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Bitterroot River

Updated 06/25/2019 at 1:54am

Conditions At-a-glance


Weather Forecast

Our Report

The river is on a steady drop with this cooler weather and the fishing has been good!

BEST TECHNIQUES – Run a dry stone to a stone or mayfly dropper, not too deep, and that’ll do the trick through the whole system.  I’d set your dropper to 3-4′ and fish a heavier pound test to your dry, say 2 or 3X.
Fishing higher in the river system and feeder creeks, no need to fish too deep.
Fish are looking up for dries. Running a dry dropper is an effective way to fish the root right now, especially up higher in the system!
There are plenty of caddis and mayflies out and about and there should be some fun.
On smaller creeks, a classic Purple Haze in a size 12-16 should do the trick.

OUR TIPS OF THE WEEK – The root is on a steady drop with this cooler weather this week. Reports from the whole river and there is fish to be found throughout the whole system, reports have been good!
Still please be careful out there, there is a lot of new stuff in the river.
The water will be swift, whether in a boat or on foot.

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

7 DAY OUTLOOK – Highs will be in the mid 70’s with a chance of showers/thunderstorms daily. This cooler weather should really help keep the fishing good well into next weekend!
Nighttime lows are looking great at around 40-50 degrees.

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

Salmon flies, goldens, Drakes (green, brown and grey), PMDs, Caddis, Yellow Sallys, BWO's, and some Bitterroot stones.

Fly Patterns

DRIES - BWO's #14-18, Salmon flies #4-8, Elk Hair Caddis #14-20 NYMPHS- Prince, PTs, double bead stones, copper johns - tungsten is a good call on all. Worms pink and red best. STREAMERS - olive or natural zonker type pattern #6, sparkle minnow #6, olive or black bead head buggers #8


Water Flow

Darby- 1270 cfs, near Missoula - 3200 cfs

Link to Water Flow Graph


Average 5'

Water temperature at mid-day

mid 50's

Water Condition

In good shape and fishing well!

Best time of day to fish

All day!

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