Fish Rising On Clark Fork River

5 Best Hatches on the Clark Fork

The Clark Fork River covers lots of miles in western Montana, with many hatches along its length. The upper stretch is smaller and bit faster, making it prime water for stoneflies and caddis. The middle and lower stretches, especially below the Bitterroot River, are slower and broader, perfect for blanket mayfly hatches, stoneflies and caddis. It’s difficult to nail down the 5 best Clark Fork River Hatches, but we’ve done it! They’re listed in our preference.

Pale Morning Duns

Pale Morning Dun Hatch

This is the quintessential western mayfly hatch, and the Clark Fork River is covered with PMD’s from the 3rd week of June through the 3rd week of July and sometimes later. PMD’s hatch between noon and 3:00, depending on weather, and consistently provide about 2 hours of steady, excellent technical dry fly fishing. Be prepared, because when PMD’s come off, they come off in sheets. The fish will definitely focus on very specific stages of the hatch, and can be insanely fussy. Which is part of the fun!

The Clark Fork trout, especially in the lower sections, pod up to take these flies. Characteristic of the Clark Fork, the pods tend to hold fish of relatively the same size. If you come across a pod of fish, and the first nose up is about 2” across, slow down! Most of the fish in that pod are going to be big, and you need to be very stealthy on approach. If the rises are a bit smaller, most of the fish in that pod will be smaller as well. Don’t know why, but know it’s so. You can do some serious head hunting on the Lower Clark Fork River.

The PMD’s love the soft insides of bends in the river. It’s easy to miss these trout as you go by, as the rises in the diamond chop have to be spotted carefully. It’s well worth checking out the inside seam at every bend in the river for rising fish. They also hatch in the long glides below riffles, and along the edges in the rock gardens. The Clark Fork River is fertile and large in the middle and lower sections, and like every river, has its own secrets.

The PMD’s can test the width of your fly box. To effectively meet this hatch on the Clark Fork River, you’ll need cripples, emergers, duns, unweighted nymphs and klinkhamer style flies, like the PMD Sprout. Special mention needs to be made of the Rusty Spinner. All adult PMD’s (as well as adult Pale Evening Duns) return to the river as Rusty Spinners. Our favorite fly for this stage is the Hi Viz Rusty Spinner, so you can see this low riding fly. The spinners can fall at any time, though are most often seen at dawn and dusk. Be ready for this stage, as the fish will move for spinners whenever they’re on the water.  

Golden Stones

Golden Stone Hatching On The Blackfoot River

The Clark Fork River is a sneaky good stonefly river, especially the middle and lower sections. The upper Clark Fork, with its more rapid descent and faster water is an obvious choice for stoneflies, but the slower middle and lower sections don’t look very stonefly-y. The Golden Stones will show you how good the Clark Fork is for stoneflies!

Throughout the middle and lower Clark Fork are rock gardens. That’s the second time we’ve said this, and it’s time for a definition. A rock garden is found next to the shore, in water 1.5 to 4 feet deep. Cinder block size rocks sit next to larger rocks, providing excellent cover for trout and habitat for Goldens. The Clark Fork is so big and fast that the water looks quite still over these sizable rocks. Wade the edges for a while and you’ll see exactly what we’re talking about. A wading angler is tempted to go waist deep and cast to the likely water in the middle. Mistake! 75% of all fish are found within 15 feet of the bank, and the Clark Fork is no exception. Work the edges, over these rock gardens, and watch your fish count rise on Missoula’s largest river.

The Goldens hatch heavily from late June through July, and bring strikes all across the river. Our favorite flies include the Rastaman Golden and PK Golden. If the surface action slows down, drop a Pat’s Rubberlegs in Tan/Brown off a long dropper. On the lower Clark Fork, a 7-foot dropper is often exactly what’s needed during this hatch. Interesting casting, but the catching will make it worth it. If you’re an early bird, the Clark Fork has some excellent dawn fishing with a Golden, and then expect to nymph or streamer till the day heats up and they begin to fly in earnest. Keep in mind the Golden Stone is not a single species, but a variety of species all imitated by the same flies. The Golden hatch can be anywhere from a size 6 to a 12. Be ready for size variations throughout the day.

