Big Sky Anglers Weekly Fishing Report – September 12, 2019

by | Sep 12, 2019 | 0 comments

After a two-week appearance the warm weather seems to be on its way out, replaced with scuzzy and rainy days. Hopper season was more than kind to us this past month and provided excellent opportunities for anglers that ventured to the water. The game is changing along with the weather as fly fishers kick the dust off their waders and cold weather gear to prepare for the impending fall.

September is a transition month which means anyone venturing into the water should be prepared for anything and everything. That goes for weather and fishing conditions. Keep clothing for all weather conditions and a variation of fly boxes in your vehicle. This is a time of year when it is better to be over prepared than underprepared. The Big Sky Anglers fly shop is fully loaded with cold weather and fishing gear for those who need to restock.

Fall is an amazing time to be around Yellowstone Country. The days grow shorter, the Aspen trees turn to orange, elk are bugling, and the trout turn colors. Rather than worrying about the impending winter, take in the fresh cool are and enjoy the low hanging clouds as the wrap around the mountain faces. It’s an amazing time to be out here and we hope everyone enjoys this Fall as much as the BSA crew does!

The timing of this year’s first fall storm couldn’t be better for our Third Annual Trout Spey Days, which are coming up next Friday and Saturday, September 13&14. Several days of inclement weather leading up to the event will prime local fisheries like the Madison in YNP with the first good push of migratory fish. 

If all this talk of scuzzy weather gets you down, don’t despair. There’s a good to great chance of Indian Summer making an appearance directly following this cycle, and those are traditionally some of the most beautiful days of the year. So hang in there, embrace the change in weather, and enjoy this first taste of fall. 

Read on to see our take on this week’s fishing, and check out the links below to stay current on area forecasts and flows. Stay tuned as we report each week on hatches, flows, weather, and more. For the most up to date info stop by the shop, give us a call, or drop us a line.

West Yellowstone Forecast

MT Streamflows

ID Streamflows

Henry’s Fork

The lower river is picking up traction again as cool temperatures and rain have made for more favorable conditions. Black and olive streamers such as zonkers or leeches have provided consistent action. Keep an eye out for baetis action during cloudy and cool mornings. Even though the peak of hopper season has come and gone, large terrestrial patterns can still work well as attractor patterns and in a dry-dropper rig. The Railroad Ranch fished well through August and with the change in temps late-season mayfly hatches will start to replace terrestrials as the go-to patterns. Box canyon remains a staple for floaters and wade fishers, as it does most of the year. 

Yellowstone National Park

The Northeast Corner

Those familiar with the Lamar River know all too well what heavy rainfall means for that river. Flows this past week have been high, muddy, and unfishable as a result from precipitation. Slough Creek remains an option for this region and is now seeing fall drakes along with baetis and potential for favorable streamer bite. Supposedly next week could bring warmer and drier weather, in which case the Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek may have life again. For those wanting to view wildlife, there are few places better to do so than the Lamar Valley

The Yellowstone River


The Firehole and Madison (in YNP)

It’s that time of year again. Anglers from near and far venter to the western waters of the Park in search of migratory trout in hopes of catching large fish. Damp and rainy days are a recipe to make such fly fishers chomp at the bit. It’s early in the Fall so the action hasn’t fully picked up steam yet. So far anglers report mixed results ranging from a solid day of fishing to others being lucky to hook into a whitefish. The best is yet to come.

The upper Firehole above the falls is back on! Water temperatures are low enough to fish and those spunky Firehole rainbows are energized for acrobatic fights. As usual, soft hackles, leeches, and baetis are the name of the game. Remember to keep an eye out for bison, geysers, and hotspots! On days the Madison doesn’t seem to have traction yet, the upper section of the Firehole can be a great backup option.


Madison River

Hopper fishing on the riffle reached near legendary status last month and we are sad to see it go. Fret not, one of the beautiful things about the Madison River is its consistency throughout the year. Streamer action has been consistent with the weather turning and providing cloudy and rainy days. At times subsurface flies may seem to be the primary avenue to success. Mayfly and stonefly nymphs as well as caddis pupa provide a year-round available food source to the trout of this river. Smaller nymphs dropped off of a large black or brown rubber legs is rarely a bad combination. Keep an eye out for risers taking baetis in the riffles. It’s easy to overlook how consistent fish are looking up this time of year.


Henry’s Lake

Words of wisdom from our resident Stillwater enthusiast, optimist, student, Matt Klara…
Watch the weather forecast like a hawk, and be prepared to pounce on windows of opportunity.  Post weather system, the big boys will be on the prowl.  Work the weed free zones and start with your favorite buggers and leeches, shifting to smaller offerings fished slower if the day becomes bright.