Clark Fork River

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Clark Fork River

Updated 07/22/2021 at 5:50pm

Conditions At-a-glance


Weather Forecast

Our Report

BRO’s Tips of the Week:

***A hoot owl on Upper Clark Fork – From the confluence of Rock Creek near Clinton upstream to the confluence with Warm Springs Creek***

Rope up!  As water temperatures rise be sure to size up your tippet to help quickly and safely land fish.  2X to 3X for larger dries, 4X for smaller dries, and 3X or 4X to the dropper.  This is a great time to target bass and pike on the Clark Fork.  Don’t forget to bring your stream thermometer!

7 Day Outlook:

Finally a bit of rain!  We got a (very brief) thunderstorm yesterday in Missoula and we expect a small dip in temperature as we head into the weekend.  Mid to high-80’s for the rest of the week and then back to highs in the low-90’s through the weekend and early next week.  Be aware of fire conditions and restrictions- Missoula County has enacted Stage 2 fire restrictions.  Be aware of water temperatures.  Get on and off the water early.

Our Recommendations for the Best Techniques and Patterns:

Same old same.  Chubby in size #08-12 with a yellow sally or PMD nymph dropper.  Water Walks (especially with the yellow foam) have been good too and can float a substantial nymph.  Sally Quill Spanish bullets, Jig MT Sallies, Jig Napoleons (Yellow), Frenchies, and Tung Jig PMDs in #14-16 have all been productive.  Keep the dry fly rod ready with PMDs and Yellow Sallies.  Parachute PMDs, PMD Cripples and Dime-Piece Spinners in #14-16.  Goldie Hawns, Knobbler Sallies, and Para Sallies in #14-16.

Goings on at World Headquarters in Missoula:

Our new online store is just around the corner!  Keep an eye out for information on the launch in the next week.

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

USGS Water Charts


Conditions are good on the Clark Fork.

The Hatch

PMDs and Yellow Sallies have been most prevalent.

Fly Patterns

DRIES - Chubbies in #08-12. Parachute Sally, Knobbler Sallies, and Goldie Hawns in #14-16. Parachute PMD, PMD Cripples, and Dime Piece Spinners in #14-16. NYMPHS - Sally Quill Spanish Bullets, Jig Montana Sallies, BH Sallies in #14-16. Jig Napoleon (yellow), Frenchies, Yellow Spots, and Tung Jig PMDs in #14-18. STREAMERS - Sparkle Minnow #6, Zonkers #6 & #8 in Natural, Olive, or Yellow, Kreelex Fly #6 in Copper/Gold.


Water Flow

3320cfs (way below average for this time of year)



Water temperature at mid-day

69 degrees

Water Condition


Best time of day to fish

Fish in the morning when water temperatures are coldest.

Best stretch

The upper river is under hoot owl regulations. A lot of algae above Rock Creek. The lower sections will fish better. Tree down between Clinton-Turah that requires walking your boat down a skinny channel to the right.

Best access point

Multiple access points all along the river

Fish species

Rainbows, westslope cutthroats, cut-bows, browns, pike and whitefish.

Fishing season

Fishing season is open year round.

Nearest airport

Missoula International Airport

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

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

Best floating fly line

WF 5wt or 6wt

Best sinking fly line