Missoula Fly Fishing Report

Missoula Fishing Report 6/27

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

Enjoy and Good Luck!

Bitterroot River

The Bitterroot River is trying to drop, but is more staying constant with small daily bumps and a gradual decline in flow. The clarity is decent, and if you’re floating, you can get it done with Salmon Flies up top but quickly waning and Goldens are starting to show, as well as Green Drakes on the cloudy days. The wading is not easy on the Bitterroot right now, but if the river keeps dropping as it is now, we expect this to get a lot better in the next week. The forks are fishing well, again with few Salmon Flies and Goldens.
Green Drakes have been seen, and a few fish are taking advantage, but you need to find the soft spots to get the fish to come to the surface. The same is applying to the PMD’s, PED’s and Tan Caddis. As the river drops, these flies will become more important on the surface. The nymphs are important right now, and a PT jig, G Kes or a Caddis Pupa will move fish underneath the surface.
Streamers are definitely working, especially in the more colored water closer to Missoula. The Drunk And Disorderly, with it’s flat face, sends out vibrations to fish and moves them in stained water. Gongas, Dungeons, the Boogie Man and other streamers with bulky heads are working as well. If you have a sink-tip or a sinking leader, definitely bring it. While the water is slowly dropping, the Bitterroot is still big, and the extra depth will help your streamer perform.
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Blackfoot River

The Blackfoot is dropping steadily in this heat, which means it will start to drop quickly in the next few days. At the moment, it’s a lot more friendly to floating anglers, though the further you go up the river, the better the wading will be. Remember the first 5 miles of the Recreational Corridor road is being paved, and is closed from Johnsrud to Whitaker Bridge. If you want to access the recreational corridor, you’ll need to drive to Roundup and come down from the top.
The Blackfoot is really fishing well with Streamers right now. Big streamers, little streamers- the big fish are eating little fish, and the streamer fishing is really good. The lower river is still a bit off color, so darker streamers down there, but as you go upstream, a lighter streamer has been just as effective. Bring the big streamer stick if you have one- a sink tip is getting the fly where the fish are, especially down low. A sinking leader will work as well. Pick your streamers to match your rod weight. It’s more important to get the fly close to the fish. If you can cast a big fly accurately, the Blackfoot is for you!
The Salmon Flies and Golden Stones are being eaten with regularity on the Blackfoot. The dry fly fishing is better the higher up you go, as the clarity is better. Still use the bigger, brighter bugs, and again, accuracy is more important. The Blackfoot is bank full, and the trout are hugging bottom and sides. Better to have a thicker tippet for accuracy. The Morningwood Special or a Juicy Stone is good on top. The tweener fly of choice is the Juicy Stone Golden, which does double duty as a Salmon Fly as well. The Rogue Golden and the Half Down Golden are producing as well. Of course, a dropper or double nymph rig is very effective, and a Double Bead Stone or big Pat’s Rubberlegs are working their magic subsurface.
Green drakes are being eaten, but with the higher flows, it’s more about finding where the water is soft enough to allow the trout to set up for the hatch. If you find the hatch, most flies close in appearance are being eaten. Make sure to have a couple of Parachute Green Drakes and a Flash Cripple or two to meet the hatch. For subsurface action, a big PT Jig Nymph and the Emerald Salvation Nymph are pulling in the fish. Get them deep enough!
PMD’s, PED’s and tan caddis are being seen, but the flows are such that the fish are taking less interest in the smaller bugs and focusing on the Salmonflies and Golden Stones. The nymphs of these smaller bugs are working, so have the G Kes, Yellow Spot Jig or the Umpqua PT Jig to take advantage of the subsurface smorgasbord. The smaller dries will begin to assert themselves when the water drops a bit, so be tready in the next few days.
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Clark Fork River

The Middle and Lower Clark Fork river are still high and off color, though the off color is now more green than brown, which is a good sign! The upper Clark is fishing well on the upper, and the way upper stretch by Warm Springs is wading well.
The Golden and Salmon Fly hatches in the upper section are what we expect, present but not strong. It’s dry/dropper up here, with the dropper doing most of the work. A TJ Hooker or a Pat’s Rubberlegs is working well on the upper stretches. An Orange Chubby makes a great indicator, and will pick up a few fish. The goldens are being seen, and in the upper stretches, the smaller Goldens like the Henry’s Fork or Rogue Golden is working.
When it comes to the Middle and Lower sections, it’s going to be streamer time before it’s dry fly time. If the rivers continue to drop at this rapid rate, we expect the Middle Clark Fork to be seeing some good streamer action in 4-5 days, with the lower section a few days later. As the biggest drainage in the area, the Clark Fork takes a bit longer to round into shape. A bit of patience is needed from Missoula on down, but keep an eye our for that magical streamer green ,and take advantage.
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Rock Creek

