The switch hasn’t flipped “off” on the fishing season just yet–in fact, we’ve been on a slow dial down for the past few weeks with angling options remaining solid to strong throughout the Missoula river system. Hatches of blue wings and midges have been prolific on the nasty days in short intense windows. We have had several guide boats on the water throughout the past weeks, and both oarsmen and anglers have reported exceptional fishing, albeit largely in the afternoons. It’s also been an absolutely stellar fall for foliage–the cottonwoods and larches have been electric!
Clark Fork River Fishing Report
This is one of our favorite times of year to fish the Clark Fork in or nearby Missoula. Most anglers have traded in their rod for rifle or shotgun, and the fish have slid into the shallows where they can sip bugs for an hour or two each day while expending the least amount of energy. On sunny days, look in the shallowest riffles for big fish seeking solar juice. Trail an 18 pheasant tail behind a small brown or olive crystal bugger and tight-line it through the skinny seams. Hang on. The tug from chromed up Clark Fork rainbow is as close as you can get to steelheading on this side of the hill. When the fish start rising, all you need is long leader to 5x and an Adams Parachute. Size 16. Old school. Feed em till they eat.
Bitterroot River Fishing Report
Although the fish have gotten more fussy up here, the nasty days have brought dense hatches of small dark bugs. While the trout are in the slowest, most technical water, the low angle of light allows for close approach and multiple presentations. October caddis are still producing, and deep droppers including big stuff like the worm and tiny stuff like WD-40s have been successful searching rigs. It’s a great time to go “hero or zero” on the streamer front–chuck a “tube sock” all day and see what new resident might be traveling through your favorite run. Lots of huge fish passing through the system this time of year.
Blackfoot River Fishing Report:
Maybe deep droppers on the sunny days? Maybe slow strip sink tip and a big white bunny? Our instinct says the window has closed here, but the shuttle guys tell me they haven’t run one in two weeks up here. So there.
Rock Creek Fishing Report:
Again, this is the time of year when the run you normally catch 14-inchers in produces a two-foot beast. I like to nymph my way up through a hole and streamer fish my way back down. Keep a few whitefish for the smoker and pay attention to whether or not they’re spewing eggs yet or not. If they are, don’t forget to try a hot-bead nymph or egg pattern. Huge prespawn brown trout are calorie counters, and the eggs are full of good protein. Bacon (San Whammy) and eggs anyone?
Upper Clark Fork
Lower Clark Fork