Missoula Fly Fishing Report

Missoula Fishing Report 4/14

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

Enjoy and Good Luck!

Bitterroot River

The Bitterroot river fishing has been incredible this week up until a few days ago when the flows bumped and slowed fishing down. The dry fly fishing with Skwala’s, March Browns and BWO’s was some of the best fishing we’ve seen this Spring so far. Big fish and dry flies, what more can you ask.
We’re hoping flows level off a bit with some cooler weather on tap and cool nights. Keep an eye on flows over the next few days and hope for a level or dropping trend. Be prepared with Skwala’s, March Browns and BWO’s.

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

Blackfoot River

Fishing on the Blackfoot river has picked up a bit over the week. Still mostly a nymph and streamer game but we have been hearing a few reports of decent dry fly fishing on March Browns. Like the rest of the Missoula rivers, the Blackfoot flows have been rising steadily over the last few days. We’re hoping the flows level off or begin to drop over the next week with the cold front moving in.
Focus your time on inside seems with heavy nymph rigs and slowly retrieved streamers.

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

Clark Fork River

The Clark Fork river flows have bumped over the last few days. While fishing still stayed fairly consistent, the water clarity has started to turn a bit darker. As with the rest of the rivers, we hope to see the flows level off as cooler weather moves in early this coming week.
The March Brown and Skwala dry flies was the name of the game and we expect that to continue in the coming week.
We’ve also started to hear a lot of good streamer fishing with patterns like the Double Fuego, Dirty Hippie, Mongrel Meat and Sparkle Minnows.

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

Rock Creek

Rock Creek continues to fish good even through the rising water. The dry fly fishing has really picked up with plenty of Skwala’s, March Browns and Nemoura’s.
The Nymphing and Streamer fishing has stayed consistent and should continue to produce fish for the coming weeks.
If flows level off, the fishing should be really good up here this coming week.
We’ve been hearing good fishing from the lower end all the way to the top, but a little better dry fly fishing on the lower half.

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

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.

Use The Bump Time To Prepare For Montana Spring Fishing

Blake Hasquet enjoying some Montana spring fly fishing.

One week the fishing will be incredible with bugs, stable flows and beautiful weather and the next week you’re dealing with rising water, snow/rain and frozen guides. Like the saying goes “if you don’t like the weather in Montana, wait 10 minues” the same goes for Montana spring fly fishing.

We are dealing with this issue right now. Just when things started warming up and the rivers started to fish really well, we get hammered by rain after a brief warm up and the the rivers start to bump in flows. The last few weeks have been amazing fishing, big fish on big dries all day long. The good news is the flows will level off again and the fishing should continue to be productive after these daily bumps in flow. The bad news is that this weekend isn’t looking great for fly fishing Missoula rivers with rising flows, wind and cold nights.

We are hoping by next week the Bitterroot river and Blackfoot river should level off and begin to clear unless the weather man changes his/her thoughts. Rock creek is also seeing a bump but fishing is typically less effected on this stream then the rest of the Missoula rivers when flows bump due to spring conditions. The Clark Fork river is always a bit behind the other rivers to clear up and hopefully it comes back into shape by the end of next week because it was fishing really well on top for the last week or so.

Your best options for fishing right now are the Bitterroot and Rock Creek if you do plan to go fishing this week. To be honest, it might be a better weekend to tie, organize fly boxes, study entomology and check out our online menu and give us a call or email to put in an order for needed supplies for better fishing next week. Skwala, March Brown, Neumora and BWO are the primary insects that will be hatching for the rest of April, so focus on tying these or loading your fly box for some of the best Montana spring fishing of the year coming,

Many of us have a lot of extra time on our hands lately and fishing is a great way to pass the time. The inconsistency of spring fly fishing in Montana is something we live with every year and those who prepare now will maximize their fishing time when rivers stabilize. The last thing that you want to happen is getting out on the river and realize that you’re out of 3x tippet or the right pattern and fish are feeding in front of you. We are more then happy to put together a variety of flies that will work this time of year for you if you would like. A dozen professionally picked flies will go a long ways for your Missoula fly fishing adventure. Our doors may be shut but we are still open to call in or email orders and are here to help like we always have. Don’t hesitate to reach out for an order or just some needed advice. We miss seeing everyone come into our Missoula fly shop and at the very least, we would still love to hear your voices.

