Blue Stream Fly Fishing
Fly Fishing Report for:

Bitterroot River - Darby - Montana

Hatch Chart - Best Access/Spots - Local Fish - About

Water Flow Chart

Using Water Flow Charts & Weather Reports: Begin with our water flow charts to grasp stream velocity and volume – look for stable or rising trends to pinpoint ideal fishing times. Learn to interpret sudden spikes or drops, which can indicate potential challenges. Next, consult our weather reports to understand ambient conditions. Pairing the two, you can anticipate fish behavior, choose the right gear, and select the best fishing spots. Use these tools together for a holistic approach to your next fishing adventure.

In-Depth Weather

Directions To Location

Hatch Chart

Month Hatch Time of Day Recommended Fly Sizes Popular Fly Patterns
January Winter Stoneflies Afternoon #16-20 Black and Little Winter Stonefly
February Midge Flies Late Morning to Afternoon #18-22 Griffith's Gnat and Fuzzball
March Blue Winged Olives Midday #16-20 Pheasant Tail and BWO Emergers
April March Browns and Skwala Stoneflies Midday to Afternoon #12-16 March Brown Sparkle Dun and Yellow Sally
May Salmonflies and Golden Stoneflies Afternoon #6-10 Pteronarcys and Chubby Chernobyl
June Green Drakes and Pale Morning Duns Midday #10-14 Green Drake Comparadun and Light Cahill
July Caddis Flies and Yellow Sallies Morning and Evening #12-16 Elk Hair Caddis and Copper John
August Hoppers and Ants All Day #10-14 Parachute Hopper and Fur Ant
September Tricos and Mahogany Duns Morning and Evening #18-22 Trico Spinner and Flashback Pheasant Tail
October Blue Winged Olives Morning to Midday #18-22 RS2 and Extended Body BWO
November Midge Flies Morning to Midday #18-22 Zebra Midge and Tiny Black Stonefly
December Winter Stoneflies Afternoon #16-20 Black and Little Winter Stonefly

While we strive to ensure the precision of our hatch charts, some reflect broader river region insights. Through ongoing partnerships with local guides and fly shops, we’re committed to refining our data. Should you notice any inconsistencies or have feedback, we welcome you to reach out. 

Best Fishing Spots

The Bitterroot River in Darby, Montana is a treasure trove for avid fly-fishers looking to catch rainbow, brown, and cutthroat trout. Here are some of the best spots to fly fish on this exceptional waterway:

  • Cottonwood Grove: This spot is accessible from the Eastside Highway; it offers a diverse environment that supports large populations of fish.
  • Damselfly Ponds: Located near Three Mile Creek, these ponds are teeming with trout and other species, making for interesting and rewarding fishing.
  • Angler’s Roost: This campground is not just accommodation; it is also a wonderful fishing spot. It provides easy access to the Bitterroot river and is full of fishing opportunities.
  • West Fork Bitterroot River: Found in the Bitterroot Wilderness area, this fork of the main river usually holds larger trout due to less fishing pressure and plenty of food.

Each spot presents its unique challenges and rewards, ensuring a worthwhile fly fishing experience in the rich habitats of Bitterroot River – Darby.

Best Access Points

The Bitterroot River in Darby provides some of the best fly fishing destinations in Montana for avid fishermen. Key access points include:
  • Sula State Park: Located a little south of Darby, this is a great starting point to fish in the entire Bitterroot system. This location has good parking and facilities for fishermen.
  • Hannon Memorial Fishing Area: This is another good place to fish not too far downstream from Sula. It’s well-known for its healthy trout population.
  • Woodside Crossing: Near the town of Corvallis, this crossing area provides excellent fishing conditions with a variety of fish species.
  • Tucker Crossing: This is a popular spot especially in the summer. Located in Victor, it promises a good catch especially during early morning or late evenings.
  • Bell Crossing: Close to Victor, Bell Crossing is another excellent fishing spot. However, this location can be heavily fished, so it’s best to get there early.

Local Fish

  • Westslope Cutthroat Trout: This fish species is native to the Bitterroot River and it’s the most targeted by anglers due to its abundance and easy fishing tactics.
  • Rainbow Trout: Rainbow Trout are widely distributed in the Bitterroot River and are also a favorite to catch when fly fishing due to their colorful look and culinary value.
  • Brown Trout: This species can grow to large sizes and offer a more challenging pursuit for skilled anglers. It is less common than the other trouts in the Bitterroot River.
  • Bull Trout: Bull Trout are a protected species in many parts of the Bitterroot fishery – these large predator fish provide a unique fishing experience.
  • Mountain Whitefish: While not as glamorous as trout, Mountain Whitefish can provide consistent action on the Bitterroot and are a great target for novice anglers.
  • Brook Trout: Once widely populated in the Bitterroot River, Brook Trout are now less common but still hold a spot on the angler’s list due to their beautiful markings and aggressive feeding behaviors.
  • Northern Pike: Known for their size and strength, Northern Pike offer a thrilling fly fishing experience for anglers in the Bitterroot River.
  • Yellow Perch: Yellow Perch are often overlooked by fly anglers, however, they’re abundant in the Bitterroot River and can be a fun challenge on light tackle.

About The River

Take a float down the beautiful Bitterroot River, flowing alongside the quaint town of Darby, and you’ll find yourself soaking in Montana’s best. The Bitterroot River, once known as the St. Mary’s River till the early 19th Century, takes its current name after the Bitterroot flower, Montana’s state flower, due to its widespread bloom alongside the river.

Rich in history, this river has been a lifeline for several indigenous tribes.

  • The Salish tribe, named it the ‘Nelicetko’ meaning ‘river of the willows’.
  • Lewis and Clark, the American expedition leaders, described it as a river with ‘transparent’ waters, teeming with fish.
It marked their longest campsite during their historical journey west.

Darby, a community, embraced on either side by the Bitterroot and Sapphire Mountain Ranges, is where residents and visitors alike relish the river’s breathtaking views, abundant wildlife, and recreational opportunities. It’s a must-visit place for every nature and history enthusiast.


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