Mahoganies

Mahogany Dun Hatch

This big brown mayfly is a staple for the Clark Fork River hatches from the first Fall rains in September through the last frigid days of October. Mahoganies hatch in the heat of the day, usually from 1-3:00, and once established, hatch in sun or clouds. The Mahoganies can be a blizzard hatch on the Clark Fork, and again the width of your fly box may be stretched when the Mahogany is out in numbers.

Mahoganies are most active below riffles. Look for fish rising in slower water below riffles, and if the glide is short enough, in the tail out as well. As a slow water bug, additional preparations may be needed to effectively fish the Mahogany hatch. Add some fine tippet to your leader, 4.5X or 5X, and make sure to leave enough distance between you and the fish. The late season water is low and clear, and nowhere is the term fine and far off more apt than the Clark Fork River. The fish pod up just as they do for the PMD, and a bad cast can move a lot of fish, negatively! You can have an epic day with Mahoganies on the Clark Fork. 

Salmon Fly

Salmon Fly Hatch In Montana

The Salmon Fly is really a thing to see, this giant insect flopping back on the water as it lays its eggs for the next generation! Coming in at 54mm long, the Salmon Fly is a dry fly you can see on the water, and the fish rarely miss it as well. When fishing the Salmon Fly on the Clark Fork River, don’t expect the numbers found on the Blackfoot River or Rock Creek.

Surprisingly, this is a distinct advantage when fishing the Salmon Fly. If you see one, tie one on and start prospecting. The fish aren’t gorged on this fly, and take them opportunistically. The lack of crazy numbers means the fish are looking for them all the time, a real advantage to the angler. If you’re looking for a photo op of Salmon Flies crawling everywhere, the Clark Fork isn’t your first bet. But if steady fishing with giant dry flies sounds appealing, the Clark Fork is a good answer!

Big Salmon flies, like the Super Gee or El Camino Grillo are good flies on the Clark Fork. They also do double duty if you need to drop a dark Pat’s RubberLegs off the back. Those big foamies do a great job as an indicator as well. The Salmon Flies start hatching mid to late June, and post run-off the Clark Fork can be a very big river at this time of year. Eyes on the river whether rowing or wading.

Hoppers

Hopper Hatch

The Clark Fork can offer up some spectacular hopper fishing from mid-August right through mid-October. While we don’t like to mention it out loud, it’s due to the wind. There, we whispered it! Everyone who rows in Missoula has a horror story of the wind blowing up the Clark Fork River so hard in the summer that the boat can’t be controlled. It’s not normal, but it can happen. And when it does, it’s hopper time!

Hoppers are ungainly flyers at best, and the middle and lower sections of the Clark Fork River are WIDE! When hoppers fly over the middle of the river, with a little breeze activity, you’ve got a recipe for hoppers on the water. You don’t often hear us say this, but don’t be afraid to shorten up your leader, and go with 2-3X tippet. Big flies in the breeze can create interesting situations for the rower and others close to the action, so a short, stout leader can be very useful on the Clark Fork.

Don’t be afraid to let the hopper land with a splat to alert the fish. Also, if you’re getting hits just as you start your back cast, that’s a sign the fish are looking for a hopper with a little movement. Not a 3-foot strip, but enough jiggle to let the trout know it’s struggling. Switch to Pav’s Yellowstone Hopper or any rubber-legged hopper to accentuate the struggle on the surface. Other strong Clark Fork hoppers include the Henneberry Hopper and Morrish Hopper. Later in the season, the less traditional colors really start to work on the Clark Fork.

Honorable Mention

Clark Fork River hatches honorable mentions include the Tan Caddis. There are nights the Tan Caddis are so thick you can barely breathe, but the fish don’t seem to care. The occasional rise is more often to a PED than a Tan Caddis. WHERE DO YOU THINK THE ADULTS COME FROM? The Tan Deep Sparkle Pupa is one of the most effective flies on the Clark Fork from dawn to dusk. We say it all the time- we don’t sell enough of these flies! Go deep with a Tan Deep Sparkle Pupa on the Clark Fork River and your fish count will quickly rise.


