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Bitterroot River

Updated 08/23/2019 at 11:37pm

Conditions At-a-glance


Weather Forecast

Our Report

Hot weather push into midweek then we will see a big cool down towards the weekend!

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 3X to your bigger dries.
Fishing higher in the river system and feeder creeks, no need to fish too deep.
On smaller creeks, a classic Purple Haze in a size 12-16 should do the trick.

OUR TIPS OF THE WEEK – Things are slowly warming back up and with that water temps are as well.
Get it while you can! Who knows what Mother Nature has in store for us next!
That said, we are still encouraging folks to get out early just to keep that habit rolling.
Hopper fishing has been pretty darn good on the entire river.
They are looking up for small mayflies (tricos these days) so be on the lookout for noses.

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

7 DAY OUTLOOK – Wednesday is looking hot, high of 90. There is a cold front moving in that evening, look for winds associated with the big change.
Thursday on looks cooler, with highs in the low 80’s.

Strong winds in the evenings this weekend.

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! But please be good to the fish these day!

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- 458 cfs, near Missoula - 764 cfs

Link to Water Flow Graph


Average 6'

Water temperature at mid-day

Averaging 66 but the lower river is back up to 72.

Water Condition

In good shape, the upper sections are running cooler than the lower river.

Best time of day to fish

Early morning until things heat up just after noon

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