Fall colors are starting…

Bigfork Montana Fly Fishing Report – Fall Update

It’s hard to believe we are already half way through September. This past week has felt more like summer with highs back into the mid 80’s…but who’s complaining? After all, the fish are still eating hoppers, ants, and mayflies in the sun and tourists love flip flops.

The fall hatches are slowly making their appearance and the fish have had a chance to notice.  A smallish mayfly pattern can search as good as a hopper did 3 weeks ago, even on the bright sunny days when not many bugs are on the water. A #12/14 comparadun, para-cripple, Quigly Crip, or P- haze are all good fall search patterns when blind fishing down the river. The Hecuba(fall drake) is fading out but an over-sized cripple is still a good bet, especially on days when the bugs are thin and they’re not into the hopper.

Remember, it’s late in the season, the water is low and clear, and the fish are educated to a crappy drift and a piled up leader. A well played hopper on a down river cast will still take some nice fish but not on a dumped cast 15 ft from the boat. Don’t get me wrong, a 15 ft cast will still catch fish but mostly on the dropper 3ft below the surface. Wind is your friend, trim off the little ants/mayfly patterns and twitch a hopper if it’s windy.  A little wind usually helps kick in some hoppers, and some chop on the water also gives those wise fish a little cover to slide back in closer to the bank to look for a big meal.

Having tough luck on top? Try a small #14-#18 tung p-tail, or flashy tung attractor nymph off the back and it will usually help get a few more fish to the boat.

Jason Lanier
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