Additional Resources For Clark Fork River Hatches

Floating The Blackfoot River

Best Guides In The Business

Sure, we’re completely prejudiced- what did you expect! But we feel Missoula fly fishing guides are the best guides in Montana, and we can back that up. On June 30, every guide in town has a huge decision to make before they even start their day on the water.  From the Missoulian Angler, they can head 80 miles west, east, south, northwest or southwest, choosing to fish on the Bitterroot River, Upper or Lower Clark Fork River, the Big Blackfoot River or Rock Creek. There are over 300 miles- yes, 300 miles!- of floatable river in about an hour’s drive from Missoula. That’s a lot of water to know and cover! Not trying to pick on our good friends on the Missouri, Bighorn and other tailwaters, but those rivers have limited areas to fish. Those guides know the fishable sections like they know their own face, but it’s not as much water to learn, not as many flies and not as many techniques to master.

Every river in Missoula has it’s own unique characteristics. When you’re floating on Rock Creek, you’re moving fast! Covering 20-25 river miles is not uncommon on that river in the last weeks of June. It’s narrow and popular, which means the guides need to be on the lookout for wading fishermen (of which there are many), sweepers, and all the other hazards that come with any river. Add tying on flies and providing drinks, and a guide has his hands full when floating Rock Creek.

The Bitterroot is almost the polar opposite of Rock Creek. Rock Creek flows along the base of a canyon for much of its length. It rarely changes its channels, so where you floated last year will be the way to go this year as well. Not so on the Bitterroot. Every June, Missoula fly fishing guides need to relearn the Bitterroot. Channels change, so you need to make the right choices when floating. That spot that was so good this spring? It’s gone. Post run-off, the best Missoula guides are scouting the Bitterroot, trying to locate where the fish have relocated to. Sure, the 10-14” fish are where they always are, but the big boys are a different story. They have to be relocated every year. Our guides definitely pool their resources on the Bitterroot, finding out what channels are open, and where it’s best to float.  As the river drops into summertime, new challenges pop up- finding the channels with enough water to float, and finding the trout that have become skittish in the bright sun and warm temperatures. It’s what makes the Bitterroot such a challenging, demanding river. It’s a changing, and every year it takes a knowledgeable, skilled guide to find the fish and get them into the net.

The Blackfoot can be one of the trickiest rivers to row in the state. Those magnificent boulders and deep shelves that give this river character are also definite navigational challenges. Late June can be a very exacting time on the river, with the boulders, crags and sweepers getting up near the surface where they can some damage, but with so much push from the high water that a guide has to get his rowing line through some stretches perfectly, or you’re going to find yourself in a bit of mischief. And like the Bitterroot, as the Blackfoot drops, the guides again have to find the sun shy fish and navigate a river that may be 1/8 the size it was 5 weeks ago! It takes a guide with the skill of a white water rafter to navigate the Blackfoot, and Missoula can fill any two local taprooms (day off) with guides who can row like fury, fish with passion and instruct with grace and elegance.

When it comes to the Clark Fork, it’s a tale of two rivers. The Upper Clark Fork River is narrow, tricky to row and fish from a boat, and can be a bit stingy. But when it’s on, it’s fire, and no one is there. It can provide an amazing experience on a smaller river. As the Clark Fork transitions from a smaller river to the largest in the state, the water varies wildly, from huge logjams to the urban town float, where you can fish a great river and stop at 3-4 riverside bars in Missoula and enjoy a cold beverage or a hot lunch! Better know which town channel to take, or you’ll miss the take out by 4 miles! Once the Bitterroot enters, the Clark Fork gets big and slow. You can find some amazing technical dry fly fishing to the largest rising fish in Missoula. The nymphing can be spectacular, and streamers can move a Brownie fatter than an average trout is long on almost any cast!

Let’s toss this in. We’re a two hour run to the Missouri river or the upper Bighole river. Three to the Beaverhead river or the headwaters of the Missouri. Don’t think Missoula guides aren’t familiar with these waters as well.

