Blue Stream Fly Fishing
Fly Fishing Report for:

Clark Fork - Above Missoula - Montana

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

Water Flow Chart

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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

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Directions To Location

Hatch Chart

Month Hatch Time of Day Recommended Fly Sizes Popular Fly Patterns
January Midge Afternoon 20-22 Zebra Midges, Griffith's Gnat
February Midge Afternoon 20-22 Zebra Midges, Griffith's Gnat
Blue Winged Olives Afternoon 18-20 Pheasant Tail, BWO Parachute
March Midge Afternoon 20-22 Zebra Midges, Griffith's Gnat
Blue Winged Olives, Skwala Stonefly Later Afternoon 10-12 / 18-20 BWO Emerger, Fat Albert
April Midge Afternoon 20-22 Zebra Midges, Griffith's Gnat
Blue Winged Olives, March Brown Afternoon 12-14 / 18-20 March Brown Parachute, Hare's Ear
May Salmonfly, Golden Stone All Day 4-6 / 8-10 Pat's Rubber Legs, Stimulator
Caddis, Green Drakes Afternoon - Evening 14-16 / 10-12 Elk Hair Caddis, Green Drake Dun
June Golden Stone, Pale Morning Dun All Day 8-10 / 16-18 Pat's Rubber Legs, PMD Sparkle Dun
Yellow Sally, Caddis Afternoon - Evening 14-16 Hot Butt Sally, Outrigger Caddis
July Tan Caddis, PMD, Green Drake Afternoon - Evening 14-16 / 16-18 / 10-12 Elk Hair Caddis, PMD Sparkle Dun, Green Drake Dun
Yellow Sally, Terrestrials (Hoppers, Ants, Beetles) All Day 14-16 / 10-12 Hot Butt Sally, Dave's Hopper
August Tan Caddis, Tricos, Terrestrials (Hoppers, Ants, Beetles) Afternoon - Evening 14-16 / 20-22 / 10-12 Elk Hair Caddis, Trico Spinner, Dave's Hopper
Yellow Sally Afternoon 14-16 Hot Butt Sally
September Mahogany Dun, Hecuba (or Western Drake) Afternoon - Evening 14-16 / 10-12 Mahogany Sparkle Dun, Hecuba Sparkle Dun
Terrestrials (Hoppers, Ants, Beetles) All Day 10-12 Dave's Hopper, Fur Ant
October Blue Winged Olives, Mahogany Dun Afternoon 18-20 / 14-16 Pheasant Tail, Mahogany Sparkle Dun
November Blue Winged Olives, Midges Afternoon 18-20 / 20-22 Pheasant Tail, Zebra Midge
December Midge Afternoon 20-22 Zebra Midges, Griffith's Gnat

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 Clark Fork River above Missoula offers a variety of excellent spots for fly fishing. Some of the best include:

  • Lower Clark Fork Valley: This area provides anglers extensive access with numerous pullouts and road crossings. It’s known for large trout, especially in the early season.
  • Paradise to Plains Section: This stretch is great for wade fishing and hatches. It’s often overlooked, providing a serene fishing experience away from the crowds.
  • St. Regis River Confluence: Here, the St. Regis River merges with the Clark Fork, creating great holes and runs that attract abundant and diverse fish species.
  • Thompson Falls: This part of the river has several dams, offering deep pools and slower water – ideal for fly fishing. The reservoirs also give anglers the chance to catch large trout.

These spots provide fantastic fly fishing opportunities offering diverse landscapes, water conditions, and fish.

Best Access Points

The Clark Fork river, above Missoula, offers several excellent access points for fly-fishing enthusiasts. Here are some of the best ones:

  • Johnsrud Park: Located 12 miles east of Missoula. This spot boasts of a deep, slow moving water pool.
  • Sha-Ron Fishing Access Site: Located approximately 8 miles east of Missoula. The site is renowned for its shallow, swift waters bursting with trout.
  • Bonner Town Bridge: At the east end of Bonner, this spacious area provides an excellent ground for fly-casting.
  • Turah Bridge: Just off I-90, Turah Bridge offers access to several prime fishing spots on the Clark Fork.
  • Ninemile Prairie: Further upstream is Ninemile Prairie, known for its diverse range of habitats and abundant fish species.

Each site offers unique fishing experiences. Remember to check local regulations before setting foot on the river.

Local Fish

  • Westslope Cutthroat Trout: It’s Montana’s state fish, which are a native species targeted by many anglers for their beauty and impressive fight.
  • Rainbow Trout: Known for their aggressive strikes, they are numerous in the Clark Fork river and fun to fish for.
  • Brown Trout: They can grow quite large and are pursued by some for their challenging nature to catch.
  • Mountain Whitefish: They are not a targeted species for many, but they are abundant and can provide a fun day on the water.
  • Bull Trout: One of the more elusive species, they are challenging to hook and require special regulations to target.
  • Brook Trout: A non-native species that can be found in some of the tributaries of the Clark Fork river.
  • Northern Pike: Known for their predatory behavior, they provide a different type of fly fishing experience.
  • Cutbow Trout: A hybrid of rainbow and cutthroat trout, they can be a surprising catch on the Clark Fork river.

About The River

Meet the Clark Fork River-Above Missoula, a vibrant and historic waterway in Western Montana. This captivating river has a rich tapestry of history dating back to the ice age, when the Missoula floods, one of the largest known floods in earth’s history, carved out the river’s current course.

Over the years, the river has seen many changes. In the mid-19th century, it became a crucial transportation route during the gold rush era. Later in the 20th century, the river was instrumental for hydroelectric power generation and for logging operations. Noteworthy among these are the following:

  • The Milltown Dam, built in 1908, that harnessed the Clark Fork River’s power to generate electricity, contributing to the river’s industrial heritage.
  • Also, the removal of Milltown Dam in 2008 uncovered a massive deposit of heavy metals, leading to one of the largest Superfund cleanup projects in US history.

Today, Clark Fork-Above Missoula continues to be a treasured resource providing recreational activities like fishing, rafting, and wildlife viewing. Truly, it’s a river that’s seen and survived it all, holding firm in its water the echoes of a tumultuous and transformative history.

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