Missoula Fly Fishing Report

Missoula Fishing Report 6/10

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 is slowly coming into play. More so on the upper stretches and in to the West and East Fork with Salmonflies, Golden Stones, Yellow Sallies in the sun and Green Drakes in the Clouds. The middle and lower stretches have seen some Goldens, Yellow Sallies and Green drakes, but the water is still moving quickly and we haven’t seen a lot of bugs hatching yet. This should change soon with the flows coming down and water temps rising.
Be prepared with Golden Stone, Yellow Sallies and Green Drake dries on the mainstem in the coming weeks. For now, be prepared to throw more nymphs and streamers than dries until the bugs show up.


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

Blackfoot River

The Blackfoot river has has been good over the last few days with lots of Salmonflies and Golden Stones hatching throughout the river. The dry fly fishing has been good and should just get better. We’ve been throwing single dries throughout the day, but don’t hesitate to throw on a dropper during slow periods of the day.
We have also had some really good streamer days with brighter color streamers in the sun. With the water temperatures right now, you can use a fairly fast retrieve tight to the bank and swinging through the run.
Be prepared with Salmonfly dries and Golden Stones in the coming week.
The Blackfoot is pretty hard to beat right now for dry fly fishing, but to be honest all of the rivers and tributaries are coming into shape and should fish good from here on out.

Check out this link here for some great tips on fishing the Salmonfly hatch

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

Clark Fork River

The Clark Fork river clarity has improved a lot over the last few days and fishing is starting to improve. We’ve been seeing a few Salmonflies, Goldens, Sallies and Green drakes popping, and that should continue in the coming weeks.
We’ve been having better luck on the dropper game lately, so don’t hesitate to put on a big Salmon or Golden dry and drop a nymph off the back.
Streamer fishing has been consistent and it’s the time of year to pull some really big fish out on streamers with heavier sink tips.
We’ll keep you posted as the hatches continue to improve.


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

Rock Creek

Rock Creek fishing been awesome over the last week and no signs of slowing down. The Salmonfly hatch is thickest on the middle to upper sections with less of them on the lower, but still some and the fish are still eating them well on the lower end. As the Salmonfly hatch progresses upstream, the Goldens follow, so be ready to fish Golden Stone dries if you’re not seeing many adult Salmonflies around. If the clouds come, have some Green Drake dries ready to throw.
There typically is no reason to throw anything but dry flies this time on Rock Creek.

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

June/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.

Missoula Fly Fishing Report

Missoula Fishing Report 6/4

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 flows bumped up again and fishing has been tougher on the middle and lower sections. We’ve been hearing some decent reports on the upper stretches into the West and East Forks with some Salmonflies starting to show up.
The middle and lower Bitterroot river is still pretty big an the clarity is still off.
With many other options in the area, this wouldn’t be our first option unless you plan to go to the upper stretches. If you do decide to give the Bitterroot a shot, be prepared with Salmonfly on the upper sections, Golden Stones, PMD’s and Yellow Sally. The nymph stage of these bugs are very important to fish and fisherman this time of year, so have some nymphs matching the insects above. Our favorite patterns are listed at the bottom of this page for each hatch. Check them out before you go.


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

Blackfoot River

The Blackfoot river has has been one of the better options in the area lately and should continue to improve in the coming days. Water clarity has been decent and should improve.

We’ve had some success with Salmonfly dries in the afternoons, but there’s just not a lot of them out yet with the mild weather. That looks like it’s about to change in the next few days! With 80+ degree weather in the forecast, the Salmonfly adults should be coming off in numbers that will get the fish attention. Water temperatures maxed out at about 57 degrees last week with the warm weather, and we expect the temps to get back around that range again this week, which is ideal temperatures for Salmonflies to hatch.

We’ll see what extended weather forecast looks like after that, but have some Green Drake patterns ready for any cloudy days on tap.

Double stonefly nymph rigs are pretty hard to beat as far as catching numbers this time of year. Big Pat’s Rubber Legs, Yuk Bugs, Buggers, Double Bead Stonefly nymphs, Cheater Belly and TJ Hookers are our top patterns for nymphs.

Don’t Hesitate to toss on a dry dropper with a big Stonefly nymph trailing behind a large Salmonfly dry throughout the day. For best results on dries, a single dry tucked close to the bank along the willows is the way to go. We like throwing dries even if we have to sacrifice numbers this time of year, so we cut the droppers off for the afternoon.