The heat is here and Rock Creek is dropping, which means the river is definitely rounding into shape. There’s still some Salmonflies kicking around, and the big orange floaters like the Morningwood Special and Rio’s Juicy Stone are still productive. But as the river drops and the fish start to move off the banks, the smaller, lower floating flies like Gould’s Half-Down Salmon Fly, Rogue Stone, Cat Puke and the Morrish Still Stone are working too. If you have the bright orange bugs, a quick application of brown or black magic marker will get them looking a lot more natural.
Golden Stones and Yellow Sallies are along the length of the river. The bigger Goldens, like the Dancing Ricky and the El Camino. The same applies to the Goldens- as the river drops, the duller, more natural Goldens will start to work. The Henry’s Fork Golden, Rogue Golden and the Demoe’s Mill Creek are some low floating bugs that will move the fish. The lower the flows get, the more important the Yellow Sallies will be. Make sure you have them with you.
Looking for a tweener- A fly that may be a Golden, may be a Salmon Fly? The Juicy Stone Golden or the Fluttering Golden will fit that bill perfectly.
If you choose to go subsurface which you shouldn’t have to, a big Pat’s Rubberlegs in brown will cover both golden and Salmon Fly nymphs. If you’re looking for more realism, the Double Bead Stone in Peacock (Salmon Fly) and the Double Bead Hare’s Ear (Golden Nymph)
The Green Drakes are being taken, in more places every day as the river drops. The Carnage Drake and the Parachute Green drake are working well. If you run across a little fussier fish, a Sparkle Cripple Green Drake has been very effective. The Emerald Salvation Nymph is taking fish subsurface.
The PMD’s are starting to be eaten as well- again more as the river drops. The PED’s and Tan Caddis are the same. Make sure to have them, but they won’t be super important on the surface for about a week. Unless you find a soft spot, and then they’ll be important now! But the nymphs and pupa are important right now, so make sure to have PT Tungsten Jigs, Tan Caddis Pupa and Yellow Hot Spots to move the fish close to the bottom.
If you can take your eyes off the Salmon Flies and Goldens, the streamer fishing up here is pretty good! Sparkle Minnows are moving fish, as are the Mini Dungeons and Sculpzillas. The Dungeons are working on a sink tip or sinking leader, and right now Rock Creek is big enough to take a sinking line
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Missoula Fly Fishing Report

Missoula Fishing Report 6/20

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

Enjoy and Good Luck!

Bitterroot River

The bitterroot bumped with the recent rain and is slowly coming back down. The water is still big up here. Not a bad idea to give this one some time to come back down a little more. We’ve had some reports on the upper stretches that fished good before the bump but the lower end will take some time to calm down. The Salmonfly hatch has been inconsistent over the last few weeks on the upper, they’ve been out heavy in the sun but are starting to wane. Be ready for the Golden Stone hatch on the upper soon.
We’re still doing our best to scout some of these stretches but with the fluctuating water the river is constantly changing, we’re waiting for it to drop back down after the recent rain event. Be careful if you decide to float. Might be a better idea to get out the tying vise, hit your favorite lake or wade smaller streams.
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Blackfoot River

The Blackfoot river bumped in flows with the recent rain and is leveling off as of this morning. The Blackfoot has been the most consistent for us this last week with the dropping flows and warming temps. We started to get some Salmonfly dry fly action on the lower end but nothing to really write home about. The nymphing was consistent and the streamer fishing was also productive. We’re hoping the water continues to drop throughout this week. The forecast isn’t calling for much more rain after today, the warmer temps should bring a little more consistency to our flows opposed to the rain which can cause big spikes.
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Clark Fork River

The Clark Fork is on it’s way up and not a great choice right now. The stretches above town should come back down quickly this week after the rain but the lower should be high and murky for a while. Much better options than the Clark Fork this week.
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Rock Creek

We’ve had some awesome reports over the last week with warmer temps and dropping flows. The Salmonflies have been out and the fish are eating them. The last few days the water has bumped in flows but we expect that to come down in the coming days. If you’ve been paying attention to the flows, you’ve seen how quickly flows can drop this time of year after rain even through the warmer temps. They’re up now but should drop again this week.
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Missoula Fly Fishing Report

Missoula Fishing Report 6/14

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

Enjoy and Good Luck!

