The Clark Fork River is fishing well, upstream of Missoula, with trout being caught on a mix of streamers, nocturnal stoneflies, and hoppers. The light conditions between cloudy or sunny haven’t seemed to matter when it comes to the hopper bite. The river close to town down to the top of Alberton Gorge has been tough lately, with most of the better fish being caught during brief pushes of mayflies mid morning and early afternoon. Below the Gorge on the lower river fishing is steady with nocturnal stones and hoppers.
Bitterroot River anglers are beginning to see heavier pushes of Tricos in the morning, with some better age class fish laying up in tail out flats to feed on the spinner fall. If you enjoy the small dry fly game with light tippets, the middle and lower Bitterroot are going to keep getting better for headhunting. The hopper bite lately is very spot specific, and I have found color to be less important lately than showing the fish a great presentation ahead of the boat. If they don’t know you are there, purple, pink, tan, yellow, and peach have all worked lately.
Blackfoot River trout are cooperative right now. This is a time of year that an angler can fish a dry fly all day on water and not need to change their set up. There was a better age class of fish hitting the hopper the other day with a subtle twitch to the fly, complete dead drifts caught smaller representatives of the species.
This is a great time of year to check out our area small stream fishing as well. Getting up closer to headwaters puts anglers in the middle of stunning scenery, and fishing in colder water to extend trout activity later into the day.