Missoula Fly Fishing Report

Missoula Fishing Report 6/20

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

Enjoy and Good Luck!

Bitterroot River

The bitterroot bumped with the recent rain and is slowly coming back down. The water is still big up here. Not a bad idea to give this one some time to come back down a little more. We’ve had some reports on the upper stretches that fished good before the bump but the lower end will take some time to calm down. The Salmonfly hatch has been inconsistent over the last few weeks on the upper, they’ve been out heavy in the sun but are starting to wane. Be ready for the Golden Stone hatch on the upper soon.
We’re still doing our best to scout some of these stretches but with the fluctuating water the river is constantly changing, we’re waiting for it to drop back down after the recent rain event. Be careful if you decide to float. Might be a better idea to get out the tying vise, hit your favorite lake or wade smaller streams.
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Blackfoot River

The Blackfoot river bumped in flows with the recent rain and is leveling off as of this morning. The Blackfoot has been the most consistent for us this last week with the dropping flows and warming temps. We started to get some Salmonfly dry fly action on the lower end but nothing to really write home about. The nymphing was consistent and the streamer fishing was also productive. We’re hoping the water continues to drop throughout this week. The forecast isn’t calling for much more rain after today, the warmer temps should bring a little more consistency to our flows opposed to the rain which can cause big spikes.
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Clark Fork River

The Clark Fork is on it’s way up and not a great choice right now. The stretches above town should come back down quickly this week after the rain but the lower should be high and murky for a while. Much better options than the Clark Fork this week.
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Rock Creek

We’ve had some awesome reports over the last week with warmer temps and dropping flows. The Salmonflies have been out and the fish are eating them. The last few days the water has bumped in flows but we expect that to come down in the coming days. If you’ve been paying attention to the flows, you’ve seen how quickly flows can drop this time of year after rain even through the warmer temps. They’re up now but should drop again this week.
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Missoula Fly Fishing Report

Missoula Fishing Report 6/14

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

Enjoy and Good Luck!

Bitterroot River

The Bitterroot spiked along the length of the river the last few days. High, brown and blown. The river should continue to drop and clear in the next few days. Not a great option as of now but focusing on side channels and softer edges on the upper end is your best bet. Maybe some back sloughs will hold trout, and definitely pike, but getting to a slough is the major issue. Best to leave this one alone for a few days. Should drop into more fishable conditions in the next week or two.
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Blackfoot River

The rain, warm temperatures and great snowpack have finally caught up to us. We’ve been squeezing some decent fishing over the last week, but the river spiked big time. Lots of brown, high water at this point, but the weather patterns should start to bring the river down within the next few days. So right now, not so much, but we’re expecting the Blackfoot to be fishable within the week. Salmonfly hatch should show up within in the next few weeks if the weather holds true. It’s shaping up to be a good second half of June around Missoula.
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Clark Fork River

The middle and lower sections of the Clark Fork is high, brown and pretty much unfishable. The river has been climbing for the last few days and starting to drop slowly. The Clark Fork bumped in flows over the last week. So far it doesn’t look like it’s dropping as quick as the rest of the rivers in the area. Lots of great smaller streams to hit this time of year in the area that are much better options. Expect the mid to lower Clark Fork river to be out of commission for the next week or two while the upper should shape up a lot quicker.
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Rock Creek

Rock Creek is holding its little visibility as well as any river in the area. It’s still, big and off-color, but the salmonfly hatch has started and that’s all it takes to bring these fish to the top even during high flows. The top section will be better than the bottom for clarity. You can get it done here at the moment and should improve throughout next week. Any way you slice it, it’s going to be a bit of work on the water in the next few days. Warm weather mid next week should really get the salmonfly hatch popping!
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Missoula Fly Fishing Report

Missoula Fly Fishing Report 5/4

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

Enjoy and Good Luck!

Bitterroot River

Looks like the bonus fishing has ended on the Bitterroot. In the last 24 hours, the Bitterroot has almost doubled in size, and that’s bringing a lot of color into the water. If you’re thinking of heading to the ‘Root, you’re going to be driving to the East or West Forks, and even then it’s not a given. Keep in mind the tribs don’t open until the 3rd Saturday in May, so they’re off limit till then.
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Blackfoot River

Monture Creek is pumping mud into the Blackfoot River, so the fishing below Scotty Brown Bridge is going to be very difficult. As of today, the upper Blackfoot is rising and off color, but still fishable. But with the higher temps in the forecast, we don’t expect that to last to the weekend. If you’re going to give it a try, go as high as you can, and be ready for sub-surface only. If there’s enough visibility, streamers will be good, but it’s all dependent on the visibility. It’s a crap shoot
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Clark Fork River

With Monture Creek pushing mud, the Clark Fork below the confluence will be off color and tricky to fish. The lower Clark Fork is rising slowly but consistently, and it looks like the fishing is going to really slow down below the Blackfoot.
The upper Clark Fork has remained consistent in its’ flows, and may be a good option for the angler. Make sure you get above Drummond to find the better fishing. But before you go, better check the USGS web site to make sure the river hasn’t bumped with the warm weather. Bring your Skwalas and Western March Browns if the water levels stay steady, but if it’s rising, it’s a sub-surface game.
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Rock Creek

Rock Creek may be the best option at the moment. It’s come up 25% in the last 2 days, but is still clear enough to fish. The upper sections are still somewhat stable, and may kick out some dry fly fishing, but it looks like the bulk of the fishing will be subsurface. Make sure to have some streamers to take the bigger fish looking for the smaller fish dislodged by the rising water. If you head to the upper sections, bring your Skwalas and Western March Browns, but make sure to check the USGS Montana Stream Flow web site to check for unanticipated spikes in water flows.
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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.

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.
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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.
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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.