with a jumping 18″ rainbow. We tagged a couple smaller ones after that and then Sandra connected with a gorgeous 20″ cuttbow that came up for her dry fly.

That was an impressive fish and Sandra did a great job fighting it. From there we added a couple more small trout and a few whitefish to the tally before calling it a day. Overall it was tough fishing on the Bitterroot today. The ladies stuck with it all day and we were rewarded with a few great moments.

Sandra hooked up in the clouds - September Montana Fishing report
Sandra hooked up in the clouds – September Montana Fishing report
The highlight of the day was one run where Sandra landed 3 nice fish in a row - September Montana Fishing report
The highlight of the day was one run where Sandra landed 3 nice fish in a row – September Montana Fishing report
The highlight of the day was one run where Sandra landed 3 nice fish in a row - September Montana Fishing report
The highlight of the day was one run where Sandra landed 3 nice fish in a row – September Montana Fishing report
The highlight of the day was one run where Sandra landed 3 nice fish in a row - September Montana Fishing report
The highlight of the day was one run where Sandra landed 3 nice fish in a row – September Montana Fishing report
Had to get a photo with Cindi and what may be the smallest trout of the year - September Montana Fishing report
Had to get a photo with Cindi and what may be the smallest trout of the year – September Montana Fishing report
A 20" cuttbow for Sandra in the afternoon - September Montana Fishing report
A 20″ cuttbow for Sandra in the afternoon – September Montana Fishing report
September Montana Fishing Report

Thursday I was on the water with local angler, Jim. The fishing has been challenging recently but I had a decent report from one of my guides on the upper Clark Fork so we decided to hit a stretch up there today. We started the day with a dry/dropper rig and Jim turned a small fish in the first run and then nothing in a few spots.

After a fly change he picked off 3 smaller rainbows in one run and then a bigger bow at the dry tight to the bank. That was a healthy 16″ fish that I had to chase down out of the boat so we didn’t float into a logjam. That kind of action had us excited, but unfortunately that streak did not continue. We fished different droppers, different hoppers and would pick up the occasional smaller trout.

After fishing a great spot with several fly changes and no takers we decided to break for lunch. In the afternoon we switched between a dry/dropper rod and a single hopper. It didn’t seem to make much of a difference. A big reverse current produced a nice 14″ rainbow on the dropper. That fly usually works great in the fast water on that stretch but it failed to produce after that and we started the fly change game.

Jim poked a few more smaller trout and a handful of whitefish on various droppers but there was no consistency today. He fished hard in that fast pocket water but the trout just didn’t want to eat. Once we hit the confluence with the Blackfoot we changed over to a single hopper.

We had a couple fish slap at the hopper but no serious takers in the next few runs and we decided to call it a day. It was a gorgeous day on the upper Clark Fork, but the fishing was tough. Jim fished well but we didn’t get many opportunities today.

Bluebird morning on the upper Clark Fork - September Montana Fishing report
Bluebird morning on the upper Clark Fork – September Montana Fishing report
Solid start to the day with a 16" rainbow on the dry - September Montana Fishing report
Solid start to the day with a 16″ rainbow on the dry – September Montana Fishing report
Solitude on the water - September Montana Fishing report
Solitude on the water – September Montana Fishing report
Pretty rainbow after lunch - September Montana Fishing report
Pretty rainbow after lunch – September Montana Fishing report

September Montana Fishing Report

We have had mild weather so far this September but the fishing has been a little tougher than average for some reason.  Big change in the forecast ahead with cooler temps, clouds, and rain.  That should get our fall mayfly hatches going and motivate our trout to feed before winter sets in!

Tight Lines,

Tony Reinhardt
Montana Trout Outfitters
406-544-3516