It’s 7:30 am and Missoula’s best fly fishing guides are texting, talking and planning their day. What’s hot, what’s not. They’ll be meeting their guests, and having a conversation with them. What are they expecting fom their day? (Missoula’s Best Guides) Lots of fish, dries, scenery, technical? This all goes into the mix as the guides ponder their four distinct options, the four distinct personalities that make Missoula such an eclectic fly fishing destination.

That’s not all that goes into a float trip, not by a longshot. Gas, clean boat and rig, delicious lunch and a positive attitude are a given. The guides need to know the water they’re going to take you to. It doesn’t work to see the take out 2 hours after putting in, or still see the put in 9 hours into the day. Missoula guides can manage a day on the water to perfection, having you home for dinner or squeezing the most out of the day. They know every shuttle driver in 100 miles from the shop. They’re prepared to fish any river at any time. While all the rivers have much of the same hatches, each river has its favorite flies and best angling practices. The guides need to be tricked out with the best flies for wherever their fancy takes them.

The Missoulian Angler has the largest fly selection in town, and over the course of the year, we see just about every guide in Missoula. Matt Robb, Russell Parks, Damon Cox, Tony Reinhardt, Chase Harrison, Dustin Stenson, Joe Boone, Greg Inglis and Scott Stanko– we see them all. And it’s the same thing every day, where am I going to fish. Decades of experience walk through our shop daily, and we watch the wheels spinning. We hear the slyly crafted questions and the tell-tale hints that might lead to the mother-lode.  Or it could be as simple as calling Tommy at Four Rivers Shuttle or Pat Bond and ask where they have the fewest boats! So many strategies employed to find our guests the best fly fishing in Montana.

But it all boils down to one thing. Once you’ve committed, once the best fishing guides in Missoula have decided on, that 6 mile float, 9 mile float or 13 mile float, you know there’s still 290 MILES of river you’re not fishing that day.  Was it the best call? Was it an average call. Did you float lockjaw territory? When you’re as diverse as Missoula, when you can basically dial up about any type of fishing you’re looking for, from blanket hatches to technical Euronymphing, Missoula, Montana always has that mystery about it. You’ll know about how your day is going to go tomorrow morning, when todays fishing is grist for the mill! And once again, the choice is there.  That’s the face every guide wears in the morning, what is he missing. But here’s a fact, and you can take it to the bank (Haha!), whatever water you’re fishing, Missoula’s guides will fish the ever-loving crap out of it.

Missoula’s best guides have a skill set that is rivalled by few. They can row. The best guides in Missoula row the trickiest and rockiest rivers in Montana on a daily basis, adjusting as the rivers change from day to day. Imagine the skill set needed to work in 4 separate buildings, separated into multiple offices, that can change on a daily basis. That’s a guide’s life in Missoula. It takes a while to get familiar with all the water around Missoula, knowing the best flies and techniques for each river. Luckily, the city and the rivers are a magnet, attracting and keeping guides for decades. When we say Missoula guides are amongst the best in the state, we can back that up with diversity, skills and preparation.

It’s a passion, but it’s a business as well. Missoula fly fishing guides approach each day as craftsmen, knowing each day will be different, and confident they will rise to the challenge. They have the option of fishing over 300 miles of river, know what’s fishing, finding out what their guests want, balance that against where the best fishing is, and make the call. With fly boxes stuffed to the gills (Haha) with the best flies for every river, they have a full tank of gas, and their sunglasses are on! These guides are ready for their clients, ready for the rivers, and ready to make your day the best fly fishing Missoula has to offer!

Streamer Green

You wont find it at Ace, or Sherwin-Williams. It’s not a recognized color on a mixing wheel, and it varies from angler to angler. But it’s a color, all right. When the water isn’t brown, but it isn’t clear, it’s Streamer Green

Trout have an IQ of 4. Don’t tell anyone, we can look foolish enough on our own without that info getting out! It means trout can’t do two things at once. The rivers are full of food right now, and the fish are out feeding like crazy. Get so focused on your food, and the next thing you know, you’re dinner! Big fish eat little fish. Lots of food makes little fish get bigger. It’s a risk/reward type of thing, and sometimes the risk is substantial. Add the dropping water, which is moving the fish from place to place in search of new homes. The fish are displaced, vulnerable and trying to feed. All this screams streamers to the angler.

