Missoula Fly Fishing Report

Missoula Fishing Report 10/1

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

Enjoy and Good Luck!

Bitterroot River

The bugs are really happening on the Bitterroot, with strong hatches even on the sunny days. The Mahoganies have been steady in the afternoons with the D&D Cripple and Mahogany Sprout working very well. The Tilting and Brindle Chute are also working, especially on lone risers. When you decide to work the bottom, the Orange Spot Pheasant Tail, Duracell and the Perdigon Butano are moving the nymphing trout.

The BWO’s are also strong, and really getting fish to pod up. Again, the cripples and mergers are working better than a standard dry. Look to the Film Critic, Split Flag and Last Chance Cripple to take the fish at the top of the pod. The Comparadun BWO is also a strong Bitterroot fly, and the Lexi GED is also finding a few trout. Stick a Hi-Viz Spinner in your box as well, for when the fish focus on that phase. The Olive SR Bullet, the Quill Bullet and the Olive Quill Bomb are doing good work on the bottom, if you can drag yourself away from the risers.

The Hecubas are having a decent season. While not prolific, make sure to have a Bigger Brindle Chute in the in case you find them. The October Caddis are also getting stronger, and the Orange Elk Hair Caddis with trimmed hackle has been very effective. The Foam October Caddis has also been moving fish on the surface. Be ready for the Pupa with a Bird Of Prey or the Orange Mop Fly.

For those hunting big fish, the streamer bite is on along the length of the river. Keep your streamer light and thin, especially if you’re wading. The Skiddish Smolt, Emma’s Mod Maisden and of course smaller Sparkle Minnows are all doing the job. If you’re floating, a bigger streamer like a Gold Double Fuego or the Baby Swim Coach is making it happen. The brighter the day, the closer you need to be to structure, so plan your buying accordingly!

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

Blackfoot River

The Blackfoot is beginning to shut down for the fall. There’s no reason too be on the water before 11:00 Am, and the day is mostly over by 5:00. The October Caddis, Mahoganies and Blue Wings are all out and moving, but it feels like every day the dry fly fishing gets a just a touch slower as the temperatures drop. Finding rising fish can be a bit of a challenge, but when you do, it’s not very complicated.

For the October Caddis, the Foam Body has been very good. It floats in the roiling water, and pulls fish up. The bigger Morrish October Caddis is a sneaky good call up here- that bigger silhouette get’s at trout’s attention. The Orange Mop Fly and Morrish Pupa are making it happen subsurface.

The Tilt Wing Mahogany, Purple Haze and Brindle Chute are working when the Mahoganies are out. Have a cripple or two if the fish get snotty, but it hasn’t been critical. Get a quick sinking brown jig to get things going underneath. Same can be said for the BWO’s- Tilt Wings and the Lexi GED are working when you find risers. So small and olive subsurface, but you might do better with a deep TJ Hooker or Pat’s. The Blackfoot isn’t known for small nymphing.

The streamer fishing has been really good. If you have a slow sink tip, now is the time to bring it out. The big Browns are moving, so bring your White streamers and have a good size range. Depending on your rig, White Mini Dungeons and Mongrel Meat are working with the sink tip. The Sculpzilla and White Fishwhacker are perfect for a lighter set up

The same can be said for Olive and Tan streamers. Bigger streamers are working right now- as always, make sure you have the set-up to throw what you get. Deeper is better, so a sink tip or sinking leader is not a bad idea. If you head to the Blackfoot, make sure you’re on the water mid afternoon. The heat of the day is now your friend, so make sure you take advantage

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

Clark Fork River

The Clark Fork has been a bit spotty this fall. The hatches are there, no question, but the consistency of daily pods hasn’t been seen. Be ready to do a bit more searching for rising fish, because fish rising yesterday in one spot doesn’t guarantee they’re rising there today. With that said, there are bugs along the length of the Clark Fork, especially the lower. Look for the Mahoganies to get stronger as we enter October. The Purple Haze, Mahogany Tilt Wing and Copper Haze are taking most fish when they’re podded up. If you want the lead fish, you might want to switch to a Sprout or D&D Cripple for the biggest snouts. Underneath, the Carmel Jig and Pheasant ail jig are moving trot lower in the water column.

The BWO’s are still responding to the sun, so clouds are still important. On the cloudy days, the fish are really up, and the BWO Last Chance Cripple, Split Flag Cripple and Fly tics are taking the fussiest risers. Make sure to have a Hi-Viz BWO Spinner when the trout move to them, and have a Tilt Wing or Parachute when the fishing gets easier. Have you SR Olive Bullet or Olive MicroDrop for the fish on the bottom. While not a BWO, the TJ Hooker or Pat’s Rubber Legs deep is a constant on the Middle and lower Clark.

If you have streamers on your mind, the entire length of the river is kicking out some big fish. Above Drummond, the Sculpin Sparkle Minnow, Emma’s Mod Minnow and the Mini Dungeon have been moving some big fish. Get lower, and the Sculpzilla has been working, as has the Double Fuego and the Baby Gonga. If you want to go big, toss an articulated Dirty Hippie and get it deep. The Lower Clark has been good with streamers, but most are looking for snouts! If you decide to get big, the White Peanut Envy or Mongrel Meat have been moving some big Browns.

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

Rock Creek

The fall hatches are in full swing on Rock Creek. Whether looking to search with an October Caddis or find risers to BWO’s and Mahoganies, Rock Creek is fishing well. The Foam Run October Caddis is the perfect dry for bouncy water, while the Orange Elk Hair Caddis is working well too. Sub-surface, the Bird of Prey and the Caddy Shack are working as a caddis pupa.

The Mahoganies are not so prolific that you need to get super technical, which means the Purple Haze, Mahogany Tilt Wing and Brindle Chute are working well on the surface. As the hatch progresses, the flies will get more technical, but keep it simple now. The Carmel Nymph and Orange Spot Pheasant Tail Jig are working well underneath.

BWO’s are also on the water, and quite prolific. Be ready for a bit more technical fishing with a BWO Sprout, Last Chance Cripple or a HackleMaster. The standard parachutes are working, but not as well. When you go deep, the SR Olive Bullet and the Olive MicroDrop are working well. And while it’s not a BWO nymph, the TJ Hooker in a size 12 is working ion the deeper holes.

The Browns are starting to moving up river for their fall dance, so a white streamer is going to work for those cruisers. The bigger resident fish are also looking for big grub, and the Sculpin Sparkle Minnow, Baby Swim Coach and the Dirty Hippie are seeing a lot of action. The larger streamers haven’t been as popular as the mid size and smaller streamers, so keep that in mind. A sinking leader is useful in the deeper holes- keep the tippet short to maximize sink.

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


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.