On the heels of Missoula’s gluttonous June fishing, July is a spectacle in and of itself: clear water, rising trout, and plenty of dry fly opportunities. Our river system is fishing well from top to bottom, and while flows are dropping steeply, we are in a far better place than we were last year at this time. Water temps are reasonable, and cooling air temps dominate the 10-day forecast.
No spruce moths quite yet, but lingering salmonflies up high and pmds have fish looking up in the riffles. It’s a good time of year to break out the “not-shop-flies” box. Picking something they haven’t seen will go a long way towards bringing the largest fish from the depths up here.
The lower end has offered strong PMD hatches in the morning and a bit of terrestrial fishing in the afternoons. The upper end is still giving up some stonefly (yellow sallies and goldens) fishing; look for the green drake spinner to bring up some of the biggest fish the river above Hamilton has to offer, and for long tippets to lead the way to large fish downstream.
Clark Fork River:
This river continues to fish well through town, and the traffic has spread out. Rule of thumb here: on sunny days fish the bigger attractors with a deep dropper; in the clouds find your favorite mayfly stretch and look for the pods stacked up in the long glides.
We’re off to the races this July with a bang, and we hope you celebrated the 4th with a bent rod!