Western Montana Fly Fishing 2022 Forecast

We’re having a typical Montana Spring. We had snow in late April, and the weather hasn’t gone above 70 since October! We’re getting a bit of rain each day, which is keeping the ground moist and the grass green. While some don’t enjoy this weather now, we’re all going to love it in about 6 weeks and throughout the summer. So far the Montana fly fishing 2022 prediction is looking pretty dang good.

Our snow pack is between 150 and 215% throughout the area, and if this rain continues, we’re going to have an epic summer. Hate to pull a jinx, but it’s looking a whole lot better than last summer, when we had some serious drought throughout western Montana. But right now, we’re poised to have water throughout the summer. The weather looks mild for the next few weeks which always helps extending the runoff further into the summer and should produce some good june fly fishing as well. As long as we don’t see those early record breaking temperature like we saw last June, we should have some much happier fish for the summer of 2022.

We can’t wait. The droughts that occasionally show in Western Montana can be a real issue for fishing. Low flows and high water temps are a serious stresser on the trout. When water levels stay up through the summer, keeping water temps lower, the fish stay healthy. This snowpack, and some typical June rain will keep water levels where they should be through the summer.

The Missoulian Angler is prepping for a big summer of fishing. Our cold spring fishing has shown us some very healthy, fat fish with no noticeable population decline. We came through last years’ low water relatively unscathed. All the cards are in place, it looks like the stars are aligned. With a little help from June rain, this summer is looking to be a lot deeper than last summer. Lazy waders might be a bit sad, as will those who like their fish stacked like cordwood. But for those who want a healthy river, stress free trout and cold water around their feet, it looks like the summer of 2022 Montana fly fishing is going to be a whole lot better than last year.

Current Western Montana snow water equivalent percent map – 6/1/2022
A great start to Western Montana fly fishing 2022 season!!!
Missoula Fly Fishing Report

Missoula Fly Fishing Report 4/30

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

Enjoy and Good Luck!

Bitterroot River

We’re fishing in May for the first time in a while. The cold, wet spring is keeping river levels fairly steady, and the fish are up and feeding on skwalas, March Browns and big Gray Drakes. Go a bit smaller on the skwalas- 10’s and 12’s- they’ve been ashore for a while and are losing body mass. A Rogue Skwala or a Gray/Olive Plan B will still take fish looking to the surface. The skwala nymph is still OK, but most have hatched, so a smaller mayfly nymph might be a better choice.
The Gray Drakes are well imitated by a size 12 Hare’s Ear Parachute, our a Brindle Chute. Subsurface, don’t sleep on the SJ Worm, as well as a Duracell Jig or the Pink Hot Spot Jig. As the water levels are fluctuating, make sure to get your dropper or nymph rig deep enough.
The pike are starting to pod up to spawn, so they’re easy to find, but a bit spooky. Run a smaller articulated fly like a Gray Dungeon or a Kill Whitey to imitate the whitefish. Gaudy flies are drawing attention, but not as many eats at the moment. Make sure to have a few bright ones if that changes.
When the water is fluctuating, streamers are a very good choice. Throw what you’re comfortable with, something with a bit of a head to push water. Get as deep as you can, and keep the streamer moving. Have light, bright and dark to cover all the bases.
Scroll to the bottom of this page for additional fly patterns and tips for each hatch

Blackfoot River

The colder Spring has put the Blackfoot into play, and it’s fishing well. With the weather forecast in the next 5 days, we think it’s going to stay good through early May. The Gray Drakes are being seen in the lower sections, and streamers are working along the length of the river. A deep nymph is also working very well- bigger has been better. Take some Rubberlegs and TJ Hookers, run your dropper as deep as you can, and let them hunt. The fish have been looking for them.
The Gray Drakes are sporadic, but when the fish find them, they’re on them. Have your big profile flies like a Brindle Chute or Parachute Hare’s Ear. The fish aren’t fussy, but finding them can be.
Streamers are working up here, and we’re getting reports of big and little, light and dark. So pick your poison and get them out in the river. Blackfoot fish love streamers, and they’re hitting them now. Take advantage of Spring Blackfoot river fishing!
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Clark Fork River