The Blackfoot river is also at a great temperature for streamer fishing, fast sinking lines or even a streamer under an indicator if you don’t have a sinking line with you will put you on some big fish.
Check out this link here for some great tips on fishing the Salmonfly hatch

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

Clark Fork River

The Clark Fork river has been decent lately. The upper continued to keep good clarity throughout the last few weeks, while the lower became a little more off color. We expect clarity to improve in the coming days and fishing to continue to get better with the warmer weather coming.
We’ve been seeing a few Salmonflies, Golden Stones and Yellow Sallies kicking around, but not in any great numbers. Keep an eye out for these hatches to increase in numbers, and also be ready for some Green Drakes in the cloudy days.
Streamer fishing and nymphing has been the go to over the last few weeks with a few decent days of dry fly fishing. Expect that to continue until we start seeing more consistent water temperatures and hatches.


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

Rock Creek

Rock Creek fishing been good over the last week with Salmonfly adults hatching as well as some Golden Stones and Yellow Sallies. We’re hearing a lot of reports of Salmonflies on the lower and middle sections of Rock creek, with a few on the upper. The hatch progresses quickly upstream and the weather on tap should accelerate the movement upstream. The big bugs should be on the upper and middle stretches in larger numbers later this week.
The Golden stones will quickly follow, as we’ve already seen a few of them. Like the rest of our rivers, keep an eye out for Green Drakes starting to pop on cloudy days.
Single dries on heavy leaders like 2x is the best way to go on the Creek during the Salmonfly hatch. We’d love to tell you about the nymphing and streamer fishing this time of year on Rock Creek, but there’s usually just no need to go subsurface when the fish on Rock Creek start seeing the big flying Cheetos(salmonfly) on the menu.
Flows are still fast and the wading can be tough with the slippery rocks up here. Be careful of your footing and stay close to the bank as that’s where 90% of the fish are right now anyways.

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

June/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.

Missoula Fishing Report 5/30

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 flows bumped up in the last few days and is starting to level off. The fishing has been decent with nymphs and streamers, with a few fish coming up for dries. Focus your time nymphing inside seems and soft water. We expect some Golden Stones to show up in the next few weeks and Salmon Flies on the upper stretch.


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

Blackfoot River

The Blackfoot river has been fishing good for this time of year with good clarity and flows. We’ve spotted a few Salmonflies on the lower end, but not many and not enough to get the fish to focus on the dries yet. There’s lots of the nymphs moving around under the water and moving closer to the bank in preparation to start hatching, so be prepared with large stonefly nymphs on the inside seems and softer water.
The streamer fishing has also been really good with good water temps and clarity improving, so bust out those sinking lines and dredge deep for some big fish.
We expect next week to be game on for dries if the warmer weather forecast stays true.

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

Clark Fork River

The Clark Fork river fishing has been good lately with fish eating dries, nymphs and streamers. The flows bumped over the last few days, but has since leveled off and we expect the fishing to be good again in the coming week. We haven’t seen much for big bugs yet, but that’s also right around the corner like the rest of our rivers.
The streamer and nymph fishing has been the most consistent and should be your go to until we start seeing more adult bugs hatching.

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

Rock Creek

Rock Creek fishing has been decent lately with the Salmonfly hatch starting. The big bugs have already started to hatch on the lower end and should continue to move up as the warmer weather moves in next week.
There’s tons of Salmonfly nymphs moving to the bank, which is making the nymph fishing very productive with big stonefly nymphs.
Be ready for the Salmonfly madness to kick into gear in the coming week.
Scroll to the bottom of this page for additional fly patterns and tips!

June/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.

Missoula Fly Fishing Report

Missoula Fishing Report 5/19

The fishing in May on our major rivers is usually a wash in May forcing us to lakes and smaller streams, but this year is a little different. With a cooler than normal spring and first few weeks of May, the water hasn’t come up as drastically as past years, which is creating some good windows of fishing on the Bitterroot, Blackfoot, Clark Fork and Rock Creek.

While the fishing has been decent, safety is the biggest concern.

The water is running fast and you really need to be careful of where you decide to wade in if you do. In most cases, it’s best to keep your feet dry and fish from bank as most of the fish will be holding close to the bank in soft water anyways.

In other news, All tributaries are now open as of Saturday May 18 and are all good options to fish right now. Smaller water is obviously less dangerous than bigger water. AND the fish in the tributaries haven’t seen a fly in months.

We have already seen a few Salmonflies kicking around during the recent warm spell that didn’t last long.

Yes we’ve seen them, no you should not focus on them as a consistent dry fly yet.

Salmonfly madness will be here soon, and probably sooner than expected depending on water temperatures, so keep an eye out for our next fishing report!

Focus your time on nymphing and streamer fishing on the soft edges and any slower holding water where the fish will stack up during these flows.

As the water temperatures warm up, be ready for Salmonflies, Golden Stones, Yellow Sallies and Green Drakes starting to hatch.

