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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
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    Santa Rosa Beach Fl
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    Default Montana trip advice

    My 16 year old and I plan to take a 5 day trip to Montana in the fall. I need to center the trip around a 3 day weekend for him due to school so it needs to be either Labor Day weekend, Sept 7, or Columbus Day, October 12. His school schedule will be Monday, Wednesday, and Friday before anyone asks, hence the 5 day window. Due to the short window, we plan to focus on a general area like maybe the Yellowstone and Lamar in the park and the upper and lower Madison. The question is which would you chose and why? Thanks in advance, we would have been lost sheep the past few years in Montana if not for the help of this board.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Montana trip advice

    Weather might play a significant factor by the 12th of October in that area so if I HAD to chose between the dates, I would pick Labor Day.

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  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Santa Rosa Beach Fl
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    Default Re: Montana trip advice

    Quote Originally Posted by dharkin View Post
    Weather might play a significant factor by the 12th of October in that area so if I HAD to chose between the dates, I would pick Labor Day.
    I suspected that may be the case. A friend of mine down here in Florida who lived in Mt says to go in October but then he hedges a little thinking about possible wind and snowstorms. Our family is going the first week in August as my older son will finish a summer internship at the end of July. I could always take the short trip at the end of June/first of July. We've gone out in early August for the past five years so thought something a little different may be nice.

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  6. #4

    Default Re: Montana trip advice

    The fishing in October can be fantastic but just be prepared for the cold. My buddy and I have fished the Big Hole River the first week of October for about 6 years. Last year, the temps dropped very quickly in a very short period of time and that did put the fish down and made for challenging fishing. However, it's also some of the best streamer fishing to be had IMO.

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  8. #5

    Default Re: Montana trip advice

    I think the right answer for you would depend on whether you're more tolerant of crowds or the potential for bad weather. Labor Day weekend and early September are extremely popular for folks to fish in the areas you mentioned. Labor Day for obvious reasons, and September because everyone assumes the crowds end after Labor Day. I personally have no interest in dealing with crowded fishing, so for me I would choose Oct. 12. Of course the downside is the potential for bad weather. But as others have mentioned, fishing can be awesome in October. One of my best days ever was early October on the Beaverhead River. Large trout were rising throughout the day, and not a soul was on the river other than me. It was a bit cold but the sun was on the water, which triggered a hatch, and the fish were looking to feed.

    If you're set on fishing the Madison and are willing to take a chance on the Oct. 12 window, I would fish between Hebgen and Earthquake Lakes as there are reportedly large browns staging to spawn in that section of river. Same can be said for the Madison and other tributaries upstream from Hebgen Lake. If they are actually in the process of spawning, I would avoid them however. Although folks do it, for me it's not ethical to disturb fish that are trying to spawn. This would not be an issue on Labor Day weekend or early to mid September.

    If I had to choose between Labor Day weekend and the weekend of Sept. 7, I would probably choose Labor Day, although I would also probably consider some other places to fish.

    Best of luck on planning your trip!!

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  10. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
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    Default Re: Montana trip advice

    Quote Originally Posted by salmo7000 View Post
    I think the right answer for you would depend on whether you're more tolerant of crowds or the potential for bad weather. Labor Day weekend and early September are extremely popular for folks to fish in the areas you mentioned. Labor Day for obvious reasons, and September because everyone assumes the crowds end after Labor Day. I personally have no interest in dealing with crowded fishing, so for me I would choose Oct. 12. Of course the downside is the potential for bad weather. But as others have mentioned, fishing can be awesome in October. One of my best days ever was early October on the Beaverhead River. Large trout were rising throughout the day, and not a soul was on the river other than me. It was a bit cold but the sun was on the water, which triggered a hatch, and the fish were looking to feed.

    If you're set on fishing the Madison and are willing to take a chance on the Oct. 12 window, I would fish between Hebgen and Earthquake Lakes as there are reportedly large browns staging to spawn in that section of river. Same can be said for the Madison and other tributaries upstream from Hebgen Lake. If they are actually in the process of spawning, I would avoid them however. Although folks do it, for me it's not ethical to disturb fish that are trying to spawn. This would not be an issue on Labor Day weekend or early to mid September.

    If I had to choose between Labor Day weekend and the weekend of Sept. 7, I would probably choose Labor Day, although I would also probably consider some other places to fish.

    Best of luck on planning your trip!!
    Honestly the crowds don't bother me too bad, we're used to going in early to mid July. I've even contemplated doing that again and trying to catch the salmon flies which was awesome last year. I'll ponder it a little more and will probably settle on the September date due to the weather factor but just not sure at this point.

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  12. Default Re: Montana trip advice

    The Lamar and the Upper Madison are excellent choices. Make sure the Lamar is running clear (rain can blow it out fast), it is easy wading in the Ranger station area.
    The Upper Madison in the area from the Slide Inn down West Bank should be good.

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  14. #8

    Default Re: Montana trip advice

    Good Luck on your trip.

    Fishing between Quake and Hebgen for the browns running upstream from Quake can lead to some big fish like this one from several years ago.

    To get there, take the turn off to Campfire Lodge then turn RIGHT down the dirt road (Ghost Village Road) before going to Campfire Lodge. There is a parking area, and toilet facilities at the end of Ghost Village Road. You can park along the road in some places and walk to the river or go all the way to end to the parking area.

    Google Maps

    This is a photo I took looking up towards the Campfire Lodge from the end of Ghost Village Road. Notice the mountain pass that correlates with the photo of the angler with the large brown trout.



    In this photo below that I pulled from the internet, you can see mountain just behind the angler's head that matches the photo above.



    If I am not mistaken this video of Bob Jacklin was taken between Hebgen and Quake Lake.

    Last edited by silver creek; 01-21-2020 at 10:40 PM.
    Regards,

    Silver



    "Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"..........Szent-Gyorgy

  15. #9

    Default Re: Montana trip advice

    Quote Originally Posted by silver creek View Post
    Good Luck on your trip.

    Fishing between Quake and Hebgen for the browns running upstream from Quake can lead to some big fish like this one from several years ago.

    To get there, take the turn off to Campfire Lodge then turn RIGHT down the dirt road (Ghost Village Road) before going to Campfire Lodge. There is a parking area, and toilet facilities at the end of Ghost Village Road. You can park along the road in some places and walk to the river or go all the way to end to the parking area.

    Google Maps

    This is a photo I took looking up towards the Campfire Lodge from the end of Ghost Village Road. Notice the mountain pass that correlates with the photo of the angler with the large brown trout.



    In this photo below that I pulled from the internet, you can see mountain just behind the angler's head that matches the photo above.



    If I am not mistaken this video of Bob Jacklin was taken between Hebgen and Quake Lake.


    Although not a secret, damn Silver putting it all out there.

    OP - the park is nice that time of year. Great colors, lots of wildlife, and fishing is usually consistent .

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  17. #10

    Default Re: Montana trip advice

    I don't know much about the park but if you want to catch a golden trout you can try hidden lakes. They are north of the park off the Gallatin river north of Big Sky MT. A pretty easy pack in for the day as I remember. I haven't fished them in over a decade but it's something to look into maybe. Plus theres Rat lake near it and plenty of fishing on the Gallatin also. Good luck.

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