The Clark Fork is a spotty river right now. The upper is definitely clearer than the middle section, and we’re hearing down low is still fishing well. Check the USGS web site to see if the water is rising, dropping or steady. With the weather that’s forecast, the Clark Fork should stabilize and fish well for the next week or so. It’s been a while since we’ve had good May fishing in the area. That will make a big difference in how and where you fish. If the river is rising, be ready to fish streamers. Rising water moves the little fish out of their homes and into the bigger fish.
If the water is steady or dropping, the skwalas, March Browns and Gray Drakes are still moving fish on the surface. Use a Size 8-10 Rogue Skwala or an Olive Chubby if you’re running the dry/dropper. A darker Rubberlegs underneath is always working on the Clark Fork, just keep it deep.
The Gray Drakes are really going on the Clark Fork, with pods of fish rising in the afternoon to these big bugs. Try a size 12 Hare’s Ear Parachute or a Brindle Chute to give the big profile needed, or run the Adams if you want a thinner bug. Subsurface, have the Tungsten Jig Assassin or a Duracell to mimic the nymph.
When the water is coming up, use a bigger streamer to move the bigger fish. Darker flies have been taking fish when the water is a bit off color, so have your dark streamers ready. If the water is clearer, start dark but be ready to switch to a lighter color. Sink tips are good on the Lower section- get deep and stay there.



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Rock Creek

The Gray Drakes are really getting hot right now along the length of the Rock Creek, and with the weather forecast, will stay this way for a few days in early May. The skwalas are still active as well, and the fish are looking for them after about noon. An Olive Chubby and the Gray/Olive Plan B are taking fish on the surface, and the 20 Incher is working as a skwala nymph.
Make sure to have your size 12 Adams or Parachute Hare’s Ear for the Gray Drakes. They’re coming off in the afternoon, and are pretty easy to find. If you want to ply the depths, bring some Duracell CopperTops or a Brillons Lucent Hare’s Ear Jig to imitate the nymphs. The San Juan Worm is also working really well up here.
Streamers have been working as well, but not anything special. It’s still standard streamer fishing on Rock Creek, but hey, it’s fishing in May! Take advantage while you can.
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May 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 Fly Fishing Report 4/1

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 has been really good, with consistent Skwalas in the afternoon with sun or clouds. The Gray/Olive Plan B and the Half Down Skwala are getting solid results on the surface, while a 20 Incher or Double Bead Peacock Stone is working sub-surface. The Nemoura Stones are also taking trout- drop a dry Nemoura off your Skwala so you can see the thing. Subsurface, a Black SR Frenchie is working as the nymph.


The Western March Browns are also establishing, and the fish are starting to look for them in the afternoon. Right now, a Purple Haze or parachute Adams are working, but as the fish get more accustomed to taking them, a Lexi’s Tactical Dun Gray or Parachute Hare’s Ear is going to be a better choice. You can pretty much choose your nymph in gray or brown, something like a Duracell Jig or a Hares Ear is working sub-surface.


We’re not hearing much about steamers, with most anglers on the Bitterroot focusing on the hatches, but a slim profile fly like a Skiddish Smolt or Sculpzilla will turn some heads. Keep it low and slow for best results.


The Bitterroot is slowly dropping along the length, and we expect the fishing to get better as the next few days progress. The rise in water, slowed things down, but that’s changing and the fishing is good on the ‘Root.


Play nicely with others- The Bitterroot is seeing some pressure, so do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Scroll to the bottom of this page for additional fly patterns and tips for each hatch

Blackfoot River

The Blackfoot River hasn’t really started to get good yet, and the recent increase in flow hasn’t helped. The Blackfoot is level, but not dropping yet, and it’s barely above 40 degrees. The fishing up here is slow, but there aren’t many people either. If you’re willing to put in the work, bring your Pat’s Rubberlegs, TJ Hookers and 20 Inchers, some additional weight and a patient attitude. Get the fly where the fish are and they’ll eat, but the colder water temps means the fish are a bit slow.


Same applies to streamers, get em deep, move them slowly, and it will pay off, but it won’t be hot and heavy. Of Missoula’s 4 rivers, the Blackfoot may be 4th choice, but you can get it done if you’re willing to go deep.
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Clark Fork River

The Clark Fork river is a tale of two rivers at the moment. Above town, the fishing is good. Some Skwalas, the WMB’s are getting a foothold, and the streamer fishing is decent. In and below town, the Clark Fork has limited visibility, and might not be the first choice for angling.


If you do decide to hit the upper Clark Fork, make sure to have a few Rasta Skwalas. If you need some foam to float a dropper, Clook’s Floater will take fish on top while holding up a Hare’s Ear or Orange Spot Jig as a WMB nymph. When the WMB’s start hatching, have some Lexi’s Gray Tactical Duns and Parachute Hare’s Ear’s for the afternoon.


Bigger streamers have been working above town, with a Gonga or Baby Dungeon in white standing out. Make sure they get deep enough, the water is still cold.


