Fishing on the Flathead River has been an ever-changing beast. In the last month we’ve done everything from skating moth patterns and bobber-lobbing nymph rigs, to stripping streamers to large hungry trout. Although there is some light to be seen at the end of the tunnel. Big fish have moved into the lower river from the forks allowing the angler to target and hopefully land one of these larger Cutties.
These Cutthroat trout do this every year. In the spring they move upstream out of the lake into the forks and vice versa in the fall. This is great for us, it’s nice to see a Cuttie over 12 inches. They exist! The best advice we have for targeting these large trout would be to make sure you fish when the trout are feeding. Early morning and late afternoons haven’t yielded too many trout. During the cold months, the best fishing can be had in the middle of the day between 11 and 2.
Gone are the days when trout would come up 10-15 feet to smash a Chubby. Our fishing has changed significantly now that the cooler temps have settled in. Look for these trout to expend less energy to feed. Nymphing has been the most successful way to target these elusive fish. Deep nymph rigs fished with plenty of weight to get down to the trout’s level have proven to be the most effective.
Nymph Patterns: Pink San Juan Worm, Mr. Batman, Girdle Bug, Hares Ear, Flashback Pheasant Tail, Pink Czech Nymph, Red Copper John, and October Caddis Pupa.
Streamers: Black and Olive Wooly Bugger, Sheila Sculpin, Kreelex Minnow, Sparkle Minnow, KG’s Laser Legal
Overall fishing can still be done with some success. Yes, fishing will begin to slow down day by day but stay persistent and remember to fish during the warmest part of the day. Trout seem to be eating right around lunchtime. It’s wader season so be prepared for some colder water and weather. Get out there and enjoy the beautiful Flathead River while you still can, happy fishing!