Guided Fly Fishing Missoula Montana

Take a Cloud Day!

If you ski, or know any skiers, you know the concept of a powder day. When 10” of beautiful powder falls on a Tuesday night in February, In Missoula, MT, a certain group of diehards fisherman are prepping their reason they can’t work the next morning. Bad stomach, headache, the dog ate my homework, all these are employed by erstwhile employees as they bag work and go skiing!

The Missoulian Angler Fly Shop and guides are well aware of the summer version of a powder day. It’s called a cloud day. We’re big sky country, and when the sun comes out for good in late June, the sky is azure blue with little rest from the sun. For the angler or the fish! Trout fishermen have sunglasses. Trout don’t even have eyelids. When the sky is high and bright, trout show up like beacons to overhead predators. Many trout choose to stay close to the bottom where the sun is less debilitating, and depth provides protection from overhead predators even when the hatch is going on.

Watch the summer weather reports closely in Missoula, MT. When they call for a cloudy day smack in the middle of a sunny spell, start thinking of your reason not to go to work. A cloudy day is the perfect storm for fly fishing. Mayflies will hatch in greater numbers when they have cloud cover. With no eyelids, the trout are more comfortable in the lower light. Additionally, cloud cover affects the ability of predators to locate prey in the water. Combine more insects, less predation and less ocular stress, and you have so many more fish moving to so many more insects on a cloudy summer day it can look like a battalion of kids tossing rocks in the water. As Missoulians well know, a cloudy day in summer is a rare treat for fisherman. Much like 10” of powder. So take advantage! Work on those symptoms, sound convincingly hoarse and stuffy, and then enjoy some of the best summer fishing you can get.

Missoula Fly Fishing Report 6/22

Bitterroot River

The Bitterroot has improved a lot over the last week and is fishing well. Few Salmon flies up top but Golden Stones, Yellow Sallies in the sun and PMD’s and especially Green Drakes in the clouds. Most of our reports have been on the upper stretches although the mid section is fishing decent as well. For dries try Demoes Golden, Morningwood Golden, Double Dutch Bug, Carnage Green Drake, Comparadun PMD and the Film Critic. For nymphs try the G-Kes, Jiggin Stone, Yellow Resin Wing, Pilva or many of the other 200 different styles of Jig Nymphs we in stock.

Blackfoot River

The Blackfoot is dropping and in great shape. There has been bugs all over including Salmon Flies, Golden Stones, Yellow Sallies and Green Drakes. This is a great time of year to hit the Blackfoot and should keep you busy with dry flies action all day. The Salmon Flies are on the mid to upper stretches and Golden stones everywhere. With the clouds this week, be ready for some great Green Drake hatches. Our dries of choice the last few days have been the Super G, Rastaman, PK Stones, Bullethead Salmon Flies and Golden. The streamer fishing has been great too if you are into throwing big flies. If 
the dry fly fishing slows midday then throw on droppers off the dry like G-Kes, cream ptail jig, Jiggin Stones, Hot Pheasant Jig, Bullets, Pats Rubber Legs and DB Stones.

Clark Fork River

The Clark Fork is also coming into good shape and plenty of bugs to keep you and the fish busy all day. We have been seeing some Salmon Flies, Golden Stones, Yellow Sallies and many Green Drakes in the clouds. Another great option around Missoula and should continue to fish well here on out. Streamer fishing and nymphing is also a great option but we have been busy on dries all day long. When the dry fly fishing slows midday then throw on droppers off the dry like G-Kes, cream ptail jig, Jiggin Stones, Hot Pheasant Jig, Bullets, Pats Rubber Legs and DB Stones.

Rock Creek

Rock Creek is one of your best options right now along with dozens of other tributaries in the Missoula area for wading or floating if you are a confident rower. Salmon Flies are all over the upper creek and Golden Stones showing up as well throughout the creek. Green Drakes have been great on the cloudy days. Most days there is no need to go subsurface unless you want to. Dries all day long is the game, Stones in the sun and Green Drakes in the clouds.

Casting A Fly Rod With Dr. Beck

Thoughts on Casting . . . . . and Travel

Miles Davis, the great jazz trumpeter, said, “If I don’t practice for two days, I start to notice. If I don’t practice for four days, my fans start to notice.”