Get out and go fish, enjoy the time to yourself or family and enjoy Montana spring fly fishing.

2020 Missoula Spring Fly Fishing

Well so far 2020 has been an interesting year to say the least. With restrictions in Montana and the rest of the Country, there are few things that we have control over right now. Just like fly fishing in Montana, things can change very quickly and we all hope things turn for the better.

The one thing that has changed in Montana spring fishing is the guides are off the river and most of the college students have gone back home, which leaves the rivers with a little less company. For our Missoula fly fishing guides it has been a tough spring and we’re not really sure what the summer has in store for us. While this is a tough spring to swallow for all Montana fishing guides and outfitters, it’s leaving the rivers to the rest of the Missoula anglers to enjoy. Our Missoula fly shop staff have talked to lots of folks who have had stretches to themselves on some of the most beautiful days.

You would be amazed to see how many college students come into our shop to gear up to go fly fishing and as a business we do miss them but as anglers, we like seeing the rivers a little less crowded and less fishing pressure means uneducated fish which we also like.

If your one of those anglers that doesn’t dust off your rod until the Salmon flies hit the Missoula rivers in June then maybe this is the time to explore the best spring fly fishing in Montana. From throwing big bugs like Skwala’s to tiny mayflies like BWO’s, the spring has a little bit for everyone’s taste. Not to mention some of the best streamer fishing can be had on the rivers around Missoula in the spring.

Let’s face it, the world is a different place then it was last year, many of us are out of work for the time being, we’re being told to shelter in place UNLESS it’s for essential travel or outdoor recreation like fishing. Why sit at home and watch the doom and gloom news all day worrying about the same thing you did the day before. It’s not only important to get physical exercise in these times but it is even more important to stay sane and mentally healthy. What better way to get away from this stressful situation we are all in then to get out and enjoy some of the best Montana fly fishing of the year.

Take the family out, go enjoy the river on your own, just don’t get caught up in the doom and gloom mindset that many have right now. It’s not healthy for you or your family. 2020 doesn’t seem like it can get much worse so the only way is up from here. Go catch a few fish and enjoy the wonders of Montana and all the things that make life so special. After all life is to short and as my grandma use to say “this to shall pass”.

Missoula Fly Shop Staff

Lets Talk About Fishing – The Old Normal

We get it, there’s a huge problem out there, and we’re all feeling a bit nervous, a bit helpless and buffeted about things we can’t see or control. How tired are you of hearing about the new normal?!?!?!?

The old normal is out there- it’s on the Clark Fork River, Bitterroot River, Blackfoot River and Rock Creek. The bugs have no clue. Neither do the trout. It’s spring, the trees are budding, and it’s snowing in the mountains. You can get knee deep in a river and feel the water wash around you. You can gaze at the mountains, snow capped and magisterial as they watch over the valley in their slow, patient way. You can marvel at the rising trout, the sly underwater wink that could be Mr. Big, or just a whitey. But that’s why we fly fish, for the fascination, for the chance at Brother Two Foot, to catch and release to be there again.

The cold nights have the Missoula rivers in perfect shape. They’re lower than normal, which means the fish are where they should be. The Blackfoot River is actually getting a bit warm and fishing. The WMB’s are coming off on Rock Creek, along the edges just where you expect them. The Clark Fork is fishing great, and the Skwalas and WMB’s are making their presence felt. And of course, Skwalas on the Bitterroot river. The conditions are a clarion call to listen to Governor Bullock- social distancing is protocol, but let’s not forget to recreate, let’s not forget to take advantage of what surrounds us.

There are a lot of places not as well off as Montana when it comes to the issues we face today. If you’re there, and not in Montana, you’re on our minds. We hope the social distancing is working as well where you are as it is in Montana. That means you’ll be here sooner than you think for some Missoula fly fishing. Don’t worry! The rivers will still be here, that favorite bend in the river, or that awesome bucket where you hooked one you never even saw, that you think about even today. That trout is still there, and will be when we get back to the old normal.

