The Bitterroot River is a dry fly paradise! We fish 95% dry flies on this river. The Bitterroot is famous for its great hatches. The hatches start in mid-March with the newfound favorite, the “Skwala Stonefly.” This hatch used to be “guide warm up season”, but has received a lot of attention from hearty anglers around the world over the last decade.
The river has the reputation as being tricky to fish. The secret is in reading the water and knowing where the fish are at different water levels. This is one of the great testing grounds for the many attractor flies invented by our guides. The Bitterroot fishes well into October.
The Blackfoot River of “A River Runs Through It” fame is another fly fishing paradise. A diverse and unique river, it features red rock cliff walls, crystal clear water, fun rapids, and eager trout. This river is one of the last strongholds of the endangered species, the Bull trout. Although we do not fish for them, it is a testament to the health of the ecosystem.
The Clark Fork River is home to one of the largest environmental restoration projects in the U.S. And what a success story! Despite the Clark Fork’s shaky past, it is often referred to as “the most underrated trout fishery in the country.” The average size and strength of the rainbows and “cutt-bows” in the Clark Fork is impressive. These 17-18 inchers are often found in “pods” sipping small mayflies and will test the skills of any angler. Fortunately, they often cannot resist a big meal presented in the right way!
We fish nearly 200 miles of the Clark Fork. All the other rivers of Western Montana eventually flow into the Clark Fork, creating the large and fertile “Lower Clark Fork.” The very lower stretches are where we decided to build our new Clark Fork River Lodge.
THE MISSOURI RIVER
The “Mighty Mo” drains nearly half of the entire land mass of Montana. The trail of Lewis and Clark, the Missouri starts at Three Forks MT at the confluence of the Gallatin, Madison, and Jefferson. But when anglers talk about fly fishing the “Mo” they are generally referring to the amazing trout water below Holter Dam. The stretch from the Dam to Great Falls is one of the greatest tailwaters in the country. Boasting high populations of large rainbows and huge brown trout, we love this river and know when and where to be for great dry fly fishing.
Rock Creek has often been referred to as “the perfect trout stream.“ The upper stretches feature spectacular limestone cliffs, Bighorn sheep, intimate braided channels that flow through meadow land, and eager trout. The middle and lower stretches flow through the Lolo National Forest at a fairly steep gradient and is well know in fly fishing circles as home to one of the most prolific “salmon fly” stonefly hatches in the world.
A float trip during the May / June stonefly season is a recipe for a lot of action, and should be on the list of “things to do before I die.” Friend, partner, mentor and former boss, John Perry has the largest allocation of outfitting permits for Rock Creek and we have more experience than anyone. As the high water of spring recedes, Rock creek transforms into an enchanting, yet challenging wading stream.
There are many "Notellum" creeks around the state. We usually save these little known gems for ourselves, but if you are looking for an "off the beaten path" back roads kind of angling vacation we might let you in on a few of our secrets. Call on a secure phone line for details.