If you have a dedicated 7 or 8 weight streamer rod, you already know what to do! Bang the banks with a big fly, like the Beastmaster or Hop Scotch Sculpin. The big heads push a lot of water, so the fish can find your fly more easily. Work the shoreline, work the structure. Use a short leader on your sink tip, so the fly gets deep and stays there. Use the big stuff, 15lb Maxima. These fish aren’t leader shy, and heavy tippet has saved many a $6 fly from dangling in a tree branch. If you really have to reef on the fly to get it free, check the hook and make sure it’s not bent out. Then cast it out again! You know the drill.

If you don’t have a dedicated streamer rod, there are ways to handle the bigger, green water with a streamer. Use the heaviest line weight rod you have- it helps to control the bigger, heavier flies A long leader and a well weighted fly will help you attain some depth. We often recommend a Bonefish leader 12’ long with a 12-16lb test. The big, stiff leader helps turn that heavy fly over, and again, trout eating streamers aren’t leader shy. The trout doesn’t have a lot of time to make up its mind to eat or not, so leader thickness is not an issue.

There are two schools of thought on fly size. One says to use the largest fly you can throw, and get it close to your target. The other school says use a smaller fly, and be more accurate. Big fish are where big fish are. If you land a 5 inch fly 2 feet away from a trout, it might eat because the fly is big enough to risk coming out from cover and expending the energy to eat. If you drop a 2.5 inch fly 6” from the trout, it might be an easier choice. Both methods work, and both have their adherents. It’s good to know about both!

If you don’t think you’re getting deep enough with a long leader and weighted fly, you can purchase sinking leaders. They come in different lengths and sink rates. You can get a few and experiment, but we often find the longest and fastest sink rate you can handle is best. We stress that you can handle. Use a short leader (2-3’) off the end, as the mono leader doesn’t sink as fast and if it’s too long, the leader is way deeper than the fly. Keep in mind you’ve added a lot of additional weight to your fly line when you add the sinking leader. It’s like casting a 7-8 wt line on a 5-6 wt rod. Make sure you bring the fly close to you before starting your backcast, or the cast may fail. Worst case scenario, the rod fails! Depending on how deep the fly and leader is, you may need to roll cast the fly to the surface, and then pick it up. Sink tips work a little differently than a floating line, so be ready for some changes to your casting stroke.

With the rivers so big, you’re going to want to work the banks. 80% of all trout are found within 10’ of the shore, so let your cast swing all the way out if you’re wading. Work the soft water and any structure you find. If you’re using a bigger fly, make a couple few casts and then move on. If the fish was going to eat, it would have already. Streamer fishing isn’t like nymphing. Continuous presentations aren’t always what is needed. If you’ve gotten good casts to a likely spot, and seen nothing, move on and find a new spot. Plenty of fish in the river! If you’re floating the river, this is all built in. Bang the banks, and be ready for a fish off every shelf and behind every log.

On general principles, the more off color the water is, the darker a fly you should use. A dark fly creates a better silhouette than a light colored fly, and in murky water that’s a big plus. If the water is light green, you can start with a lighter color. Vary your retrieve. Let the trout tell you if they want the fly subtly moved, or violently stripped. Always keep in mind you can’t move your fly fast enough to keep it away from a big trout bent on eating, so if the slow strip isn’t working, start to move the fly with some speed. Vary the flies entry into the water, and use aerial or water mends to give the fly line some slack, which will allow the fly to sink. Be ready for a fish on the flies first movement, as many large fish will take a dead drifting streamer as an extremely easy meal.

Streamer can be boom or bust. When you’re throwing a big fly, a lot of fish aren’t capable or willing to attack something that large. But the fish you do take on a streamer can be significant. Streamer fishing isn’t for everyone. It takes a lot of effort to throw the big rod and sink tip all day, especially if the fish aren’t cooperating as you think they should! But if you love streamer fishing, or are ready to check out what all the fuss is about, take advantage of the off color clarity that is Streamer Green, and get the big bug in the water!

Missoula Fly Fishing Report

Missoula Fly Fishing Report 4/21

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

Enjoy and Good Luck!