With the weather we’re having right now, it feels like run-off, when it comes, is going to come hard and fast. The rivers are in perfect wading shape (Drift boats are finding the bottom closer to their hull than usual!) and the fish are willing and healthy. No need to be on the water as the sun appears, it’s just a tad cold still. Sleep in, fish the middle of the day. If it’s cloudy, have your BWO’s with you, and of course Skwalas, WMB’s and Nemouras. If you’re a streamer guy, then you do want to be on the water a bit earlier, to take advantage of the bite before the hatches.

Missoula spring fishing is here. Maybe it’s difficult to pick up on, as we don’t bustle through our normal day. But it’s here, and it’s happening. Remember to take a little time out, remember to do things for you. As Han said to Chewee, “Keep your distance, but don’t look like you’re trying to keep your distance.”  You know, fish casual! The rivers are there, they will be there and they will do their job as they always do. Because when you’re fishing, the cares of the world go washing away with the water that passes between your feet. Let the water work it’s wizardry, allow yourself to experience river magic and lose yourself for just a bit in the old normal . . . . . still found below the high water mark on every river!

Bitterroot River Fly Fishing

The Best Spring Fly Fishing In Montana

Missoula Montana spring fly fishing is like few others in the west. Some of the best fishing of the year starts in March, and it starts on the surface! That’s correct, we have stellar dry fly fishing in March and April. Whether you’re a fan of throwing a big dry fly like a Skwala stonefly, searching with a Nemoura or take pride in hatch matching with a Western March Brown or Blue Winged Olive, Missoula’s spring dry fly fishing will make you smile. The Bitterroot River and its epic Skwala hatch is famous in Montana, and for good reason. What’s less known is Rock Creek and the Clark Fork River also have strong Skwala populations, along with excellent WMB and BWO hatches. While most anglers are focused on the Bitterroot River, the adventurous angler will find spring dry fly fishing throughout the Missoula area.

You can expect surface action from late morning through the afternoon. Missoula’s fly fishing in March and April is temperature dependent, meaning the warmer it gets, the sooner the dry fly fishing starts. If the day stays on the cold and wet side, that activates the BWO’s to epic hatches! Montana’s spring dry fly fishing is focused on Missoula, due to our warmer early season weather. It’s tough to find better spring dry fly fishing in Montana. It’s a lot of fun to be able to start the season on the surface!

Coming off the cold winter, the big dogs are coming out of hibernation, and they’re looking to feed. Every angler knows big flies take big fish, so if you’re looking to see Brother TwoFoot, you may want to turn that dry into a streamer! Many who take advantage of spring fly fishing in Missoula will start their day with the big rod and the big flies, working the edges and holes to sting those big, hungry trout. When the dry flies truly establish later in the day, some anglers will put the big flies away, but don’t kid yourself. The longer you fish the streamer, the longer the Big Dog barks! We love to take those early spring streamer junkies to the Blackfoot River, letting those steep ledges and deep holes divulge their early season secrets.

Which brings us to old reliable. Why does the nymph get such a poor rap, when it’s hands down the most effective way of putting trout in your net. Spring fly fishing in Missoula offers multiple nymphing opportunities, including shallow water sight nymphing with a Skwala or Nemoura nymph, or working a little deeper with your Pheasant Tails and Hare’s Ears. For the first time since late fall, there are lots of nymphs on the move, and early season trout will key on this new and abundant food source. You can get way serious and run a double nymph rig, or you can combine the great spring dry fly fishing with your subsurface hunting and rig up a dry/dropper. However you plan to approach it, the nymph is always the workhorse, the producer, for any angler.

When you start the season early, the weather can be as exciting as the fishing, so be prepared for a Montana Spring fly fishing! But no matter what the weather is above the surface, the trout are eating, and eating hard.

The Missoulian Angler Fly Shop is offering three great deals for experiencing the best spring fly fishing in Montana. Click the button below to see more details.

Spring Special Guided Fly Fishing In Montana – Discounted Rates

Take advantage of our Spring Special Guided Fly Fishing discounted rates. March and April is some of the best dry fly fishing of the year. Our guides love this time of year because of the big fish eating dry flies. Come enjoy a day on the river with Missoula’s best fly fishing guides.

Learn More
Missoula Fly Fishing Guide Chase Harrison