Summer Fly Fishing in Missoula
Late July is always an interesting fishing window around Missoula. Some years a long-lasting PMD and golden game carries us through, while other years our spruce moths and hoppers arrive early, providing big meals for dry-fly hungry trout.
This year seems to be serving up some mixture of the above — good dry fly fishing with a varied fare, but no magic recipe across the board. Some mornings (more fire haze, please) have big ‘bows looking for leggy offerings, while other days force the small dry fly hand (yes, I tied on 4.5x the other day)
If you ask five of our guides where they’re headed in the morning, you’ll likely get five distinct answers. Good guides tend to hoard secrets this time of year. Can you figure out a solid bite on an underfished stretch or sneaky technique and keep it to yourself? If you have an old box of your uncle’s flies from back in the day when everything wasn’t tied with flashabou and white fuzz, this is the right time to dust it off.
Our Missoula fish WANT to rise to dries — just gotta find the right piscine pick-up line.
In other good news, there’s not a lot of pressure around so it’s easy to spread out and find fresh water. Slightly cooler air temps have most rivers in the safe range, but it’s still wise to get on early and off the water by 3ish. We have more water than this time last year, but it’s wise to play it safe while we wait out the tricos, and the bulk of the hoppers.