3 Tips For Fall Fly Fishing In Missoula

Fall fly fishing in Missoula, Montana

Fall fly fishing in Missoula, Montana provides anglers spectacular opportunities. If you ask any Missoula fly fishing guide or local when their favorite time to fish is, 10 out of 10 are going to say spring or fall. In the spring, we have our first dry fly fishing of the year and big fish are starting to look up. Fall fly fishing in Missoula is dry fly nirvana. Multiple mayfly species are hatching and the fish are looking up to chow before winter rears its ugly head.

Fall truly is a magical time to go fly fishing in Missoula, Montana.  The rivers are all low and clear. These water conditions are perfect for wade or float fishing.  The cottonwoods and larches are changing color making for ideal scenery and perfect picture taking.  The fall mayflies are hatching and the fish are looking up. Not only are we throwing dries to pods of rising fish, but we are also throwing big streamers to aggressive browns getting ready to spawn.  It’s a fly fisher’s paradise! Here are 3 tips for fall fly fishing in Missoula, Montana.


Fall fly fishing in Missoula, Montana

  1.  Timing for Fall Fly Fishing in Missoula

Timing is everything in the fall.  You don’t want to come too early or too late.  The best window for great fall fishing is the last half of September to the 2-3rd week in October.  October is our favorite month during Fall to have consistent hatches, as well as really good streamer fishing.  Most people are reluctant to come to Montana in October because of the weather. It is true that we can have cold weather, but for the most part our weather is pleasant.  In any case, bad weather in the fall always means better fishing. Just come prepared for any weather from 40’s to 70’s, clouds or sun.

  1.  Be Prepared

Fishing any time of year is all about being prepared, but even more so in the fall.  During fall fly fishing in Missoula, we have a few different hatches that you need to be prepared for. Come prepared with Mahoganies, BWO’s, October Caddis and Tricos.  You never know what you’ll encounter and having the right flies really does make a difference in our low clear water.  Also, be prepared with the right gear.  Among the necessities are 9ft 4-6 wt rods, breathable waders, 4-5x leaders and tippet. You also want to be prepared for any weather that might come our way, as we talked about up above.  It can be rainy and cold or sunny and 70’s, checking the forecast is a must.  You just never know! Being prepared can make or break your day on the water.

Fall fly fishing in Missoula, Montana

  1.  Be Adaptable

In the fall, being adaptable to the given situation will help you be more successful at catching fish.  Any given day can have you switching techniques quickly with the changing weather or even changing water flows.  For the most part, you can expect to fish nymphs, dries and streamers all in the same day. If you’re ready to switch up techniques, then you’ll be rewarded.  The best way to stay adaptable is to follow the other two tips above. Time things right and be prepared. Both will help you in any situation you run into.





Fall fly fishing in Missoula, Montana is magical and we can promise if you try it you’ll come back year after year! Want to get the most of your visit? Book a Missoula guided fly fishing trip or visit our Missoula fly shop to get the latest reports and hot flies!

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