Missoula Fly Fishing Report

Missoula Fly Fishing Report 3/20

Fly Fishing Report Brought To You By Our Missoula Fly Fishing Guides And Fly Shop Staff.

Enjoy and Good Luck!

Bitterroot River

Yes, it can now be said the skwala hatch is consistent on the Bitterroot River. Decent surface action is being found in the afternoons. Most Skwalas are working right now, but the Mangler custom Gray/Olive Plan B has been noticeably more effective, as has the El Camino. The Nemoura is even more prolific than the skwala, and a double dry- Skwala on point to a Nemoura dropper- is taking fish very consistently. A few BWO’s have been seen, and the fish are taking them when they can. WMB’s are in the air, but not much interest in them yet.
If you go subsurface, keep your skwala nymph near the edges, imitating the skwala nymphs staging before emergence. Have a few extras- big nymphs shallow is a recipe for snags. Smaller nymphs like an Olive Bullet or Pheasant Tail Jig are also working. And the worm- it is spring.
Pike are starting to move in the sloughs, and anglers have been targeting them successfully. Not hearing much about streamers on the Bitterroot, probably due to Skwala-mania. If you’re on the ‘Root and the dries aren’t getting it done, flip a streamer. The bigger fish are looking to feed- if they’re not coming to the surface, then you ought tp go down and meet them on their own terms!
Scroll to the bottom of this page for additional fly patterns and tips for each hatch

Blackfoot River

Every time we get a couple warm days, we think the Blackfoot river is going to start to fish, but so far it’s river choice four in the area. You can still take fish on the Blackfoot with a deep nymph rig or a very well placed streamer, but on the whole, it’s not in top form. Get your Pat’s Rubberlegs or 20 Inchers, and don’t be afraid to add split shot to make sure you get where the fish are. Smaller nymphs are decent, and the worm is taking it’s fair share of fish.
The lower sections are fishing a bit better than higher up, and if you’re heading north to the Blackfoot, the longer you wait the better the fishing will be. Give the water a chance to warm up a bit before making the journey. You might not be rewarded with massive numbers, but it should be pretty peaceful on the river.
Scroll to the bottom of this page for additional fly patterns and tips!

Clark Fork River

The Clark Fork river fly fishing has been a bit slow waking up this spring, but there are signs the fishing has turned the corner. Some Skwalas are being seen in the middle and lower sections, and once in a while the fish will care. Subsurface, the action is quite good, with a deep Pat’s Rubberlegs or a shallower Double Bead Peacock Stone are both taking trout. Drop a smaller, brown or tan Perdigon, like a G Kes or a Hot Spot Pheasant Tail Orange below the larger nymph to imitate the WMB nymphs that are starting to move.
Streamers have been working well on the Clark Fork as well. Low and slow is the move, with fish still finding their spring lies. Start small and light colored, and move to darker and larger till you find the ticket. The pike are also starting to wake up, and they’re being taken as well. We just got a new shipment of pike flies in- might be worth checking out.

Scroll to the bottom of this page for additional fly patterns and tips!

Rock Creek

While all eyes focus on the Bitterroot, Rock Creek fly fishing is sneaking up as being a pretty hot river. Skwalas are starting to show and being eaten with some frequency, and reports of fish taking the early WMB’s and BWO’s are being heard. The upper section is fishing well, but we recommend still taking the highway to get to P-Burg- Rock Creek Road is still a bit tricky in the middle. It’s early yet, so the fish are still pretty willing to hit a PK Skwala or a Mill Creek Skwala. A simple Hare’s Ear Parachute for the WMB and a Parachute BWO are working on the surface when you find rising fish.
Subsurface is very good, with a 20 Incher and a San Juan Worm working their yearly spring magic. If you want to go a bit smaller, the G Kes or Umpqua Pheasant Tail jig are working for the WMB nymph, while the Olive Bullet is taking fish as well.
Streamers have been somewhat productive, but have not yet started to get hot. Have them with you, but it will take some dedication to make a strong day with them. Make sure you have a Sculpin Sparkle Minnow or a Baby Gonga in Tan or Olive. Accuracy is more important than action- cold water is keeping the fish from big slashes, so get the fly close to the fish.
Scroll to the bottom of this page for additional fly patterns and tips!

March Hatches

Click any photo below to find out more information on each individual hatch. Includes life cycle, best fly patterns, helpful tips and where to find these hatches in your Western Montana fly fishing adventure.