The fishing season is winding down here in western Montana with a few weeks left until our weather window closes. Streamer action picked up with the cloudy, cool weather rolling in. On the Bitterroot dark olive sculpin patterns on floating line ripped fast through inside drop offs, riffles, and around fallen trees was productive. Blackfoot trout preferred white streamer patterns on a quick retrieve in the faster sections, slow water produced follows without commitment to the eat. The upper Clark Fork can have blank sections as the brown trout begin migration to stage pre-spawn. Lower Clark Fork fish seem to want mid sized, flashy patterns worked around structure imitating wounded bait fish.
Blue wing olives are showing up on the cloudy days on the Bitterroot and Clark Fork between Missoula and the Alberton Gorge. Mahoganies are still the driving force behind afternoon fishing action with large, pheasant tail adams and Stranahan’s Brindlechutes being the top dry fly patterns lately. Anglers can still prospect with large, attractor patterns with the remnant October caddis and grasshoppers keeping enough fish looking up. Starting the day with a macro-food item dropped down in the strike zone will get your fishing action started earlier in the day this time of year. Worms, stones, crayfish, leeches and zonkers are big enough meals to get the trout to move to your fly.