The Blackfoot River temps are starting to warm up to a high of around 38 degrees which means streamer fishing is starting to pick up. While still cold and maybe not the best option for fly fishing around Missoula, the Blackfoot can produce some big fish this time of year. Not a numbers game and you will be working hard for every fish you catch. We fished the lower river late last week and pulled out some nice fish in the softer water and inside seems. If you like nymphing then focus on this type of water and your numbers will increase. For nymphs try a stonefly as your point fly and cycle through droppers until you find one they like, such as Ptail, Worms, Hare’s Ear, G-Kes and Prince Nymphs. Streamers that worked well for us were the Baby Gonga, Mini Sex Dungeon, Sparkle Minnow and Kreelex.
The Bitterroot river is still a bit cold for Skwala’s to start hatching but the warmer extended forecast should get the nymphs moving around. This can be a great time of year to nymph the Bitterroot river and should not be ignored. Some of our shop staff fished up here the last few days and had some pretty good dry fly fishing in the afternoon on midges. The dry fly fishing is a short window of opportunity during the afternoon in slow water. We started seeing more and more Capnia’s and Nemoura’s hatching on the warmer sunny days. The Bitterroot is still a few weeks away for consistent dry fly fishing but for those who like nymphing and streamer fishing, this is a solid option. Nymphing stonefly patterns like the Pats Rubber Legs, Double Bead Stonefly and 20 Inchers as your point fly is your best option with droppers like the G-Kes, Ptail, Hare’s Ear and Perdigons off the back. For streamers we had a lot of success with darker patterns in black and dark olive.
Clark Fork River
The Clark Fork river had a minor bump in flows last week but has continued to drop the last few days. We Fished above town on the day of the bump and it surprisingly fished well considering the conditions. We fished streamers primarily but also had luck nymphing and even had a few silly fish come up to eat the big dry. The Clark Fork may not be the best option for fly fishing Missoula but it’s not necessarily a bad option either. For those who want a stretch all to themselves and enjoy streamer fishing, this is a solid bet for you. Streamers that worked well for us were the Dirty Hippie, Olive Baby Gonga and the Sparkle Minnow. Nymphing will be your most consistent tactic using patterns like the Pat’s Rubber Legs, Ptail, Hare’s Ear, Perdigons and the good old Worm.
With the warmer weather in the forecast, fly fishing on Rock Creek will continue to get better and better. Still weeks away from a consistent Skwala hatch, the nymphing and streamer fishing is where it’s at right now. Our Missoula Fly Shop has been getting a lot of great reports from our customers fishing up here lately. Rock Creek is hard to beat for the wade fisherman this time of year. Like the rest of our streams, the streamer and nymph fishing is the tactic of choice. Smaller streamers like the Baby Gonga, Sculpzilla, Kreelex and Sparkle Minnow will get it done up here. With the Skwala nymphs starting to move around in anticipation to hatch in the coming weeks, nymphing slow inside seems with stonefly nymphs like the Pats Rubber Legs, Double Bead Stone and 20 Inchers while cycling through smaller dropper nymphs off the back will be your best producers.
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.