Although July is considered the peak season for fly fishing on most of the rivers in Montana, the optimal time for summer fly fishing on the Jefferson River usually only lasts until mid-July.
During the summer, irrigation demands lead to a decrease in river flows and an increase in water temperatures. Therefore, it's best to avoid fishing the river between July 15 and August 15 most years, as the low flows and high temperatures are stressful on trout and they become relatively inactive.
Early July fishing is similar to June, with dropping water levels and improved clarity. If you're an experienced angler looking for solitude and big fish opportunities, early morning streamer and nymph fishing can be a great choice during this time.
By July the Jefferson’s already sparse hatches continue to diminish with the summer heat. Nocturnal Golden Stones, PMDs, and some Caddis will be most active during the early part of July. Grasshoppers arrive early to the Jefferson River Valley and trout will start to look for them by late June, some years.
PMD Mayflies typically spend less time on the water's surface as adults due to the warm weather they hatch in. Using a PMD cripple imitation tied 18 inches off of the hook bend of a Tan Morrish Hopper works well when targeting rising fish through riffles and foam-lined seams on the Jefferson River.
Savvy anglers greet the July sunrise while floating the Jefferson River, throwing streamers to the bank and next to mid-river structures. The water warms quickly under the summer sun, so resident trout are most active during the early morning hours.
Nymph or dry/dropper rigs fished along current seams and ledges I standard practice for fly fishing the Jefferson. Experienced anglers forego fishing the slower runs and focus their attention on sections of the river with depth and steady currents.
Jefferson River fishing trips are generally not recommended beyond the first week of July for most anglers. The angler willing to get on the water early is often rewarded with a few good fish and a spectacular Montana sunrise. However, trout activity quickly slows by mid-morning.
The Yellowstone, Madison, and Gallatin Rivers are better day trip choices for most anglers in July. These rivers are also close to Bozeman and have better trout fishing conditions during the summer heat.
With over 23 years of experience guiding anglers throughout Montana, you can trust our experts to keep you on the most productive waters during your trip. Contact our seasoned staff for help customizing a Montana fly fishing trip on the waters near Bozeman.
Be sure to let us know if a day trip on the Jefferson River is of interest when booking your trip. If conditions permit, our guides would like to show you this Montana classic. Reservations can be booked online, via e-mail, or by calling us at 1-406-468-5019