Our Missoula fly shop is still open for call in or email orders. Give us a call and we will get your order ready to go ASAP. Click here for a menu that highlights the current hot flies that we have in stock or check out our online store to order here.

The Governor is encouraging outdoor recreation at this point in time. Fly fishing is a great way to get away from the crowds and enjoy the fresh Montana air.

Bitterroot River

The Bitterroot river fly fishing has been really good over the last week with cooler night temps and mild days. With the warmer weather trend coming up, we will start to see the flows bump which will effect the dry fly fishing. Still one of your best options for Missoula fly fishing but keep your expectations in check. Hopefully we get one more cool down and another window to fish before the rivers really start to blow.
Scroll to the bottom of this page for additional fly patterns and tips!

Blackfoot River

The Blackfoot River is starting to rise after a few warm days but clarity is still decent. Streamers are the main game right now fishing soft edges, inside seems and any soft water you can find. Nymphing inside seems is also a good strategy this time of year.
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Clark Fork River

The Clark Fork River is on its way up right now and should continue to rise and get muddy for at least this week depending on weather. Still fishable today and maybe tomorrow but ClarkFork fishing will go down hill quickly with the warmer weather.
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Rock Creek

Rock Creek fly fishing has been really good for the last few weeks but a push of water is coming and that will turn the fishing off a bit. Often bumps in Rock Creek don’t effect it as much as other fisheries but this will be a significant bump and it should cause the dry fly fishing to take a backseat. Nymphs and streamers are the way to go up here for at least the next few days.
Scroll to the bottom of this page for additional fly patterns and tips!

Montana Fly Fishing Guides – Float Or Wade Fishing Trips

Let Us Make Your Montana Fly Fishing Trip A Vacation Of A Lifetime!

Missoula Fly Fishing Guide Chase Harrison

Spring Hatches

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.

Fish Species

Missoula Fly Fishing Report

Missoula Fly Fishing Report 4/18

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

Enjoy and Good Luck!

Our Missoula fly shop is still open for call in or email orders. Give us a call and we will get your order ready to go ASAP. Click here for a menu that highlights the current hot flies that we have in stock or check out our online store to order here.

The Governor is encouraging outdoor recreation at this point in time. Fly fishing is a great way to get away from the crowds and enjoy the fresh Montana air.

Bitterroot River

The Bitterroot river fly fishing has been good the last few days with stable flows and good water temps. There has been a variety of bugs out that includes Skwala, March Brown, BWO and Nemoura. The weather has stayed mild with some cooler nights and the forecast is calling for the same for the weekend and the coming week. The fishing on the Bitterroot should continue to be really good. We could see some bumps in the flow coming but nothing that should keep you home. The dry fly fishing should continue to produce. May is right around the corner and so is runoff, so get out while it’s still fishing. The weather forecast is calling for clouds today and tomorrow so make sure you have March Brown’s and BWO’s with you like Parachute Pheasant Tail and Parachute Hare’s Ear for the March Browns, and Comparaduns, Hi-Vis BWO and small Olive Parachute Hare’s Ear for the Blue Winged Olives.
Scroll to the bottom of this page for additional fly patterns and tips!

Blackfoot River

The Blackfoot River is starting to clear up nicely after the recent bump in flows and clarity is good to go. We floated the Blackfoot yesterday and saw lots of March Browns and even a few fish eating them. Still a better streamer game then anything right now and should continue to be a good streamer option for the coming week if the weather forecast holds true. Hovering around that 45 degree mark, this is a great temperature to pull out some very nice fish out of the Blackfoot river. Still focus on slower water, inside seems and soft edges. Lighter colored streamers have been the ticket for us up here lately.
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Clark Fork River

The Clark Fork River fly fishing is kicking back into gear and we have had some decent dry fly action in the afternoon. Flows should stay somewhat stable with the extended weather forecast in mind. We have been seeing March Brown’s, Skwala’s and BWO’s out on the Clark Fork and fish are taking notice. Streamers have been productive and of course nymphing is a numbers game. Keep an eye out on these cloudy days for March Brown’s and BWO’s for the next few days and more Skwala’s to come in the sun. Make sure you have a few March Brown patterns like Parachute Pheasant Tail and Parachute Hare’s ear. Rogue Skwala, Plan B and Rastaman have been effective too.


