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Bitterroot River

Updated 10/08/2019 at 4:22pm

Conditions At-a-glance


Weather Forecast

Our Report

It’s time for fall!

BEST TECHNIQUES – Target fish with your best Mahogany or BWO pattern in the afternoon. In the mornings, get your best nymph rig out and grab em sub surface.

OUR TIPS OF THE WEEK – Hope you’re in fall fishing mode, because it’s here! Crowds are down so grab your gear and get out to the river! No need to wake up super early.

BWOs and Mahoganies are on The Root. Watch for risers especially in the afternoon.

In the mornings, break out the nymph rig and tying on a girdle bug, san juan, or copper john should get you in fish.

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

7 DAY OUTLOOK – Snow is in the forecast this week but it’s short lived.  Should be back to typical fall temps and cloud cover by the weekend (which should translate to great fishing).

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 whole river!

The Hatch

Still some bigger stones left, hoppers, tricos, PMDs, Baetis, Caddis, Yellow Sallys, and some Bitterroot stones.

Fly Patterns

DRIES - Small chubbys #8-12, any colored hoppers #6-12, PMD #18-22, Goldens #6-10, Elk Hair Caddis #14-20 NYMPHS- Prince, PTs, double bead stones, copper johns - tungsten is a good call on all. STREAMERS - olive or natural zonker type pattern #6, sparkle minnow #6, olive or black bead head buggers #8


Water Flow

Darby- 438 cfs, near Missoula - 634 cfs

Link to Water Flow Graph


Average 6'

Water temperature at mid-day

Averaging 66, the lower is a bit warmer at 70. But that will change come the weekend!

Water Condition

In good shape!

Best time of day to fish

Mornings until the evening due to warmer water temps but that will change come the weekend.

Best stretch

The whole river is fishable and all creeks are open.

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