This isn’t about contrasting casting styles, or the merits of a fast or slow rod. This is about being ready when you get off the plane or out of the car. Our guides have quoted numerous clients, when getting into the boat for the first day of five days of fly fishing trip to Missoula, “I haven’t picked up a fly rod for 6 months.” And the thought, “REALLY?!?!?!?” immediately floats through the guide’s head. You’re about to spend $2750 and you haven’t even picked up a rod?

I knew a man who was comped a 7 day trip to the South Island of New Zealand. Four 5-Star lodges and the finest fishing the South Island could provide. On day two, after having blown his third shot at his third fish, the guide turned to him and asked’ “Did you not even practice before coming here?” He wasn’t implying he was a bad fisherman, because he wasn’t. He was saying that a bit of planning might have made the trip a bit more successful and a bit less frustrating.  Our guides don’t do that, but they definitely know you’re not getting anywhere near what you could be from your time on the rivers around Missoula, MT.

When pre-trip information is given to someone going on a Billfish trip, it lists tackle and fly needs, clothing and other necessities. It also directs the angler to purchase a 10 pound dumbbell, and starting two MONTHS before the trip, begin to do one minute of forearm curls, with each hand, three times a day. Move to two minutes, and try to increase even more. Why? Because when a billfish sounds and then starts to spiral, you will need to derrick that fish to the surface. If you’re not prepared, if you haven’t trained for that, your Billfish experience is going to be long and painful.

We’re not asking you to spend hours a day casting, or hire a casting instructor till you can hit a trash can lid at 85’. But if you haven’t picked up your rod for a while, string it up. Put in 15 minutes day for a week before you head out. Don’t change your style, just refresh your familiarity with the tools of the trade. You’re going to be stunned at how much better your guided trip goes with a bit of pre-practice. You’ve made a pretty serious investment of time and money. If your fishing time is limited before the trip, an investment of a little casting time will maximize your time on the water.

Missoula Fly Fishing Report 6/14

Bitterroot River

The Bitterroot has been rising a bit the last few weeks with the warmer temps. The Bitterroot should fish better and better every day as the water continues to warm up and flows steady out. There are Salmon Flies moving on the upper along with some Green Drakes and Sallies but the nymph and streamer game will be your best technique up here right now. Focus on Salmon Flies and Golden Stone Dries up and Green Drakes in the clouds. Nymph patterns to try are be DB Stone, Pats Rubber Legs, G-Kes Jig, Jiggin Stones, Jig Prince Nymph, Hot Pheasant Jig and the good ole worm.

Blackfoot River

The Blackfoot is dropping and in great shape. There has been bugs all over including Salmon Flies, Golden Stones, Yellow Sallies and Green Drakes. This is a great time of year to hit the Blackfoot and should keep you busy with dry flies action all day. Our dries of choice the last few days have been the Super G, Rastaman, PK Stones, Bullethead Salmon Flies and Golden. The streamer fishing has been great too if you are into throwing big flies. If
the dry fly fishing slows midday then throw on droppers off the dry like G-Kes, cream ptail jig, Jiggin Stones, Hot Pheasant Jig, Bullets, Pats Rubber Legs and DB Stones.

Clark Fork River

The Clark Fork is also coming into good shape and plenty of bugs to keep you and the fish busy all day. We have been seeing plenty of Salmon Flies, Golden Stones, Yellow Sallies and a few Green Drakes in the clouds. Another great option around Missoula and should continue to fish well here on out. Streamer fishing and nymphing is also a great option but we have been busy on dries all day long. When the dry fly fishing slows midday then throw on droppers off the dry like G-Kes, cream ptail jig, Jiggin Stones, Hot Pheasant Jig, Bullets, Pats Rubber Legs and DB Stones.

Rock Creek

Rock Creek is one of your best options right now along with dozens of other tributaries in the Missoula area for wading or floating if you are a confident rower. Salmon Flies are all over the upper creek and Golden Stones showing up as well throughout the creek. Most days there is no need to go subsurface unless you want to. Dries all day long is the game, Stones in the sun and Green Drakes in the clouds.

Missoula’s Largest Fly Selection

Missoula’s Largest Fly Tying Selection

Missoula Fly Fishing Report 6/10

It’s June, which means it’s time for Salmon Flies!

