Western Montana Fly Fishing Report

Family trips to Missoula are always better with a couple of days of fishing thrown into the mix. The Missoula area has a fantastic selection of early season fly fishing opportunities. The ClarkFork, Bitterroot, Blackfoot and Rock Creek are all viable options for pre run-off angling. There are numerous easy floats and great walk in access for the angler making Missoula base. This year the weather has been unsettled and fishing was not off the charts by any means but I did manage to get out and fish the Skwala hatch for a couple of days. Much like Oregon the Western Montana area appears to be severely laking snow pack, and experiencing low water. Early season should be great, but Summer flows could be a problem.

Clarkfork River Cutthroat

This Thursday on the Clarkfork fish were willing to eat the Skwala before, and amidst a nice Blue Winged Olive hatch from around 2-5pm. Around 5pm the wind began to howl upstream and the fishing largely shut off. March Browns were also present on the Big Eddy to Sloway drift we took. There was not another boat on the water.

Friday on the Bitteroot brief periods of calm weather had fish rising to Blue Wing’s and eating the Skwala’s. But every time the warming calm would develop another blast of cold would shut things down. We did manage some nice fish and thrashed the whitefish whenever a faster riffle drop off was available. We floated from Stevenson to Florence.

bitteroot float

fly fishing the bitteroot


If you are looking for a quick Spring Break jaunt heading to Missoula is a great call.–CD

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2 Responses to Western Montana Fly Fishing Report

  1. ERIC says:

    Thanks for sharing. I lived in Missoula for 5 years MAN HOW I MISS IT!! I used to fish almost every evening. I could walk from were we lived and have a pretty good outing!!

  2. Thanks…our rivers are blown out at the moment except for the lower mad and spring creeks. I need to get up there for the skwala next year.

    Montana fishing lodges

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