Bitterroot River

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Bitterroot River

Updated 07/22/2021 at 5:43pm

Conditions At-a-glance


Weather Forecast

Our Report


BRO’s Tips of the Week:
Rope up!  As water temperatures rise be sure to size up your tippet to help quickly and safely land fish.  2X to 3X for larger dries, 4X for smaller dries, and 3X or 4X to the dropper.  Don’t forget to bring your stream thermometer!

7 Day Outlook:

We are going to get a slight break from the heatwave as we head into the weekend.  Temperatures expected in the mid to high-80’s and then jumping up to the low-90’s early next week.  Be aware of fire conditions and restrictions- Missoula and Ravalli counties have enacted Stage 2 fire restrictions.  Be aware of rising water temperatures.  Get on the water early and get off early.

Our Recommendations for the Best Techniques and Patterns:

Not much has changed in the way of techniques for the past few weeks.  Guides are running a Water Walker or Chubby in size #08-12 for your first fly.  PMDs and Yellow Sallies are the go-to for your dropper.  Frenchies, Yellow Spots, and Tung Jig PMDs in #14-16.  Sally Quill Spanish Bullets, Jig MT Sallies, and BH Sallies #14-16.  Look for risers later in the morning and switch to the dry fly rig once they are consistently feeding.  Parachute PMDs, PMD Cripples, and Dime-Piece Spinners in #14-18 are all good to have in your box.  Hoppers should be right around the corner!


Goings on at World Headquarters in Missoula:

Our new online store is just around the corner!  Keep an eye out for information on the launch in the next week.

Call or email us for up to the minute updates at 406.542.7411 or if you are in the area stop in- WE HAVE MOVED TO OUR BRAND NEW LOCATION AT 275 N. RUSSELL STREET IN MISSOULA- for all your Orvis gear and the right bugs.

USGS Water Charts


Conditions are good on the Bitterroot right now. Be aware of water temperatures and use good fish handling practices.

The Hatch

PMDs #14-18 and Yellow Sallies #14-16

Fly Patterns

DRIES - Water Walkers, Chubbies, and Rogue Goldens in #08-12. Knobbler Sally, Para Sally, and Goldie Hawn in #14-16. Parachute PMD, PMD Cripples, and PMD Dime-Piece Spinners in #14-18. NYMPHS - Princes #10-#16, Rubber Legs or TJ Hookers #8-#12. Jig Perdigons, Spanish Bullets, Frenchies, Duracells , Jig Yellow Spot and Pheasant Tails #14-16. STREAMERS - Sparkle Minnow #6 (Sculpin color is a favorite), Zonkers #6 & #8 in Natural, Olive, or Yellow, Kreelex Fly #6 in Copper/Gold


Water Flow

393cfs (below average for this time of year)



Water temperature at mid-day

67-71 degrees

Water Condition


Best time of day to fish

Fish in the morning when water temperatures are at their coldest. Our guides typically stop fishing at 2:00pm with current conditions.

Best stretch

The entire river is fishable right now. Large tree down below Victor bridge in the left channel - stick to the right channel. The upper river has been fishing better due to colder water temperatures.

Best access point

Multiple fishing access points along the river.

Fish species

Rainbows, browns, cutthroats, cutbows, and whitefish.

Fishing season

All year

Nearest airport

Missoula international Airport (MSO)

Recommended fly fishing leader

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

Recommended fly fishing tippet

3x top bug and 4x for second or 4x to 5x for smaller rigs

Best fly fishing rod

9ft 5 or 6 weights for nymphing and dries - 7wt for streamers

Best floating fly line

WF 5wt or 6wt

Best sinking fly line