Missoula, Montana Fly Fishing
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Attractor Patterns

MAngler Guide Chase Harrison with a big Blackfoot River Cutbow that had an apatite for Attractor patterns on this particular day.

Attractor Overview

Montana offers some excellent attractor fly fishing in the late summer months. I mean seriously, what does a Chubby Chernobyl really represent? But they take a lot of fish on the Blackfoot River, Bitterroot River, Clark Fork River, Rock Creek and many other streams in Montana. As do Humpy’s, Royal Wulffs and so many other attractor patterns.

Fly Fishing Attractor Fly Patterns

In Montana, attractor fishing is most prevalent in late summer, when the insect bio-mass in the rivers have reached their lowest point. Fish are desperately looking for food, and will try and eat almost any thing that goes by.

Most anglers think of attractors as big dry flies, but attractors can be sub-surface as well. The Batman series of nymphs and hot spot perdigons are designed to catch the fish’s eye and move them to the fly. Deep sinking nymphs pay dividends in the high sky that often accompanies August.

Attractor Sizes

Attractors don’t have to be big, either. Gary LaFontaine touted small attractors, and so do we. The theory of attractor fishing is to show the trout something out of the box. Most assume this to mean bigger than what they‘re accustomed to, to catch their eye. A smaller imitation will do the same. Why do you think a size 18 Purple Haze is so effective. Smaller than expected, that also catches the trout’s attention.

When attractor fishing, cover you bases. Undersized, over-sized and flashy make a pretty good selection. Oversized Attractors work better than an undersized attractor on the higher gradient Blackfoot River and Rock Creek. Undersized attractors are about 50/50 with over-sized attractors on the Clark Fork River and Biterroot River. When you sit down to tie something the trout have never seen before, don’t be afraid to make some small ones. Attractors are fun in late summer!