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Rock Creek

Rock Creek fly fishing has been really good lately and should continue to fish well. We have heard great reports from the bottom stretches all the way to the top of the Creek. March Brown’s and Skwala’s are the dries of choice. Streamers and nymphs are great options this time of year. For Skwala dries, the Rogue and Rastaman are hard to beat on Rock Creek this time of year but be sure to have some bigger mayfly attractor patterns like Parachute Adams and Purple Hazes in your box. Kreelex and Sparkle Minnow are the streamers of choice. For nymphs try 20 Inchers, Double Bead Stone, Pats Rubber Legs, Hot Spot Ptails, G-Kes and Egg patterns
Scroll to the bottom of this page for additional fly patterns and tips!

Montana Fly Fishing Guides – Float Or Wade Fishing Trips

Let Us Make Your Montana Fly Fishing Trip A Vacation Of A Lifetime!

Missoula Fly Fishing Guide Chase Harrison

Spring Hatches

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.

Fish Species

Missoula Fly Fishing Report

Missoula Fly Fishing Report 4/15

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

Enjoy and Good Luck!

Our Missoula fly shop is still open for call in or email orders. Give us a call and we will get your order ready to go ASAP. Click here for a menu that highlights the current hot flies that we have in stock.

The Governor is encouraging outdoor recreation at this point in time. Fly fishing is a great way to get away from the crowds and enjoy the fresh Montana air.

Bitterroot River

The Bitterroot river flows have dropped the last few days and fishing has been good. We are seeing low elevation snow drop this morning which should cause a small bump later this week if the weather holds true. Fishing should remain good and even some dry fly action in the afternoon for the next 2-3 days. Expect some bump in flows coming later this week. Even though it’s snowing don’t hesitate to throw the big bug this afternoon. Nymphs and streamers should be productive throughout the day if you’re not getting any dry fly action. If the wind isn’t to bad then keep an eye out for BWO hatches this afternoon in the clouds. Some of our go to Skwala patterns are Rogue Skwala, Plan B, True Skwala and Rastaman. Mayfly attractor patterns like Parachute Pheasant Tail and Parachute Hare’s ear can be great searching patterns that imitate the March Brown. For nymphs try G-Kes Two-Bit Stones, HS Pheasant Tail, Hot Spot PT, Pats and 20 Inchers. Check out our online menu of hot flies for the spring here. Give us a call or email your order and we will get them ready for you.
Scroll to the bottom of this page for additional fly patterns and tips!

Blackfoot River

The Blackfoot River flows have leveled off and clarity is much better then a few days ago. Temps are hovering around the 42 degree mark which isn’t bad for spring fishing on the Blackfoot but still a little chilly. Streamer fishing and nymphs in slow water should remain decent for at least the next few days. Don’t expect quantity but quality is what you’re after this time of year while fly fishing the Blackfoot river.
Scroll to the bottom of this page for additional fly patterns and tips!

Clark Fork River

The Clark Fork River has leveled off but clarity is still not very good for dry flies at least. Still a few days out from being a decent option. For those who decide to hit the Clark Fork in the next few days, focus on streamers and nymphs on the soft edges. If the weather holds true then we will see another push of water from the tributaries draining into the Clark Fork which won’t help clarity. Keep an eye on flows, weather and our Missoula fishing report for updates.


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Rock Creek

Rock Creek is one of your best options for Missoula fly fishing right now and should continue to be a good option throughout the week. Snow this morning will effect dry fly fishing but streamers and nymphs will produce for you. Weather is calling for some warmer days which should help reactivate the Skwala adults to come back. Streamers like the Baby Gonga, Kreelex and Sparkle Minnow have been good. Nymphs like 20 Incher, Pats Rubber Legs, Double Bead Stones and Eggs have been the go to lately.
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Montana Fly Fishing Guides – Float Or Wade Fishing Trips

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Missoula Fly Fishing Guide Chase Harrison

Spring Hatches

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.

Fish Species