Clark Fork River

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Clark Fork River

Updated 09/30/2022 at 11:49pm

Conditions At-a-glance

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Weather Forecast

Our Report

BRO’s Tips of the Week:

Dries and streamers will be your best options for targeting big fish on the Clark Fork as we enter the heart of fall fishing. With picky fish hunting in clear water, sizing down your tippet and committing to either single dry, an aggressive double nymph rig, or a fall streamer will be preferable to dry-dropper. An occasional twitch on the dry fly will often entice those bigger fish to strike.

 

7 Day Outlook:

Rain heading into the weekend will give rivers a nice bump before clear, cool weather returns next week. With highs in the 70s, we should see some great dry fly fishing by the afternoons, and there’s no rush to start your day early in the morning when the water is still cold.

 

Our Recommendations for the Best Techniques and Patterns:

PMDs, Tricos, and Mahogany mayfly patterns are still working on the Clark Fork, with spinner and cripple patterns seeing some great action. Booty’s DL Cripple, the Zelon Cripple, a Brindle Chute, Sparkle Dun, and Hecuba will all get it done. For tricos, size down your tippet and throw the Polywing, Indicator Spinner, and CDC Spinner trico in #20-22. 

Nymphing can produce when fish are holding deeper on warm, bright days. The Frenchie, Mic Drop Olive, Girdle/Zirdle Bugs, TJ Hookers, Double Bead Stones, and San Juans in #6-8 all make good offerings on the Clark Fork, and Lightning Bugs, Jig PT, 2-Bit Hooker, Prince Nymph, Duracell, Spanish Bullet or Perdigon nymphs in #12-14 should be productive as well. 

Fall is one of the best streamer times of the year. Throw Gongas, Sparkle Minnows, Kreelexes, Mini Dungeons, and Thin Mints/Buggers in deeper, cold currents to get them down to fish. 

See our staff pick fly selection here!

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USGS Water Charts

Conditions

Conditions are good on the Clark Fork.

The Hatch

Tricos, Mahoganies, BWOs, October Caddis, Hecubas.

Fly Patterns

DRIES - Indicator Spinner Trico, Polywing Spinner Trico, and CDC Spinner Trico #18-22. Parachute Mahogany, Purple Haze, Brindlechute, Flash Cripple, D&D Cripple #14-16. Parachute BWO, On Point BWO, D&D Cripple #18-20. October Caddis #08-10. NYMPHS - 20 Incher, TJ Hooker, Girdle Bug, San Juan #06-#10. Perdigon, Spanish Bullet, Frenchie, Brillon’s Mean Machine, Duracell, Prince Nymph, Jig PT #14-18. STREAMERS - Sparkle Minnow #06-08, Zonkers #06 & #08 in Natural, Olive, or Yellow. Buggers #06-12, Mini-Dungeon or Mini-Peanut Envy in Black, Olive and White.

Specifics

Water Flow

2220cfs (average for this time of year)

Visibility

36"

Water temperature at mid-day

57 degrees

Water Condition

Clarity is good.

Best time of day to fish

Morning into the afternoon.

Best stretch

The Lower Clark has been shaping up nicely. Low water in the upper sections.

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

3ips