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Bitterroot River

Updated 06/18/2018 at 8:35pm

Conditions At-a-glance


Weather Forecast

74° / 53°
72° / 51°
80° / 59°
69° / 50°
77° / 54°
89° / 51°

Our Report

There is a tree just downstream from the Wally put in, STAY CENTER CHANNEL. This could be a real issue in lower water.

Call us for specific details and if we can’t help, we will get you to the folks that know!

BEST TECHNIQUES – Until the water starts to drop or level off, nymphing is the ticket given the current conditions.
A turd and a worm or double worm and running about 3-5′ deep would be a great setup for running insides and softer water. You could also try dead drifting a streamer with a worm trailer… go all in!
With the big cycle (almost 1,000cfs daily), fish most likely pushed back into side channels so don’t be afraid to get out and wade fish if you aren’t sure if the passage is runnable.

Once the water comes back into shape (by the end of the week), a dry/dropper should be working great!  Try a stone dry (size 6 or 8) with either a mayfly or stone dropper!

OUR TIPS OF THE WEEK – Keep your rigs shorter… we are seeing too many anglers set up nymph rigs dragging 8’+ deep below the indicator. 4-5 feet deep is plenty in most circumstances, especially while running riffles and woody eddies.

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

7 DAY OUTLOOK – We can’t seem to get away from wet, spring weather… summer is coming soon, we hope!
Good news, we should start to dry outcome mid-week and the seven-day outlook is GOOD.
With stable weather, the flows will follow suit and fishing should be great come the weekend. High still but on the hard drop and coming into summer flows.
And we caution folks… in this high cycling water, trees and debris can be deadly so be sure to be mindful and alert while floating this time of year. There are reports of debris on the West Fork and just below Anglers.

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.



We can't seem to get away from wet, spring weather... summer is coming soon, we hope! Good news, we should start to dry outcome mid-week and the seven-day outlook is GOOD.

The Hatch

Goldens, Salmon Flies, Drakes, Yellow Sallies, Caddis

Fly Patterns

DRIES - Salmon and Goldens #4-8, Adams #8-14, Chubbies #6-10 NYMPHS- Prince, San Juan worm, 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- 3340 cfs and level... Flows near Missoula - 9060 cfs

Link to Water Flow Graph


About 1.5 feet

Water temperature at mid-day

Upper 40's

Water Condition

High and still cycling big but should start to drop again later this week

Best time of day to fish

mid day to late afternoon

Best stretch

The middle and lower sections are clear from debris. Reports say there is a tree down in the West Fork and just below Wallys. Also, some gnarly wood/log jams found just below Anglers. Give us a call if you plan on running either stretches for up to date information.

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.

Best fly fishing rod

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

Best sinking fly line