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Missoula Fly Fishing Report

Missoula Fly Fishing Report 7/25

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

Enjoy and Good Luck!

Bitterroot River

The Bitterroot river fly fishing is in the process of changing over from early summer to summer fishing. The Golden Stones and Yellow Sallies are waning, though the trout still recognize them and will eat. The hoppers are trying to establish, and are working, but some are being taken as Goldens. The PMD’s are still strong enough to bring pods to the surface, but the hatch is less predictable than a week ago. Tricos are being seen, but not much moving to them yet. At dusk, look for Tan Caddis and Pale Evening Duns. The hotter the day, the later the evening rise. People are throwing attractors, but they haven’t taken off yet. Ants and Beetles are producing along the length of the river.
Subsurface, a streamer early in the morning will move fish, but slows down when the sun hits the water. The Yellow Spot Jig and the G Kes are still working, while the SR Bullet French is starting to produce. The Duracell and Copper Top are also moving fish.
Water temperatures aren’t super critical on the upper Bitterroot, with Darby staying under 68 for the last week. The lower Bitterroot is a bit different. The water temps above Missoula have been above 72 for the last 4 days. If you’re going to chase the evening rise, drive farther south than you’d hoped to find colder water. The afternoons are hot, if you haven’t noticed. The smoke continues to help keep the sun off the water, but the fish still need a break in the heat of the day. Fish early and plan to be off the water by 3:00, to give the trout a break.
Scroll to the bottom of this page for additional fly patterns and tips for each hatch

Blackfoot River



The good news is the nights are getting colder, and the Blackfoot river hasn’t been above 68 for the last 6 days. The water isn’t cold, but it’s not in the danger level. Still fish early to be off early afternoon, to keep from stressing the fish in the heat of the day. If you end up on the river later in the day, cut the dropper off and stay on the surface. Dragging fish up from the cold bottom to the warm surface and shore will stress fish badly.
The Golden Stones and Yellow Sallies are hanging in well on the Blackfoot River. So are the PMD’s, Tan Caddis and Pale Evening Duns. The hoppers are being seen, and eaten as well. The PED’s and Tan Caddis are a dusk event, though a small Tan Caddis is moving smaller fish all day. Attractors are moving fish well enough to have them, but a TJ Hooker and Pats Rubber Legs are working well underneath a big Golden or Tan Chubby. Smaller jigs like the Pheasant Tail and Firestarter are also effective. Bigger jigs have been more effective than smaller in the last couple of days. A streamer in the morning is never wrong on the Blackfoot, though sun will end that fun.
Scroll to the bottom of this page for additional fly patterns and tips!

Clark Fork River


The Clark Fork River is the only local river with Hoot Owl hours. There’s no fishing between 2:00 PM and Midnight from the junction of Rock Creek east to Warm Springs. The warmer water is also affecting the lower Clark Fork as well, though there are no restrictions in place. However, if you can plan your day to be off the water before the heat hits, that will help the stress levels of the trout.
Goldens and Yellow Sallies are almost done, though the fish will still eat the occasional imitation. Hoppers are starting to establish, and are flying well later in the day, unfortunately. If you stay for the hopper bite, cut your dropper off and drop down a tippet size. Get the fish to hand as quickly as possible, and release it in colder water.
The PMD’s are getting the fish on the lower Clark Fork to pod up, and the dry fly fishing is classic lower Clark. Have some cripples and emergers, as well as classic dries to cover all aspects of the hatch. The Tan caddis and Pale Evening Duns are still coming off at dusk, with the heat of the day pushing them closer to sunset. Ants and Beetles are moving fish along the banks, though attractors have not yet started to make their presence felt.
Big droppers are still moving trout subsurface. TJ Hookers, Pat’s RubberLegs and Zirdles are moving fish deep in the morning. Smaller jigs are also effective, with the G Kes, Yellow Spot and Micro May PMD taking a large proportion of fish.
At first light, a big dry stonefly will take the cruisers still looking for the nocturnal stones. And if you get to the river prior to first light, have a mouse pattern with you. The big fish come out to play at night, and the big fish in the Clark Fork are BIG! Worth getting out of bed for.
Scroll to the bottom of this page for additional fly patterns and tips!

Rock Creek

Rock Creek is fishing very well right now, with a variety of flies working. Goldens and Yellow Sallies are still moving fish, and hoppers are being eaten as well. Purple hoppers and green hoppers have been the most effective. PMD’s are waning, but still being seen. The Tan Caddis are still prolific, and will take fish all through the day, as well as dusk. Attractors have been providing a lot of fun on Rock Creek, with Micro Chubbies really moving a few fish.
The subsurface action has been strong, with gray and brown jigs taking a lot of fish. The larger droppers have fallen a bit, but a size 12-14 Pats Rubberlegs is still moving trout. Don’t be afraid to run a streamer in the morning, with the Sculpin Sparkle Minnow being the number one contender.
water temps in Rock Creek are doing quite well, with nothing above 67 in the last 5 days. We still recommend cutting off the dropper for afternoon fishing, but Rock Creek is lone of the best local rivers for good water temps. The warmer water has made the bottom more slippery than usual, so safety first when wading.
Scroll to the bottom of this page for additional fly patterns and tips!

July 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.

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