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Bitterroot River

Updated 06/26/2020 at 7:42pm

Conditions At-a-glance


Weather Forecast

Our Report

7 DAY OUTLOOK – The Root is looking great right now and should continue to get better throughout the week unless we see some serious rain.  At this point drastic snow melt is non issue.  Cooler wet weather predicted should equate to exceptional fishing and hopefully with dries.  Hatches of stone flies through out the river (salmon flies above Wally Crawford) as are green drakes and caddis.

OUR TIPS OF THE WEEK – On most rivers when we say they are running bank full that means your fishing should be concentrated on just that – the banks.  On the Bitterroot however, fish tend to really hang in soft water which often times extends up to yards off the bank or congregate in large backwaters.  Spend more time working that stuff and you’ll spend more time with the net.

BEST TECHNIQUES – The Root is an exceptional dry fly river and mid June is a great time to fish on the surface.  We suggest long droppers to start but once you see bugs on the water or fish looking up confirm the hatch and match it.

Be sure to call the shop in Missoula to get up to the minute recommendations: Blackfoot River Outfitters 406-542-7411.

Call us or stop by our fly shop at 3055 North Reserve Street in Missoula for specific locations or to pick up your bugs. Thanks and good fishing from the crew at:
Blackfoot River Outfitters — 406.542.7411.



Things are in good shape throughout the entire river! With steady and even slowly dropping levels conditions should continue to improve every day.

The Hatch

Salmonflies, little yellow sallies, caddis, green drakes, with pmd's and goldens starting up.

Fly Patterns

NYMPHS - Pat's Rubber Legs, brown, #6; Hare's Ear Nymph, #10-14; Pheasant Tail Nymph, #14-18; Pink or hot bead red San Juan Worm #8-10; Montana Prince tan #12-16, double bead stone peacock or natural #8 DRIES - High on the river or on the West Fork try Salmon fly variations (Rouge, carnage, cat puke...)#8-6 Then on down stream look for Goldens #10, Goldie Hawn sally #16, paradrake olive #12 STREAMERS - Sparkle Minnow #6 in Olive; Zonkers #6, 8 in Natural, Olive, or Yellow; Kreelex Fly #6 in Copper/Gold, Gold/Silver, or Purple/Silver.


Water Flow

7280 cfs

Link to Water Flow Graph


About 3'

Water temperature at mid-day

55 deg

Water Condition

Very slightly Stained

Best time of day to fish

Morning to late evening

Best stretch

The whole river is fishable.

Best access point

Multiple fishing access points along the river.

Fish species

Rainbows, browns, cutthroats, cutbows, and white fish.

Fishing season

All year, catch and release for trout in the winter.

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

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

Best floating fly line

4 wt. or 5 wt.

Best sinking fly line