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Bitterroot River

Updated 09/14/2020 at 7:56pm

Conditions At-a-glance


Weather Forecast

Our Report

7 DAY OUTLOOK – Looks like stable weather- which the fish like. With some smoke cover- with the fish also like.

OUR TIP OF THE WEEK – On the Bitterroot 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 – Be thinking terrestrials- hoppers, ants, beetles. The jigs are the ticket underneath.

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



Looks like the weather will be in the eighties this week but fishing early will keep those temps cooler for the fish and lead to a better recovery.

The Hatch

Lots of hoppers and other terrestrials are the focus right now

Fly Patterns

NYMPHS - Jig perdigons in #14-16, Frenchies #12-16, duracells #14-16, jig yellow spot p-tail #14-16 have been great droppers DRIES - Foam hoppers in #10-12 have been a great option for the top bug Water Walkers #10-12, 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

around 686 cfs at darby

Link to Water Flow Graph


nice and clear

Water temperature at mid-day

66 deg

Water Condition


Best time of day to fish

Early in the day in the cooler water

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