Here you have it, your September Missoula fishing report! Dry flies, dry flies and more dry flies! September has always been “mayfly heaven” and this one will be no different, … except the hatches will be here early. We are already seeing Hecuba, a large size 10 and 12 mayfly. This one is a show stopper because the fish will leave what they are doing to eat these beefy mayflies. They can be sipping Trico spinners and if a Hecuba floats near their feeding lane they will eat the fly with purpose. We see lots of fly patterns work for the Hecuba mayfly, even a Royal Wulff in a 10 or 12. Typically we use specific Hecuba patterns like the Clook’s Beefcake in an 8 or 10. We also use a Hecuba Cripple, a Stranahan’s Brindle Chute, also in a size 10 or 12. A large parachute Adams or a Purple Haze in 10 or 12 works great. The Hecuba hatch is flat out a great way to catch a big fish on the surface.
Trico fishing is also on and we are seeing some big trout eating these tasty mayflies. The duns are hatching early and the spinner fall is during the morning hours. Spinner patterns with a white body (female) or light green are very good right now. We also sell Andy Carlson’s famous “Tucker’s Twiggy”, tied by Andy himself. We have an exclusive on his pattern here in Missoula. As you know, Andy is famous for his “Purple Haze” but his other patterns also fish like mad. We have plenty of tricos in stock and another great pattern is the Christiaen’s GT trico.
Typically it is the last few weeks of September before we see Mahogany Duns, affectionately known as “mahog-dogs”. The trout love to chow on mahoganies and they eat urgently as they feel the need to stock up and put on weight before the fall turns cold. Typically fish feed on mahoganies all day once the hatch starts. We can expect them by September 15 this year at the latest ( best guess). You can fish size 14 and 16 exclusively. Great patterns are again the Christiaen’s GT, the D&D Cripple, Stranahan’s Brindle Chute, the Flash Cripple, the Organza Mahogany spinner, the Marabou Cripple and last but not least, the Andy’s Copper Cripple. We also have a Solitude CDC Mahogany that is a guide favorite. It is almost mahogany time!
Late in the month and maybe sooner, weather depending, we will see BWOs! This is why September is “mayfly heaven”,… just lots of mayflies. You favorite BWO ( blue winged olives) patterns like the D&D Cripple, the marabou cripple, the thorax pattern, the Quigley’s in sizes 16 to 20 but focus on size 18.
As if this is not enough, and you still want to fish on the surface, fish will still eat hoppers through most of the month on a nice day, so if the sun is too bright later in the month and not many fish rising to hatches, throw a hopper or a large searching pattern like a purple haze. Bang.
As the days get cooler, the streamer fishing will get hotter! The water is low and a floating line will generally work fine but a short sink tip or a sinking leader will do the trick to plug in with predatory big trout (see image to the right caught on September 1st). Natural colors, browns, blacks as well as yellow or flies with flash or sparkle. Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow is a great pattern, a JJ, a Silvey’s Sculpin, or Yellow Yummy. My favorite, the Bellyache Minnow in olive or natural really hammers fish on the Bitterroot. Use a Sculpzilla ( maybe the local favorite) in white, olive, natural and sunrise. Get some of our great streamer patterns as they” keep on giving” all the way through November!
Enjoy September fishing, should be fantastic!