The dog days of summer are felt on the East Gallatin River more than on other rivers near Bozeman. Irrigation demands draw the water levels down while returns cause much of the lower river to be off-color in August.
Warm water temperatures make for difficult trout fishing conditions throughout the middle and lower river stretches as well.
Trico hatches stay steady through August, creating a few hours of reliable dry fly fishing near the mouth of spring creeks in the Dry Creek Road vicinity. Spruce Moths can be active throughout the middle stretches, creating sporadic dry fly fishing in the early afternoons.
Fly fishing in Montana with hoppers, ants, and beetle fly patterns is a Montana staple during August. In general, terrestrial season fishing is sporadic on the East Gallatin River. However, using hopper/dropper rigs is always a good bet when hatches are minimal and water conditions are good.
Dry dropper searching setups are productive during the heat of summer on the East Gallatin River. Using foam hoppers with small, general nymphs tied on a 3-4’ length of tippet will find trout both on and below the water’s surface.
Morning Trico spinner falls become more complicated to fish with during low, summer flows. Long leaders of 12’ length with 6X tippet are required to deliver accurate, delicate presentations using sparse spinner imitations.
Streamer fly fishing with small leech patterns on short, fast-sink tip fly lines can be extremely effective in the middle stretches of the East Gallatin River near Dry Creek Road. Try keeping your rod tip high, subtly “jigging” the fly along the bottom of faster runs and deep pools.
August fly fishing in Montana is synonymous with “hopper fishing” for anglers fishing throughout the western US during the late summer. The Yellowstone and Madison provide exceptional hopper fishing and are the primary focus of our Bozeman fly fishing guide trips in August.
Fins and Feathers Guide Service has over two decades of experience outfitting Montana fly fishing trips near Bozeman. Late summer conditions typically involve low flows and warm water temperatures on low-elevation streams like the East Gallatin River. Our guides prefer to minimize angling pressure on these rivers and streams when Montana fish populations are stressed by water conditions.