Top Five Flies For September

Big Hole River, Montana

The air is noticeably crisper in the morning come September in Montana. And the sun takes a bit longer to crest the mountain tops to the east and flood the valley with brilliant sunshine. Autumn is a magical time on the Big Hole River. Early September sees fish rising to dry flies and terrestrials, then the transition to all subsurface meals.

Purple Haze

Tied like an Adams, the Purple Haze features a bright purple dubbed body. The Purple Haze is one of Montana’s go-to flies in August and September.

Fish a Purple Haze Fly on the Big Hole River in Montana
Black Olive Wooly Bugger

Olive and Black Wooly Bugger

The Olive and Black Wooly Bugger should be in every angler’s fly box in September says Craig Jones of the Great Divide Outfitters. Fish buggers when there is no surface activity early morning and later in September. Big browns like big meals like the wooly bugger.


The Trico hatch begins mid-August and winds down by mid-September on the Big Hole. Hatch duration is temperature dependent. Outfitter and guide, Craig Jones, recommends spinner patterns or thorax patterns for September.

Fish a Trico Fly on the Big Hole River in September
Fish a Panty Dropper Hopper on the Big Hole River in September


Grasshoppers thrive along the Big Hole River. Walk through any field in August and September and the grasses appear to quake as grasshoppers leap away from your approaching presence.

There are many hopper patterns to choose from. Big Hole favorites include the Chubby Chernobyl, Fat Albert, and the Panty Dropper Hopper pictured to the left.


Flying ants are an important part of a trout’s diet on the Big Hole. Fish a small Hi-Viz Red Ant during a flying ant hatch for some fun, September top-water action.

Our local fly shops carry these September favorites. Stop in the Great Divide Outfitter in Divide or the Sunrise Flyshop in Melrose and pick up these patterns and more for a great day of fishing on the Big Hole River.

Fly Ant - Fish a Red Hi Viz Ant