Missoula Fishing Report

Easter Sunday Fishing Report

Missoula Fishing Report


From a fishing stand point, Easter has normally been a turning point for the fishing around the Missoula area. The mayflies are start to show up in good numbers and the Skwalas have been crawling on the rocks in The Bitterroot long enough to have nice fish looking up for a stonefly. Easter weekend seems to be when we can count on good dry fly fishing for the better part of the day. 

The only difference this year seems to be the water levels. Yes the water is high. Yes it seems pushy on the upper rivers. Is it slowing down the fishing? No. 

The bugs are here. The spring stoneflies are here in good numbers. The big spring mayflies are starting to play a bigger role in “fish catching”. The afternoons have been giving up some fantastic dry fly fishing. Big mayfly attractors are working well. Hare’s ear’s, Para-Adams, The Haze, The Brindleshute, Carnage Drakes, and Mountain Mints are all getting eating. The Skwala bugs that are working seem to be in the Low-Pro category. Anything with a bullethead. The PK, The Rouge, and The Rastaman. The most important variable has been where you are putting that bug. Remember that it is spring. The water is still cold and fish are not hanging out where they do in July. I draw “Spring Fishing Diagrams” at least once a day here in the shop. 

Fish the “Triangles”. The soft water coming off the riffle. The seam where two currents come together after an island.  The soft water Triangles are where the fish are eating the dry fly right now. Spring fishing is just simple geometry. And you thought you wouldn’t use your 3rd grade math again…

Remember to replace that old tippet you bought last year. You don’t want to loose that big brown on old tippet that you found in your glove box before you got on the water. 

-The MAngler


Missoula Fishing Report

Friday Fishing Report

Missoula Fishing Report

A quick overview of what’s going on around Missoula this weekend.

First and foremost, our good friend and Missoulian Angler Fly Shop Guide, Burke, is opening his BBQ restaurant. The Notorious P.I.G. is opening it’s doors at 11 am today in downtown Missoula. If you are around Missoula today, be sure to stop by and have your taste buds blown away.

Secondly, The Montana Fishing Film Fest is going on Saturday at the Roxy. Tickets are $10 and we have them available here at the shop. We are also going to have a Pre-party here at the shop before the movies. So feel free to stop by and enjoy a beverage.

Now lets talk about the fishing.

The Bitterroot: The river is still way above normal flows for this time of year. That being said the fishing has been very decent. The mornings have been colder the past few days causing the dry fly fishing to get going a bit later. Early morning streamer fishing and nymphing has been productive. Rubber legs, beadhead style prince patterns, and worms for your nymph set up. The Skiddish smolt, The Kreelex, and The Sparkle minnow have been producing for streamers. The dry fly fishing has been good in the afternoons. Skwalas and March browns have been the ticket. Throw the low-profile skwala. The bigger fish won’t shy away from those bugs.

The Blackfoot: We fished it this week and were pleasantly surprised. The water is very big and off color, but the streamer fishing was good. You had to fish hard and put it in the right spot, but when that happened the streamer got eaten. The Silver and Black Sparkle minnow was the ticket for us.

Rock Creek: Fished well this week. Afternoon dry fly bite was there. They ate the skwala after lunch. A good option for wade anglers looking to get away from the boat traffic on The Bitterroot.

The Clark Fork: Big and off color. Maybe not your best option this weekend. But fish have been caught on the Clark. Skwalas around in the afternoons. Throw the dice and you might be surprised. Another great way to get away from the traffic on The Bitterroot.

Well there it is. if you have any questions about a game plan for fishing this weekend, stop by the Missoulian Angler for any thing. We are glad to help out and point you in the right direction.

-The MAngler

…Because you fish

Missoula Fishing Report

Missoula Fishing Report for March 5th

The Missoula Fishing Report

The Big Picture


Skwalas. When will the dry fly fishing be what we have all been dreaming about since November? Well your guess is as good as mine. The general idea is that Skwala’s need a water temperature between 42-47 degrees to hatch. Some people agree on the lower end and other agree on the upper end of that scale. The cool thing about Skwala’s is that they are a relatively “New” bug in the research sense. They have only recently (20 years) become a popular hatch and noticed by most anglers. Sure some people have been fishing the hatch longer, but for the entire community they are a new bug. The other piece of the puzzle is getting temp readings from the river. The USGS stations offer temp readings, but only on a seasonal timeframe. So to get a temp you are going to have to do it the “old school” way. Go out and stick your hand in the water. The only way to know for sure when the water is warm enough for Skwalas to show up is to take a temp reading when you start to see the bugs. Do it this year. It will give you a leg up for future seasons and a little science never hurt anyone.

Bitterroot Skwala Hatch
Bitterroot Skwala

March Brown/Rhithrogena/What Ever You Call Em’s: “The Difference Maker”. Some days the big stonefly pattern just doesn’t produce. When you are flummoxed and there are fish eating, Throw the mayfly. These bugs are the first big mayflies to show us since fall. There are many days when the trout will completely ignore the skwala and shift their focus to the mayflies. When that happens you can have some fantastic headhunting or some great pods of fish to shoot at.

