Late Summer Bozeman Fly Fishing Outlook – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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Late Summer Bozeman Fly Fishing Outlook

Our summer had started to look bleak with a combination of high water temperatures, smoke, and low water flows but the recent rains and cool air have revitalized our season. Get ready for some really fun late summer and fall fishing here in Bozeman, Montana. Here is what to expect when fly fishing Bozeman area rivers in the weeks to come.

With high temperatures below 80 degrees and plenty of possible thunderstorms in the extended forecast for Bozeman, it is fair to say our fish will receive a break they desperately needed and our somewhat stagnant fishing season will accept a huge refreshing boost. Our attention has bene focused on water temperature and stream flows for the past month. Just a whirlwind of wondering what rivers will close, if it is okay to fish certain bodies of water, and worrying about our poor fish surviving this drought. Luckily, the weather flipped a 180 and we got rain and really cool air temperatures. I can't begin to explain then enjoyment of pulling a sweatshirt over my head for the first time since May. This change is going to effect in our fisheries in a MEGA and positive way!

The first changes that we have seen have been from a regulation standpoint. First, the entire National Park's hoot owl restriction was removed. Allowing anglers to fish past 2:00 PM once again. This was also the case for the Missouri river and the upper Madison. The Yellowstone which had been borderline too hot to fish has dropped down below 60 degrees. Superb news. The lower Madison, which still remains on Hoot Owl, is now coming out of the dam at below 61 degrees. Unbelievable considering only 5 days ago the water had been coming out of the Ennis Dam at 70 degrees. What does all this mean exactly? Happy fish that are ready and willing to eat flies. Let's go.

While low flows are still the case in some areas, this blast of cool and water is already turning the fishing in the correct direction. Dry fly action has improved and the streamer game has gotten to be really fun. Big fish have been found the last few days be swimming streamers down the banks. While nymphing wasn't necessarily dead, it has exploded and fishing hopper dropper rigs on the upper and the Yellowstone have produced many fish and nice ones at that! If you run the double nymph rig you run into plenty of whitefish on the Yellowstone but a smaller black Rubberleg's trailed by a Perdigon or caddis pupa on the upper has tricked a bunch of trout.

This cold front has already made fishing excellent but we expect it to get even better moving forward.

Still some good Hoppertunities left in the afternoons. Plenty of these critters are hopping around our local streams and fish will be prepared to eat them. The top five 2021 hopper patterns can be found here. Streamer fishing isn't quite great but it is getting there. A few more cool, rainy, cloudy days and bog browns will be revved up and ready to crush articulated flies. Our favorite streamer patterns can be viewed here! Swing by our Bozeman fly shop to get all of your fly fishing necessities on your way to the River.