Good luck wherever you decide to go and as always, stay safe and don’t hesitate to stop in or call the shop for any advice.

Missoula Fly Fishing Report

Missoula Fly Fishing 5/4

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 continues to drop and fishing has been good. We’ve experienced some unseasonably cold weather with plenty of snow and rain mix over the week. Not only has this cold spring helped flows stay low and fishing good, it’s also giving us much needed snow in the mountains. We’re still seeing a few Skwala’s here and there, but it’s been mostly a March Brown and BWO game out there as of late. With the cooler temps in the forecast, we may see some good dry fly fishing for the first part of May, depending on how much rain we see in the coming days. Be prepared for some Mothers Day Caddis to come if the clarity is good for the next few weeks.


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

Blackfoot River

The Blackfoot river has been fishing decent and much better than earlier this spring. We’ve been seeing good hatches of March Browns and BWO’s and some steady dry fly action in the warmer afternoons. The nymphing and streamer fishing has been the most consistent though, and should continue to be the go to strategy until true runoff hits. Keep your focus on inside seems and slower walking pace water until water temps warm up a bit.

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

Clark Fork River

The Clark Fork river fishing has been producing some great fishing this spring and it looks like we may get another good week or two until flows bump and water clarity turns darker. Still decent numbers of Skwala’s, March Browns and BWO’s hatching and fish are eating the dry fly. Nymphing and streamer fishing has been more productive in the morning, and dry fly fishing kicks on in the afternoon. We’re excited at the possible chance of some decent May fishing that we don’t often see on the Clark Fork and a Mothers day Caddis hatch that usually isn’t much of a factor in the Missoula area due to it usually happening around peak flows. We’ll keep an eye on weather and see how much moisture we get, but we’re optimistic that we’re going to have some decent fishing the first few weeks of May on all of our Missoula rivers.

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

Rock Creek

Rock Creek continues to fish great and that shouldn’t slow down anytime soon if the weather forecast stays true. The main game up here is March Brown and BWO’s, but the fish are still eating Skwala’s decently even though there aren’t many around lately. The streamer fishing has been really good and it’s worth it to commit a day to just streamer fishing.
Take advantage of the May fishing we have right now because it won’t last long and is a bit of an anomaly for this time of year.
Scroll to the bottom of this page for additional fly patterns and tips!

Spring 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.

Loaded Large Fly Box

The Best Fly Boxes For Dry Flies

Because dry flies come in such a variety of sizes and styles, it’s difficult to put your finger on the perfect fly box.

Most mayflies and caddis are defined by hackle. The delicate feather fibers can be deformed if not stored correctly. Foam boxes can be a bit of a problem with certain styles of fly boxes for dry flies. Put simply, any fly with hackle that extends below the shank are difficult to store in foam.

That being said, there are foam boxes designed to accept dries with hackle below the shank. Some of the Cliff and Fulling Mills Boxes utilize strips of slit foam. When a dry is slid into a strip of foam, the hackle has more room to extend due to the open space between the slits. So classic dries like Orange Stimulator and Royal Wulff’s, as well as Stimulators, will travel well in a Cliff or Fulling Mill box.

The best way to carry perpendicularly hackled flies is in a compartment. The Missoulian Angler carries a multitude of compartment fly boxes for dry flies. The Umpqua Bug Lockers, Dewitt, Myran and the Meiho M Series are just a few. The Bug Lockers are polypropylene, come in multiple sizes and are color coded. Dewitt boxes are clear, with metal hinges, and are available in various sizes and compartment configuration. Not sure what the plastic is, but some of our employees have Dewitt boxes that are 40 years old and still working! The Myran 10 series boxes also have a metal hinge for durability, and might be the best box for small dries.

Montana dry flies can run big. Stoneflies and hoppers take up space, and require a big box to handle them. Foam and synthetics have taken over large fly design, and many bigger dries are perfectly suited for foam boxes. The Tacky El Pescador box is a great solution for big bugs, with it’s greater depth. The Fulling Mills Streamer box also doubles well as a big dry fly box, again with good depth for better storage.

When it comes to floating, the Cliff Bugger Box or Boat Box is a great solution for big dries. For smaller dries, the Meiho M Series is a guide favorite. The Meiho’s have removable dividers, allowing the angler to customize compartment size. The M Series comes in 2 depths, making access to smaller flies easier in the shallow box.

Dry flies are the trickiest flies to store correctly. Most anglers use a combination of foam and compartment boxes, keeping classically hackled flies in compartments while storing parachutes and foam flies in foam. There’s no doubt foam boxes provide unrivalled organization. With that organization, it’s easy to see where the holes in your arsenal lie, and make it easy to fill before the next outing.