Fly Fishing Guide

Bitterroot River - Blackfoot River - Clark Fork River - Rock Creek - Missouri River - Fly Fishing Reports

Fly Fishing Guide - Bitterroot River Reports

December 10

Winter fishing conditions are in effect for all the rivers around Missoula.  On days when the temperatures rise above freezing there will be a decent window of opportunity during the warmest part of the afternoon.  Deep nymphs and streamers fished slowly are most effective.  Slower water from 2 to 5 feet deep will produce best.  Middle stretches of the Bitterroot river are some of the most consistent in the area during winter.

Bitterroot River Near Darby – Fly Fishing Guide

Bitterroot River Flow/Levels

Current Weather Darby, MT

Bitterroot River Near Missoula – Fly Fishing Guide

Bitterroot River Flow/Levels

Current Missoula Weather

Fly Fishing Guide - Blackfoot River at Bonner

Blackfoot River at Bonner – Fly Fishing Guide

December 10

The Blackfoot is not our first choice in the winter.  It’s the coldest area river and access can be a challenge due to snow and ice.  Shelf ice and flow ice are most common on the Blackfoot.  There are some select runs where trout really stack up this time of year.  If you find one of those, you can have good nymphing all to yourself throughout the winter months.

Blackfoot River Flow/Levels

Current Bonner Weather

Fly Fishing Guide - Clark Fork River Above Missoula

Clark Fork River at Turah – Fly Fishing Guide

December 10

Fishing the side channels around Kelly Island offer some of the quickest and easiest access around Missoula to shake off cabin fever.  It is a solid option for nymphing and streamer fishing, and one of your best chances to find rising fish anytime the temps near 40.  The headwaters around Warm Springs are another good choice in these winter conditions.

Clark Fork River Flow/Levels

Current Turah Weather

Clark Fork River at St Regis – Fly Fishing Guide

Clark Fork River Flow/Levels

Current St Regis Weather

Fly Fishing Guide - Rock Creek River Report

Rock Creek – Fly Fishing Guide

December 10

Rock Creek is always one of our top options for winter fishing.  The nymphing here is consistent in all but the coldest weather and slowly fished streamers produce as well.  The lower 13 miles of Rock Creek road is plowed and passable all winter along with the upper portion near Ghilles bridge.  The middle section of the road can be treacherous in winter.

Rock Creek Flow/Levels

Current Clinton Weather

Fly Fishing Guide - Missouri River Reports

Missouri River below Holter Dam – Fly Fishing Guide

December 10

The Missouri is definitely the best winter option in the area.  Slow swung leech and streamer patterns have been very effective lately.  Of course, nymphing is always a good option too.  Look to slower water and make sure at least one of your nymphs is of the pink variety.  Weather is the biggest obstacle on the Mo this time of year.  Wind and cold temps can make for a less than pleasant outing, but the fish are always there.

Missouri River Flow/Levels

Current Wolf Creek Weather

Fly Fishing Guide - Montana Trout Outfitters

Another Day on the River, by Tony Reinhardt

…I was back out with Brian and Bridger the trout dog, and we were also joined by Brian’s friend Bruce.  The weather was a little dicey with rain and thunderstorms in the forecast so we chose to stay close to home on the Bitterroot around Hamilton.  That choice was fine with me after the fishing yesterday and I was looking for another all day dry fly affair.

We started with double dries and it didn’t take long for Bruce to connect with the first fish of the day.  The action was fairly steady in the morning with mostly smaller and medium sized cutts and cuttbows coming to the dry.  There weren’t many bugs around early so I was hoping a hatch would get the fish fired up.

We pulled up into a side channel to look for some fish and with no rises Bruce ended up sticking a few on a dropper.  We took a break for lunch there and while we were eating a few PMDs started coming off and some heads showed.

Brian set off on foot with the dry fly rod and fooled a few in short order including the biggest fish of the day.  It was a big cutt in the 18-20″ range but it ended up foul hooked on the double dry rig and I forced the issue a little to get the trout in quickly and it broke off.  After getting back to the main river I still wasn’t seeing the number of bugs I wanted so I switched the guys over to a dry/dropper rig.

That’s one of the surest things to get the fish up and rising, and not five minutes after that a fish ate Bruce’s dry and the Green Drakes started coming off.  It was back to the dry fly rig for us and the fellas started raising more fish.  It was busy in the afternoon and our average size got a little better too.

A couple of browns came to the net, but it was still mainly cutthroat and bows with most from 12-15″ and a nice 17″ cuttbow that Brian landed toward the end of the float.  We had a couple of storms around us mid-day, but nothing too terrible and for the most part it was pleasant weather.  Another great day on the Bitterroot with a couple of good guys and the best boat dog around,.

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