Here is a few tips for protecting our fish with the warmer water temps that we have seen lately:
Limit the amount of handling time. Take the hook out and put the fish back in the water asap.
Use heavier tippet so you are not fighting the fish for a prolonged period of time. 3x and 4x is just fine this time of year.
Be diligent later in the day when water warms up.
Explore the high mountain creeks and springs where the water is much cooler and fish are much happier.
The Bitterroot has been producing plenty of fish lately. The upper Bitterroot is some of the coldest water around Missoula as far as the big three rivers are concerned and it is showing some very active fish right now. For wade fishing, focus on the West and East fork. Hopper dropper has been the go to rig, also PMDs and the Trico fall mid morning.
The Blackfoot has cooled down with these longer nights and is starting to produce more and more fish which will continue into September. It’s that time of year when terrestrials take over. The Hopper dropper rig has been our go to but Ants, Beetles, Yellow Sallies and Golden Stones have been producing as well.
The Clark Fork below town has been giving up some spectacular Trico fishing mid morning. After the Trico hatch has subsided, switch to your favorite hopper dropper rig or a sneaky terrestrial like an Ant or Beetle. Focus on bigger flies on the upper end above town. We are starting to see much more active fish throughout the day with the cooler water temperature.
Rock Creek has been producing plenty of fish lately and should continue to get better throughout September. Hopper dropper is the main rig up here right now but don’t hesitate to down size to a Parachute pattern such as the Parachute Adams or Purple Haze. The streamer fishing has picked up with the cooler water as well.