Check out our newest blog that talks about tips and techniques when fishing the Salmon fly Hatch in Western Montana.

https://www.missoulianangler.com/2019/05/salmon-flies-the-big-start-to-missoulas-summer/

Bitterroot River

The Bitterroot has been dropping like a rock for the last week or so and is definitely an option right now. The Bitterroot should fish better and better every day as the water continues to drop and warm up with the weather forecast looking like warmer days ahead of us. There are a few Salmon Flies moving on the upper along with some Green Drakes and Sallies but the nymph and streamer game will be your best technique up here right now. Focus on Stonefly nymphs as many of them are waiting for some warmer temps to fly which means they are migrating to the banks and become more susceptible to fish. Nymph patterns to try are be DB Stone, Pats Rubber Legs, G-Kes Jig, Jiggin Stones, Jig Prince Nymph, Hot Pheasant Jig and the good ole worm.

Blackfoot River

The Blackfoot is big but you could do worse as far as clarity is concerned. The river continues to drop and conditions improve every day. Salmon Flies have just started showing up on the lower river. We have had a few good days up here this last week focusing on streamers tight to the bank and heavy stone fly nymph rigs on the soft edges of the inside seems. Yuk bug, Pats, Bitch Creek, DB Stones, Jiggin Stones, Hot Pheasant Jig and worms are the nymphs of choice up here right now. Dry fly fishing should continue to improve on the lower end later this week.

Clark Fork River

The Clark Fork is surprisingly clearing up fairly quick and while not your best option around Missoula, it is definitely not a waste of time. We fished it just to bring you a report and pulled a few nice fish out nymphing inside seems and a few bonus fish on Salmon Flies(yes there is adults on the Clark Fork and they are starting to look up for them). If you do decide to try the Clark Fork, then cover every inch of the soft inside seems. We believe it should continue to clear up and the dry fly fishing should really pick up towards the end of the week. Although you can find many better places to fish around Missoula right now, it’s still a fun challange to go out in less then ideal conditions and catch fish.

Rock Creek

Rock Creek is one of your best options right now along with dozens of other tributaries in the Missoula area. Salmon Flies have been out mid river and fish are eating them. The last few cold days slowed the advance of the hatch upstream but the bugs will continue their journey upstream followed by golden stones. Our go to stone patterns are the PK, Damiens SUV, Super Gee, Rastaman, 64 Impala and the good old Orange Stimulator. For nymphs try Pats Rubber Legs, G-Kes Jig, Hot Pheasant Jigs, Jiggin Stone and Hard bodies. Don’t hesitate to tight line(no indicator) a stonefly nymph early in the day before the dry fly action starts.

Missoula’s Largest Fly Selection

Missoula’s Largest Fly Tying Selection

Missoula Fly Fishing Report 6/4

It’s June, which means it’s time for Salmon Flies!

Check out our newest blog that talks about tips and techniques when fishing the Salmon fly Hatch in Western Montana.

https://www.missoulianangler.com/2019/05/salmon-flies-the-big-start-to-missoulas-summer/

Bitterroot River

The Bitterroot has bumped back up in flows after a few heavy rain showers followed by a series of warm days. Fishable? yes but there are plenty of other options like small tributaries that will offer better conditions. If you do head to the Bitterroot then focus on nymphing inside seems, edges, side channels or any other soft water you can find.

Blackfoot River

The Blackfoot is big but you could do worse as far as clarity is concerned. Steadily dropping over the last week even with warm conditions and color is turning green. We have had a few good days up here this last week focusing on streamers tight to the bank and heavy stone fly nymph rigs on the soft edges of the inside seems. Yuk bug, Pats, Bitch Creek, DB Stones and worms are the nymphs of choice up here right now.

Clark Fork River

The Clark Fork along with most of the streams has been affected by heavy rain and a few warm days, making this one of your last options around Missoula. If you to decide to hit the Clark Fork then focus on where tributaries dump in creating clear seems.

Rock Creek

Rock Creek is one of your best options right now along with dozens of other tributaries in the Missoula area. Salmon Flies have been out on the lower end and fish are eating them. The bugs continue their journey upstream followed by golden stones. Our go to stone patterns are the PK, Damiens SUV, Super Gee, Rastaman, 64 Impala and the good old Orange Stimulator. Don’t hesitate to tight line(no indicator) a stonefly nymph early in the day before the dry fly action starts. Nymphs include DB Stone, Pats, Yuk Bug, Bitch Creek or one of the hundreds of jig patterns that we carry!

Missoula’s Largest Fly Selection

Missoula’s Largest Fly Tying Selection