Conditions At-a-glance

Our Report

Tip of the Week:

As we start seeing more grasshoppers, ants, beetles, and other terrestrials in the coming weeks, you will find the best hopper fishing when it’s a bit windy (ideally a crosswind) outside. Afternoons are also generally more successful as hoppers are more active once it warms  up a bit, making them more susceptible to getting blown into the nearest stream or lake. When it comes to hopper patterns, start small in the early season (that’s right now) and size up your flies as time goes on - this is what is happening with the naturals! When you’re looking for the perfect spot to cast your favorite hopper pattern, start with the nearest grassy banks. Thick grass lining the edge of a cut bank can be a great place to fish hoppers. 

*See our 7 Day Outlook for updates on blockages jamming up the Bitterroot. 

7 Day Outlook: 

This past week in the Bitterroot Valley, flows have dropped considerably and we are now looking at a river that is flowing at about one-third of the historical average for this time of year. Some sections will be a bit bony. We’re looking at another very hot week similar to what we’ve been experiencing the last couple weeks, but with cooler nights in the forecast which we hope will bring down water temperatures a bit.

**There are currently fishing restrictions on the Bitterroot river by Montana FWP. Please refer to Montana FWP’s current waterbody restrictions to see the latest.** 

If you are floating please use extreme caution. This river changes rapidly and is known for producing fatal log jams. Give us a call for an updated obstruction report. If you see any issues be sure to call us or send pics so we can share the same. Thanks.

*There are currently MANY obstructions on the Bitterroot.

Hannon-Wally: Several sweepers in this section. It is getting tougher as water drops.

Wally-Anglers: flows over Sleeping Child dam are always dicey!  Don’t consider running after a scout unless you are highly skilled.  The channel around the left side is too low to consider.

Vets-Woodside: More wood down between New Bridge and Blodgett Park.  The river right channel will require careful scouting and likely boat dragging. 

Woodside-Tucker:  New tree down in right channel need to stay left here. The left channel at the split is open but be sure to choose your splits wisely, and the right channel over the diversion dam may need to be portaged. Have a look before you run it.

Tucker-Bell: Very sketchy in the channel through the woods now that the water has come up.  Consider going somewhere else until runoff subsides.

Bell-Stevi: Follow the sign that says “GO LEFT” to miss the log jam.  A new log is exposed in the “clear” channel so proceed with caution.

Stevi-Florence: Clear.  Follow the water at any splits.  As the river fluctuates it is smart to pull over and check for any potential changes.

When In Doubt, Eddy Out! As always, we want anglers to know that they are responsible for their own wellbeing when they are on the water. As an outfitter, we will try our best to bring known dangers to light, but conditions and obstructions are always changing and we can't possibly keep up with every danger that may present itself. When in doubt, eddy out and walk downstream to get a good look at what you're dealing with! 

Best Techniques:

In the Bitterroot Valley, we’re seeing mostly PMDs right now. There are the occasional Yellow Sallies, Golden Stones and Green Drakes in the mix as well. Early mornings are fishing the best. For the rest of the day, nymphing will be the best bet. Consider bringing some hoppers, as opportunities to fish terrestrials begin to present themselves. 

*Traveling or in a hurry?  Let our knowledgeable staff pick a fly selection for you!

*The Online Store is updated daily!  Check it out!

*Call us for up to the minute updates at 406.542.7411 or if you are in the area stop in for all your gear and the right bugs.


  • Purple Haze #12-18
  • Corn Fed Caddis #12-14
  • Chubby Chernobyl #06-10 - Gold
  • Water Walker #8-12
  • Parachute PMD #14-18
  • Flash Cripple PMD #14-18
  • Last Chance Cripple PMD #16-20
  • Extended Body Green Drake #10-12


  • TJ Hooker #8-12
  • Flexy Stone #06-08
  • Hot Bead Power Worm #06-10
  • Jig Prince #8-12
  • Frenchie #12-14
  • Perdigons and Bullets #12-14
  • Duracell #12-16


  • Lil' Kim #04-08
  • Wooly Bugger/Thin Mint #6-10
  • Sparkle Minnow #04-08
  • Kreelex #04-06
  • Articulated Sparkle Minnow
  • Dungeons
  • Peanut Envy
  • Double Gonga

Local Forecast

Deer Lodge, MT, USA


Good but hot!

The Hatch

PMDs. Some Yellow Sallies, Caddis, Golden Stoneflies and Green Drakes.

USGS Water Charts




Water temperature at mid-day


Water Condition


Best time of day to fish

Early mornings are best!

Best stretch

The whole river is looking OK. See our fishing report above for the most updated information on obstructions.

Best access point

Multiple fishing access points along the river.

Fish Species

Rainbows, browns, cutthroats, cutbows, pike minnows, suckers, pike and whitefish.

Fishing Season

All Year

Nearest airport

MSO (Missoula International Airport)

Recommended fly fishing leader

From a boat - 7.5' 3x-4x. Wading step it up to 9'

Recommended fly fishing tippet

3X, 4X and 5X will cover 90% of our fishing applications. 1-2X is great for punching out large, wind resistant dries in high dirty water. Don't drop lower than 12lb for streamers (we recommend a 4-5' 12-16lb tapered leader with a sink tip fly line). Leave the 6X at home.

Best fly fishing rod

The 9' 5WT is our do it all rod. Fast action rods will be best for most of our fishing; foam dries, dry-dropper fishing and nymphing. A fast action 6WT will be useful for large foam dries, small streamers, heavy nymph rigs and punching bugs through the afternoon wind. Bring a 7WT if you plan to fish large articulated streamers.

Best floating fly line

Scientific Anglers MPX or Rio Grand

Best sinking fly line

Scientific Anglers Trout Express or Rio Predator F/I/S3

About This Water

Noted for exceptional dry fly fishing throughout its 80 mile course, the Bitterroot wonders through cottonwood bottoms in the shadow snow capped peaks.  Major hatches of stone flies, mayflies, and caddis start early in March here and continue on right through November.  The braided nature of the Bitterroot provides for delightful combination float/wade trips affording anglers to get out of the boat periodically to ply oft overlooked side channels and backwaters.  Fly fishing the Bitterroot seldom disappoints.