Our feeling is the lower Clark Fork River might be fishing by the end of the weekend, but it may take a bit longer to get the color out of the water.

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Rock Creek

Rock Creek has been fishing very well in the last couple of days as it drops in flows. The dry skywalks are consistent from early early afternoon on, with the Plan B Gray/Olive and a Rogue Skwala taking fish. The 20 Inches has been the skywalk nymph of choice, followed by the TJ Hooker. Nemouras are also working, so have a few when you head up to fish.


The Western March Browns are established, and offering consistent fishing on the upper and lower sections of Rock Creek. If you’re heading to the top of Rock Creek, take the P-Burg route. The middle section of Rock Creek Road is still a bit gnarly. Have your Parachute hare’s Ears and Parachute Adams when the WMB’s start to hatch, and a DuraCell Jig or a Pink Hot Spot for working the bottom. It’s also worm season, and the San Juan Worm is taking ore than it’s fair share of fish.


The streamer game is low and slow, with the Sculpin Sparkle Minnow working extremely well. A Baby Gonga or White Sculpzilla is also moving fish, but again, get it deep for better production.


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March 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 Fly Fishing Report 3/20

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

Enjoy and Good Luck!

Bitterroot River

Yes, it can now be said the skwala hatch is consistent on the Bitterroot River. Decent surface action is being found in the afternoons. Most Skwalas are working right now, but the Mangler custom Gray/Olive Plan B has been noticeably more effective, as has the El Camino. The Nemoura is even more prolific than the skwala, and a double dry- Skwala on point to a Nemoura dropper- is taking fish very consistently. A few BWO’s have been seen, and the fish are taking them when they can. WMB’s are in the air, but not much interest in them yet.
If you go subsurface, keep your skwala nymph near the edges, imitating the skwala nymphs staging before emergence. Have a few extras- big nymphs shallow is a recipe for snags. Smaller nymphs like an Olive Bullet or Pheasant Tail Jig are also working. And the worm- it is spring.
Pike are starting to move in the sloughs, and anglers have been targeting them successfully. Not hearing much about streamers on the Bitterroot, probably due to Skwala-mania. If you’re on the ‘Root and the dries aren’t getting it done, flip a streamer. The bigger fish are looking to feed- if they’re not coming to the surface, then you ought tp go down and meet them on their own terms!
Scroll to the bottom of this page for additional fly patterns and tips for each hatch

Blackfoot River

Every time we get a couple warm days, we think the Blackfoot river is going to start to fish, but so far it’s river choice four in the area. You can still take fish on the Blackfoot with a deep nymph rig or a very well placed streamer, but on the whole, it’s not in top form. Get your Pat’s Rubberlegs or 20 Inchers, and don’t be afraid to add split shot to make sure you get where the fish are. Smaller nymphs are decent, and the worm is taking it’s fair share of fish.
The lower sections are fishing a bit better than higher up, and if you’re heading north to the Blackfoot, the longer you wait the better the fishing will be. Give the water a chance to warm up a bit before making the journey. You might not be rewarded with massive numbers, but it should be pretty peaceful on the river.
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Clark Fork River

The Clark Fork river fly fishing has been a bit slow waking up this spring, but there are signs the fishing has turned the corner. Some Skwalas are being seen in the middle and lower sections, and once in a while the fish will care. Subsurface, the action is quite good, with a deep Pat’s Rubberlegs or a shallower Double Bead Peacock Stone are both taking trout. Drop a smaller, brown or tan Perdigon, like a G Kes or a Hot Spot Pheasant Tail Orange below the larger nymph to imitate the WMB nymphs that are starting to move.
Streamers have been working well on the Clark Fork as well. Low and slow is the move, with fish still finding their spring lies. Start small and light colored, and move to darker and larger till you find the ticket. The pike are also starting to wake up, and they’re being taken as well. We just got a new shipment of pike flies in- might be worth checking out.

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Rock Creek

While all eyes focus on the Bitterroot, Rock Creek fly fishing is sneaking up as being a pretty hot river. Skwalas are starting to show and being eaten with some frequency, and reports of fish taking the early WMB’s and BWO’s are being heard. The upper section is fishing well, but we recommend still taking the highway to get to P-Burg- Rock Creek Road is still a bit tricky in the middle. It’s early yet, so the fish are still pretty willing to hit a PK Skwala or a Mill Creek Skwala. A simple Hare’s Ear Parachute for the WMB and a Parachute BWO are working on the surface when you find rising fish.
Subsurface is very good, with a 20 Incher and a San Juan Worm working their yearly spring magic. If you want to go a bit smaller, the G Kes or Umpqua Pheasant Tail jig are working for the WMB nymph, while the Olive Bullet is taking fish as well.
Streamers have been somewhat productive, but have not yet started to get hot. Have them with you, but it will take some dedication to make a strong day with them. Make sure you have a Sculpin Sparkle Minnow or a Baby Gonga in Tan or Olive. Accuracy is more important than action- cold water is keeping the fish from big slashes, so get the fly close to the fish.
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March 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 Fly Fishing Report 3/6

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

Enjoy and Good Luck!

