Clark Fork River Fishing

Missoula Fly Fishing Lessons – Casting 101 – The Foundation of Fly Fishing

Fly Casting is a hand skill, just like knitting or playing shortstop. The more you do it, the better you get. Like any hand skill, there are definitely good ways to go about it and bad ways to go about. We’ve seen both. Some of our staff have been teaching Missoula fly fishing lessons for 30 years, and we’re all experienced in explaining fly casting in simple, easy to understand terms.

Fly casting follows the same rules of physics and kinesiology as any sport does. You need to obey fundamental laws of dynamics while utilizing the bodies range of motion most efficiently. Sounds simple, and with some explanation, it usually is. Our fly shop staff and guides are happy to help you learn the skill of fly fishing or improving your foundation of skills that you have already acquired.

There are two main schools of fly casting, the Joan Wulff/Mel Krieger school and the Lefty Kreh school of casting. Each have their adherents, and those who believe there is only one way to cast. We don’t feel that way.. We believe fly casting can be taught in many ways, because, as Scotty on Star Trek says’ “Ye kenna change the laws of physics!” So everything we do when teaching is built on that simple notion of making a flexible lever throw a variable flexible weight.

How do we do it in our fly fishing classes? Well, we’re not giving away all our secrets. Let’s just say we de-mystify 10-2 in the age of digital watches in these lessons. We talk about frisbees and skipping stones. Handling a paintbrush and using a hammer. And lots of other metaphors and similes so we’re not talking about second class levers, fulcrum points and the dials on a compass. Which we can do! It’s just not as understandable. We can take someone who’s never had a fishing rod in their hands and show them how to make a fly rod work for a beginner, or we can take an intermediate caster and add 30 feet of distance to their cast by teaching them new techniques like the Double Haul. We can show you how to handle a 12 weight for your saltwater trip, or tone it down so cane and glass are fully functional in your hands.

Have we piqued your interest? Get in touch with the Missoulian Angler 406 728-7766. Whether you live here or just passing through, we can help you start or improve your fly fishing experience. Our Missoula fly fishing lessons are set up on an individual basis, with a cost of $50 per hour. The classes won’t go longer than an hour. Bring your own tackle, or use ours if that’s more convenient. We offer private fly fishing lessons to corporate group classes and everything in between. If you would like to experience a full day floating the river with one of our guides teaching you the ins and outs of fly fishing Montana, then we would be happy to set that up for you too. Click image below for more details.

Fishing report 11/1

Fishing report 11/1


Regardless of the fluctuating flows the Root has been good. Look for a few hour window in the afternoon for some dry fly action including BWO, Mahogany and October Caddis. While this can be a great time of year for dry flies, the nymph rig will typically yield more fish. However for a lot of us who have been throwing dries all summer long and knowing that we can catch fish on nymphs all winter long, we love the fall months for the streamer fishing. You may not be reeling in 50+ fish a day but catching a handful of 20+ fish can be much more rewarding.


The Foot is starting to slow down on the dry flies but the streamer fishing has been spectacular up here. While some fisherman see the rising water levels as a negative impact from a fishing standpoint it can actually be the exact opposite. Think of it this way, the fish are actively feeding and getting ready for the long winter months. When the water is rising it is displacing the smaller fish from their normal holding water and as the smaller fish scramble to find a new holding area it will also make them more vulnerable to bigger fish. Some of the best streamer fishing I have ever seen in my life fishing the Blackfoot has come on rising water in November. Did I mention you will most likely have the river all to your self?

Clark Fork 


The Clark is a great opportunity this time of year. The lower end has been giving us some good dry fly action in the afternoon and the upper end has been some of the best streamer fishing out of all the rivers. You will have success from Warm Springs all the way down to the lower river. BWO, Mahogonys and October caddis will be on the menu for dry flies. For streamers throwing a white or flashy color first then followed by brown/yellow and if those don’t get a look then look to the darker colors like dark olive and black.

Rock Creek

The dry fly fishing has tapered off a bit but like the other rivers you will get a decent afternoon window of dry fly action with October Caddis or smaller mayfly attractor patterns like the Parachute P-Tail, Purple haze and Parachute adams. Nymphing with a Stonefly nymph trailing a smaller bug off the back is the way to go. If you are struggling to catch fish nymphing then try trailing a worm or egg off the back. Streamer fishing up here this time of year can produce outstanding numbers and a few quality fish.