Bitterroot River

The Bitterroot spiked along the length of the river the last few days. High, brown and blown. The river should continue to drop and clear in the next few days. Not a great option as of now but focusing on side channels and softer edges on the upper end is your best bet. Maybe some back sloughs will hold trout, and definitely pike, but getting to a slough is the major issue. Best to leave this one alone for a few days. Should drop into more fishable conditions in the next week or two.
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Blackfoot River

The rain, warm temperatures and great snowpack have finally caught up to us. We’ve been squeezing some decent fishing over the last week, but the river spiked big time. Lots of brown, high water at this point, but the weather patterns should start to bring the river down within the next few days. So right now, not so much, but we’re expecting the Blackfoot to be fishable within the week. Salmonfly hatch should show up within in the next few weeks if the weather holds true. It’s shaping up to be a good second half of June around Missoula.
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Clark Fork River

The middle and lower sections of the Clark Fork is high, brown and pretty much unfishable. The river has been climbing for the last few days and starting to drop slowly. The Clark Fork bumped in flows over the last week. So far it doesn’t look like it’s dropping as quick as the rest of the rivers in the area. Lots of great smaller streams to hit this time of year in the area that are much better options. Expect the mid to lower Clark Fork river to be out of commission for the next week or two while the upper should shape up a lot quicker.
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Rock Creek

Rock Creek is holding its little visibility as well as any river in the area. It’s still, big and off-color, but the salmonfly hatch has started and that’s all it takes to bring these fish to the top even during high flows. The top section will be better than the bottom for clarity. You can get it done here at the moment and should improve throughout next week. Any way you slice it, it’s going to be a bit of work on the water in the next few days. Warm weather mid next week should really get the salmonfly hatch popping!
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Missoula Fly Fishing Report

Missoula Fly Fishing Report 5/4

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

Enjoy and Good Luck!

Bitterroot River

The Bitterroot river fly fishing has been slow lately due to the warming weather and rising water. The Flows have leveled off today but with a few 80 degree days in the next few days, it will continue to increase and make conditions even harder. The higher stretches of the bitterroot will be your best bet for may. Just keep your expectations low!
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Blackfoot River

Fly fishing the Blackfoot River has been slow and should continue its upward trend in flows. Nymphing and streamer fishing in soft inside seems will pull a few fish out here and there but don’t expect much for the month of May.
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Clark Fork River

Clark Fork fly fishing is slow going this time of year. The Clark is always the last to come back in to shape and wont be a viable option for most of May.
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Rock Creek

Fly fishing on Rock Creek has been been slow but one of your better options during runoff and the month of May. Focus on soft edges with big stonefly nymph patterns and streamers.
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March 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.

Missoula Fly Fishing Report

Missoula Fly Fishing Report 4/22

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

Enjoy and Good Luck!

Bitterroot River

The Bitterroot river fly fishing has been great over the last few days and should continue to fish well. We’ve seen plenty of Skwalas in the sun and March Browns in the clouds. The levels have been fairly level which is always good to see this time of year as they are often fluctuating during warm spells and rain. Fish have moved out of their winter holding water and in to late spring holding water with the warmer water temps. Skwalas, Nemouras, BWO’s and March Browns are all on the menu. At this point in time it appears that we will get at least another week or two before runoff hits.
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Blackfoot River

Fly fishing the Blackfoot River has been decent lately with steady flows and warmer temperature. Still more of a nymph and streamer game this time of year but keep an eye out on cloudy days for BWO’s and March Browns. Keep your focus on slower runs and inside seems for fish stacked up. Deep nymph rigs and streamers is our go to on the Blackfoot this time of year.
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Clark Fork River

Clark Fork fly fishing has been good the last few days now that water has cleared up a bit and flows remain fairly stable. We have had a few great days with Skwalas and March Browns on top. Nymphing will be the most productive and streamer fishing has been good too.
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Rock Creek

Fly fishing on Rock Creek has been good the last few days with good numbers of Skwalas and March Browns hatching. The afternoon window has been the most productive for dry fly fishing while nymphing and streamer fishing has been solid all day long. We have been hearing good reports from the lower stretches all the way to the top end. Flows have been steady and should continue on that trend as long as we don’t see to much rain or a rapid increase in temperature.
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March 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.

Fly Fishing The Clark Fork River

Missoula Fly Fishing Report 3/15

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

Enjoy and Good Luck!

Bitterroot River

The Bitterroot river fly fishing is improving every day. We have seen a few Skwala adults hatching but nothing to write home about yet. Focus your time nymphing and streamer fishing. The forecast is looking promising with higher night time temperatures but spring forecasts in Montana is never a for sure thing. We expect the dry fly fishing to improve late this week into next week.
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Blackfoot River

Fly fishing the Blackfoot River has been pretty slow with the cold temperatures. If you want to have a section all to yourself then this is a good option. Don’t expect numbers but the nymphing and streamer fishing can bring some quality fish to hand this time of year. Focus on slow inside seems with deep nymph rigs and streamers
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Clark Fork River

Clark Fork fly fishing, is slowly starting to wake up. Not much for good dry fly fishing yet but the nymphing and streamer fishing can be decent. Focus your time on slow inside seems with nymph rigs and streamers. We will see what the weather brings before we get to excited about streamer fishing on the Clark Fork river.
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Rock Creek

Fly fishing on Rock Creek is a good option this time of year with nymphs and streamer fishing. Not much for dry fly action yet but this can be some of the best nymphing of the year on slow inside seams with stonefly nymph imitations. We should start seeing some Skwalas hatching in the next few weeks.
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March 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.