Bitterroot River

The Bitterroot is slowly dropping and clearing as we write, but still has some color. Lots of water came in last week. The skwala nymphs are starting to stage on the Bitterroot. THE NYMPHS. We’re still a bit away from dry fly action with Skwalas and Nemouras. An SR Bullet Black or Black Knight are great Nemoura nymphs, while the 20 Incher or the Peacock Double Bead Stone is a good skwala nymph. Bring your dries if it makes you feel better- they make a decent indicator.
There’s shelf ice on the ‘Root as well, so wading anglers make sure of access in and out. Also, wade carefully in the shallows- the nymphs are there, so are the trout. If you’re waist deep, you’re probably where the fish just were. Access for floaters was good two weeks ago, and there hasn’t been enough recent snow to change that. Dress warmly!
Scroll to the bottom of this page for additional fly patterns and tips for each hatch

Blackfoot River

Cold, cold, cold. The wade fishing has been slow, though larger fish are being taken. Floaters are finding more ice in the guides than fish in the boats. And just the lower river, boat access in the upper river is sketchy at best. Of the 4 rivers we have, this will be the slowest. Wait a bit before hitting the Blackfoot, but if you do make the call, a Brown TJ Hooker or dark Pat’s Rubberlegs is the best option. Drop a small perdigon off the back of the bigger nymph, and get Deep.
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Clark Fork River

Clark Fork is up and a bit off color through town and above. Which will help get rid of some of the shelf ice lining the banks. Waders need to make sure they have clear access in and out before entering the water. Some of the access ramps are easily accessed, others will require a bit of a boat drag. The weather this week won’t melt access blocks all that quickly- that will change in about 5 days.
Look for the river to be much clearer in the next 24-48 hours, and the trout to get back to their subsurface feeding. Don’t sleep on a deep, slow moving streamer, as well as the usual suspects for nymphs. Take a look into the back sloughs and slow eddies to target the pike, they’re starting to get on the feed as well.
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Rock Creek

Be ready for a little shelf ice in some spots, and if you’re thinking of the upper river, go around by Phillipsburg. The middle portion of Rock Creek Rd is still in winter conditions. Of the four local rivers, Rock Creek was least affected by the spate, and it’s the clearest river in the area.
Make sure to run your dropper a bit deeper up here- the water is up and moving a bit, and trout are hugging the bottom or deep in structure. Skwala nymphs are working, and a Brown Perdigon is a good WMB nymph. Slow pools will show willing for a streamer, but keep it low and slow. Smaller is better for streamers up here, but we’re hearing the little articulated streamers are moving fish.
Scroll to the bottom of this page for additional fly patterns and tips!

March 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 9/28

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

Enjoy and Good Luck!

Bitterroot River

The warmer weather has kept the Bitterroot fishing strong for the last couple of days, and we expect this to continue for the next couple of weeks. The Mahoganies have finally established, and are a consistent hatch in the afternoon. A Tiltwing Mahogany or a Brooks Sprout have been very successful. The October Caddis are now a significant presence, and can be fished pretty much throughout the day. Make sure to have a size 12 Orange Stimulator or an Orange Elk Hair caddis in a size 8 or 10. Tricos are still strong in the morning, but the trout are well trained on that hatch. The Sunken Trico is really working, while the spinners and duns are being received in a fussy manner. Be ready with a wide selection of spinners and duns. The BWO’s are starting to hatch even with the sun. A simple parachute or Last Chance cripple will take fish consistently. Make sure you know if it’s a BWO or trico in the morning, or you might have some fruitless fishing.
If you’re not sure what to throw, tie on a Brindle Chute and let it hunt. This is the time of year that fly shines. Or use a Pink Morrish Hopper. The warm weather in the forecast is keeping the hoppers active, so the trout are still looking at them.
Nymphing has been strong, with a Duracell or Pheasant Tail Jig working very well for the Mahogany nymph. Look for a Red Fox Squirrel nymph to imitate the October caddis. A Black SR Bullet or Olive SR Bullet are taking fish as a trico or BWO nymph. If you need a fly to get the smaller fly down quickly, the 20 Incher or the Pat’s Rubber legs in a 10-12 are working as a stonefly nymph.
The streamer fishing has been good on the Bitterroot, but not fantastic. Run a smaller, more natural colored streamer due to the clarity of the smaller water, like a size 8 Sculpzilla or a Skiddish Smolt. No need to drop your tippet, but the smaller streamers have been working well.