When,Where, and How: This weekend and next week look to be about as beautiful as we can hope for in the spring. That being said, expect for everyone to have the same idea. Go Fishing. Cabin fever is the worst this time of year and a day on the water is a perfect remedy. If you are one of those people who cant stand seeing other folks on the water it’s time to think out of the box. Don’t out your boat in at Tucker or Bell at 10am. Maybe go for a long walk down a Bitterroot side channel that boats cant fit into. Maybe explore a part of The Blackfoot that you have never been to. Walk and wade the upper Clark Fork. Or spend a day on Upper Rock Creek. We are lucky in Missoula to have over 300 miles of water within an hours drive. Don’t confine yourself to 15 miles of The Bitterroot if you want some solitude.

All of that being said, there is some fantastic fishing on the main stem of The Bitterroot during the Skwala hatch. Remember that these are early spring stoneflies. They ARE NOT Goldens and Salmonflies. That means fish the early spring water. Of course you could catch a fish or two off the fast banks and the “Bouncy Summer Water” but the majority of your success will be on the slow inside bends. The same place you nymph in the winter. The “Boring” water. Have faith and let that fly drift. Don’t get antsy and cast over and over again, the fish can’t eat it in the air. Leave your fly alone once it’s out there.

Whatever you need for spring fishing is in the shop. As I am writing this boxes from MFC, Simms, Echo, And Spirit River are piling up with flies, gear, rods, materials, and other goodies for the spring. We are fully stocked and ready to rock this spring. If you need to tie a few more bugs come on in and let us help with your game plan. As always we are here for you. Let us help with Missoula Spring Fishing.

-The MAngler

…Because You Fish

*March Spring Guide Specials- Full day guided trip for 2 anglers only $385*

Missoula Fishing Report

Feb 2.26 Fishing Report

The New Mangler Fishing Reports are all going to be found right here! Check back often for the latest!

We are getting close to the time of year when the fishing around Missoula starts to pick up.  However the fish are still responding best to winter fishing tactics.  With that being said stick to the slow inside corners, in about 4- 6 ft. of walking speed water.  The double nymph rig is still going to produce the numbers of fish, but a slow swung streamer has been producing some of the bigger fish.

Rock Creek and The Bitterroot will be your best late winter options. The Clark Fork and Blackfoot will be coming into shape in the near future. If you want to make the drive over to the Missouri, the nymphing has been productive from the Dam down to Mountain Palace. We haven’t floated past there since the warmer weather came this month. But don’t be afraid to do some exploring.

Nymphs – Worms (Pink, Red, Purple, Sparkle…..whatever.)  Stoneflies (Pats rubberlegs, double beaded stones, trout retriever, tungsten stone.  Size 8-12)

Streamers – Sparkle minnows and other smaller minnow patterns. Less is often more this time of year. Come check out the new streamer patterns in the shop! Our bins are overflowing with new patterns. Your new favorite pattern is waiting for  you.

Dries- Midges, Nemouras, and Skwalas coming soon!

-The MAngler

…Because You Fish

Missoula Fly Fishing Outfitters

Fall Is Here.

Well that happened fast. Wasn’t it just early July and the Salmonflies were everywhere? Did August even happen this year? I guess time flies when you are netting fish.

The good news is that we are full swing into the mayfly buffet. Tricos, Hecubas, Mahogonies, and Blue wings. Don’t forgot the October caddis. Lot’s of those around as well.

Missoula Guided Fly Fishing

The fishing has been nothing short of fantastic this year. Some of the best that we have seen in recent memory. We still have our favorite time of year ahead of us though. Mid-September through October. The best dry fly fishing of the year. Just come see for yourself.

-The MAngler

Missoula Fishing Report

Mid Summer Fishing Report 7.23

It seems we have quickly switched from high water to high summer. Our big bugs are gone and the fish have started to eat hoppers on all of our local rivers. The Hoppers are clicking around on the grass banks and the trout are chowing on them in the rivers.

The Clark Fork- The upper river is starting to see a little bit of moss. The good news is that the dry fly fishing has been fantastic when you hit it right. They are eating hoppers. Purple, Yellow, Tan, and Pink. Morrish, Pavs, More or less, and The Yeti have all been putting fish in the net. The lower river has been fishing very well when the clouds show up. But the lack of clouds can make the lower river feel like a ghost town.

The Bitterroot- The upper river, around and above Hamilton has been fishing very well. Mayfly and stone fly attractor patterns are bringing fish up. The hoppers are starting to play a bigger role. The mid and lower rivers have been good to spotty. If we get clouds go to the Root. If it’s bright and sunny you also have better options than the mid and lower Bitterroot. Upper river is where it’s at right now.

The Creek- Rock Creek is in its typical summer swing. The fish are looking up and willing to eat a dry fly. Again, just like everywhere else, if we get cloud cover the fishing will be better. But The creek fishes well regardless. A great wade fishing option right now.

The Blackfoot- The Blackfoot has been fantastic. Great dry fly fishing early to mid day. Around mid day things start to slow down. They have been eating the hopper like mad. Purple and Pink seem to be what they want the most. Moths soon.

Great dry fly fishing in the Missoula Area right now. We have a boat load of bugs in the shop. Stop by for what you need before you get on the water.

-The MAngler

…Because You Fish