Here is a few tips for protecting our fish with the warmer water temps that we have seen lately:
Limit the amount of handling time. Take the hook out and put the fish back in the water asap.
Use heavier tippet so you are not fighting the fish for a prolonged period of time. 3x and 4x is just fine this time of year.
Be diligent later in the day when water warms up.
Explore the high mountain creeks and springs where the water is much cooler and fish are much happier.
The Bitterroot has been producing plenty of fish lately. The upper Bitterroot is some of the coldest water around Missoula as far as the big three rivers are concerned and it is showing some very active fish right now. For wade fishing, focus on the West and East fork. Hopper dropper has been the go to rig, also PMDs Spruce Moths and some Golden Stones are still kicking around.
The Blackfoot is running a little warmer then we like but we have been on the water by 6am and fishing has been great. It’s that time of year when terrestrials take over. Spruce Moths have been the main game up here but Hoppers, Ants, Beetles, Yellow Sallies and Golden Stones have been producing as well. Get out there early and let the fish take a siesta in the afternoon.
Hoot owl restrictions: The restriction would not allow fishing from 2 p.m. to midnight on the Clark Fork River from its origins at Warms Springs Creek to Rock Creek near Missoula, and on Silver Bow Creek from its confluence with Blacktail Creek in Butte to where it enters Warm Springs ponds.
The Clark Fork has been producing great in the mornings with terrestrials such as Hoppers, Spruce Moths, Ants and Beetles. We have also seen some great PMD hatches that have kept us busy in the morning. PLEASE keep a close eye on the upper river water temperatures before heading up there. It topped out at 76 degrees this week which is way to hot to be fishing in that kind of water. The lower river has much cooler temperatures but is still getting up there in the afternoon, so in early and out early on this one as well.
If you are looking for cooler water then this is your spot. However the road on the lower end all the way up to 14 mile marker is closed to traffic from fire danger so plan on driving up through the upper end of the creek for access. Spruce Moths have hit at full force and should be your go to bug in the morning. If the Moth fails you then look for a Hopper dropper rig, Golden Stones, Ants, Beetles and PMDs.