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

Blackfoot River

The Blackfoot has been hot, and the warm weather is going to keep the Blackfoot fishing right on into October. The streamer fishing has been dynamite along the entire length, and most streamers shown are at least getting a turn. If you can, go big or go home with a Dungeon or a Gonga. For those with lighter rods, a size 4 Sculpzilla and the Kreelix have been very good. Don’t sleep on a Sparkle Minnow either, as they’ve been extremely successful as well.
The October Caddis are being seen with some regularity, and a size 12 Orange Stimulator or a big Orange Elk Hair Caddis have been great searching patterns. The mahoganies are establishing, but finding them on foot can be problematic. From a boat, make sure to have some Brooks Sprouts and a HotSpot ParaWulff Brindle. Have tricos and BWO’s with you as well, but again, you’ll need to hunt those hatches out. Not the prime fly. A prime fly is the Henneberry Hopper in a Tan Size 10. Warm weather is good for hoppers as well, so the trout are still actively looking for terrestrials.
When you go deep with a nymph, have some 20 Inchers and TJ Hookers to cover the bigger nymphs. A Pink or Orange Hot Spot is working well, as is the SR Bullet Quill. Get the fly down deep. The warm weather is great for water temperature, but the sun pushes the fish deeper. Make sure your dropper gets down where the fish are.
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Clark Fork River

The Lower Clark Fork has gotten hot in the last couple of days, with mahoganies, tricos and some BWO’s being taken with regularity. The fish are podding up for tricos and Mahoganies. The Sunken Trico has been money down here, while the Hi-Viz Spinner has been taking its fair share of fish. The Mahoganies are still new enough that a Parachute Pheasant Tail or Tiltwing Mahogany are taking fish regularly. The BWO’s are starting to be seen, but not in great numbers. Make sure you have your BWO’s with you, but don’t expect magic yet. Give it a week. The October Caddis are sporadic, so again, have them with you but it won’t be a prime fly. When the fishing slows down late afternoon, pop on a Sweetwater Hopper or a Tan Parachute Hopper to keep the fish coming to the surface.
The streamer fishing on the Clark Fork has been really good, and will stay there for the duration of the season. Pick your poison for the Clark Fork. If you have a dedicated streamer rod, throw some big bugs off the bank to move the large browns defending territory. For those with a smaller rod, the Rusty Trombone and Baby Gonga have been moving trout as well.
The nymphing is consistent as always, and a Pat’s Rubber Lweg or T.J. Hooker are working quite well deep. In the Shallower water, run a Pheasant Tail Jig or a Duracell to mimic the Mahogany nymph. A Yellow Hot Spot and Pink Hot Spot are also taking fish. Add a little more to the dropper with the warm sunshine. It moves the hatches, but keeps the fish nearer to the bottom when the hatch isn’t going on.
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Rock Creek

The Mahoganies have established along the length of Rock Creek. Start with a Tilt Wing Mahogany, and if that doesn’t get it done, switch to a Mahogany Sprout or a Red Quill CDC Mahogany. Tricos are still hatching up here, so make sure you have them with you. October Caddis are starting to get consistent, so an Orange Elk Hair Caddis or Orange Stimulator will work well as a searching fly. Start looking for BWO’s, but they haven’t started, yet. But they will, so make sure they’re in the vest. Hoppers are still flying, and the warm weather in the forecast will keep the hoppers in the air and on the water. Make sure you have your hopper box.
Nymphing has been very good on Rock Creek, with big and small nymphs working equally well. Go big with a Pat’s Rubberlegs or a Speckled Double Bead Hare’s Ear. Drop an SR Bullet Quill or a Brush Hog of the big nymph for a highly effective double nymph rig. If you go Hopper/Dropper, the smaller nymph is the natural choice. Add a little length to the dropper, to get where the fish are in the brighter sun.
The streamer fishing has been consistent, and we expect that to continue as the weather stays consistent. A Sculpin Sparkle Minnow continues to work, while a White Sculpzilla or White Sparring partner will move the territorial Browns. Don’t go giant with your streamer, keep the fly a little smaller to move more fish on Rock Creek.
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