The Bitterroot river is coming down from a recent bump in flows from a few warm days. While fishing during those warm days was decent considering the rising water, it looks like the weather is taking a turn to chilly conditions starting this weekend. We still have a few mild days ahead of us but a little windy. just when the water temps were getting high enough for a few Skwala’s to hatch, the colder temps will postpone the dry fly fishing in Missoula this week. We have had some decent success fishing to pods of fish eating Midges in the afternoon. These fish would also eat Capnia and Nemoura patterns if presented properly. Focus on streamers and nymphs for the time being, fishing slow walking speed water and slow inside seems where fish tend to congregate this time of year. If you’re willing to stick to the Skwala dry, then you will probably get a few fish to come up but they will be few and far between. For Skwala pattterns, try True Skwala, Olive Plan B and the Rastaman. For droppers try the Hot Spot Ptail, H/T Ptail, Two-bit Hooker and perdigons. Stop in the shop and grab some of George’s Nemoura patterns as this was one of our more productive dry flies when fish are eating on top. Darker streamers in black, olive and brown seemed to be the favored meat of the day. If your throwing the bobber rig, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Double Bead Stones, 20 Inchers as your point fly with droppers off the back like Ptails, Hares Ear, Tungsten Salvation and G-Kes are great options. Don’t hate on the good old worm too.
The Blackfoot River fly fishing is not a great option right now. Cold water temps are keeping the fish a bit sluggish. The flows are coming back down after a bump but the weather forecast is calling for some cold days and nights this weekend which will negatively effect the fishing. A few of our Missoula fly fishing guides have been floating the Blackfoot River stripping streamers and the few fish that have been caught were all decent but they are few and far between. Keep an eye on water temps in the coming weeks as the Blackfoot can be a good streamer option during the Spring. For now there are better options for Missoula fly fishing at this point.
Clark Fork River
The Clark Fork River is on its way down after a bump in water flows and even when the water was bumping, the streamer fishing wasn’t bad at all. A few of our Missoula fly shop staffers have floated the Clark Fork lately and reported decent streamer fishing with a few hours of good Midge dry fly action. Windy conditions in the forecast the next few days and a cold weekend will make the fishing a little tougher this week. Right now the Clark Fork is not a bad option for Missoula fly fishing but it’s not a great option either. Nymphing inside seems and slow walking speed water is the name of the game right now. Slowly stripping or dead drifting streamers is not a bad option if you’re going for the big dogs.
Rock Creek fly fishing has stayed consistent lately through the minor bump in flows and should continue to fish well subsurface with nymphs and streamers for the next week or two before the big bugs start popping. Like the rest of our Missoula rivers, focus on slow walking speed water and inside seems. Our Missoula fly shop has been getting reports from the bottom stretches all the way to the top end. Flashy streamers like the Kreelex and Sparkle minnow have been the meat of choice. For dries, focus on Stonefly nymphs Like Pat’s and Double Bead Stones with smaller droppers off the back. Cycle through a variety of smaller droppers until you find the magic one for that day.
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.