Missoula Fishing Report
(No, it does not look like October 5th…)
Lets get down to it… We’ve all been waiting to see true fall fishing around here. The sun is brighter than expected, and we haven’t had very prolific hatches. The fishing is most definitely keeping anglers on their toes. The water has clearly cooled way down despite this odd weather, and it is ideal to get on the water once it hits high 50s to 60 degrees. Hopper-dropper rigs are the answer throughout the afternoon. October caddis are not out in full force, but we are definitely beginning to see some pupae on all three rivers, and it is well worth trying to get ’em on the dries. An October caddis imitation (Goldie Hawn, Bird of Prey) works well with a hopper above it. Ants, beetles, and a hopper of your choice are a great option. Hecuba are here and there, particularly on the Clark Fork and Bitterroot, generally mid morning. As water is still low in a lot of places, keep an eye out for deeper slews and pools. Terrestrials remain a good option on each river, and they seem to get the job done during the afternoon. To the dismay of many, there hasn’t be a load of action up top. Some days are better than others, but with the lack of cloud coverage, nymphs have been turning a lot of fish. If you are after size– streamer game is strong in heavy deep water. Black, white, olive, and browns have worked really well. They are still diggin’ on the sparkle minnows as well.
Blackfoot River: The streamer game has been really active on parts of the Blackfoot. Big junky stuff, mainly. Articulated streamers, woolheads, sparkle minnows. Black, olive, brown, and white. If you see them eating up top… Purple haze (16/18), October caddis, mahoganies (14/16), parachute adams. Terrestrials: Hoppers (10/12), ants, beetles. Throw ’em near logs, wood, etc. Hopper-dropper rig has been a good option. Copper bob, lightening bugs, San Juans, rubber legs, Goldie Hawn, bird of prey.
Clark Fork River: Tricos are trico spinners are on and off. The fish are still hitting hoppers, ants and beetles. Try a hopper followed by your favorite dry. As for nymphs, copper bob, red lightening bugs, Goldie Hawn, bird of prey. Mahoganies, hecuba, PMDs, and baetis.
Bitterroot River: The fishing has been more consistent on the lower Root. They have been all about dark articulated streamer patterns. Along with that, they’re all about the mahoganies on top– it can be hard to predict exactly which pattern works best. Try a few. Mid-day terrestrial action, once the water is warm enough… The Bitterroot is full of logs, fallen trees, branches, etc. Throw them there!! Watch for hecuba and swarms of tricos.
Rock Creek: It has been tricky. White streamers… streamers of all sorts. Big articulated ones, black, brown, sparkly patterns. Terrestrials are worth a shot in the afternoon… But the water is pretty low in a lot of places, and the fish don’t seem to be after dries. Hopper-dropper rig is a good option. If you’re out there later, they seem to be feeding on top right before sunset. Look for deeper pods and heavy H20.
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