montana rivers

I am planning on going to nw & sw montana the first part of july!for 2 weeks.Does anybody out there have any info on patterns & campgrounds they would like to share? recommended rivers? thanks for any info!! :WINK
My favorite river is the BitterRoot in the Hamilton area. I just got back from there last week. My fishing buddy and I did a float from Darby Bridge to Wally Crawford. We hit it between the up and downs of both flows and clarity so while it wasn't the best, it was pretty good and a whole lot better than it is now. I would check out two sites for info. Kingfisher and Kesel's Four Rivers are two fly shops in Missoula that keep their sites updated regularly.

Bill Bean in Hamilton has a shop called Fishhaus. He is very helpfully in telling you what is the hot spot for fishing on your feet and what is the hot fly. He can also hook you up with a really good guide (Bob DeYoung).

Rock Creek is another option though you can't float the creek at the time you'll be there.

All these shops can give you info on the snow melt / runoff and flows / clarity.

Good luck! You won't be disappointed if you fish the BitterRoot. :THUMBSUP

I just returned from Rock Creek. You can't go wrong there anytime of the year. July will be too late to drift, but wading at that time of the year would be great anyway. Flows get down to around 400 cfs and makes it the perfect level. I can't imagine any fly pattern that wouldn't work on Rock Creek. In July I'd carry Stones, Caddis and hoppers.

When you get to Missoula hit a local flyshop and pick up some big ugly streamers. Throw them in the bigger pools and see what lurks below...

The road up Rock Creek can be tricky. If your in you're Honda (like I am), you can access the creek from Philipsburg much more easily. There's plenty of camping all along the river.
I would go buy a copy of Greg Thomas's Montana flyfishing book (similar to the Washington version you might have seen) there is tons of good info and maps, hatch charts etc.

Make sure you have pleanty of pheasant tails, hairs ears, and bitch creeks, caddis big and small/ light and dark. Go to Creekside Angling Co in Issa and stock up on some "Larry's Lightning bugs", they would rock in montana rivers, use them as a dropper! I lived in Montana for 10 years and would be happy to give you any info...drop me an email.

If you head to the east side of the state, hit the Bighorn, your arms will tire from hauling in hogs! :THUMBSUP I fished it for 3 days in August last year and no fish under 18"!

As far as the west side, I would venture to the Beaverhead and Poindexter slough for bigger fish, bring the hoppers, etc for hot weather no hatch fishing but check with a local shop for specific patterns for drys etc. Rock creek is a good call, but very busy with lots of vehicles. (If you want to see chaos, go there in june with the salmon fly hatch and try to navigate a narrow dirt road along the creek with large motorhomes driving up and down!)
:WINK I don't know if you are aware of it or not, but FAOL is a great fly fishing site. If you go to and scroll to the bottom of the page. Then click on Great Rivers. I think you will be very pleasantly surprised. I've been going there for about 2 years now, and I drop in on them about 2-3 times a day. Check out their bulletin board as well. Good luck on your Montana trip, I'm jealous.
Good Fishing,
Lotech Joe
Hi, I lived in NW Montana for last eight years. If you are in the northwest try the Kootnai or head up one hour north of the border to the Elk in B.C. Both can offer a great experience and are often less crowded than Rock Creek or the Bitteroot. Western Montana also offers great lake fishing, with quite a few lakes which offer a comparable experience to Washington's best quality waters although by July rivers are often a better option. Good Luck!
yes I was also planning on stopping by that river also! are there any good spots on that one? how about the camping? can I just pull over just about anywhere? also what patterns to use? any info would be great!! thanks,johnny! :THUMBSUP
The Kootenai and the surrounding area has lots of places to camp. The road up the east side of the river from town is called the Hall road, lots of places there and not much traffic. Stop Dave Blackburns's Fly shop right by the bridge in town(LIbby) for some flies, chat, and flow info. Bring some EHC, adams, and some small bead heads if it is too hot and sunny for good hatches. Up by the dam 17 miles north of town live some huge bull trout, and although you cannot legally fish for them, any you catch while fishing for rainbows with large white streamers will need to be released right away. Up north in BC is cutt water, forget the nymphs just bring dries. If you need more info feel free to email me.
Keith Meyers
Im a washington native but now live in Missoula, Im just finishing my first year of school and all I can say is I really dont want to leave. In just this past weeek I have fished the Beaverhead, Poindexters Slough, The upper Clark Fork and Browns lake. Ive seed some huge fish caught and last night at about 10 I landed a 22 inch brown on the upper clark fork. I would reccomend going to four rivers, those guys are awesome and I promise they wont send you the wrong way. They also have a newsletter that they send out every week so you might want to check out their web site.

As for rivers go, at that time they should all be swinging, the Clark Fork, I think has the biggest fish average, about 16 to 18 inches when you really get in to them, the Bitterroot has some hogs but the average is a little less, it does have browns though. Same with Rock Creek, the fish are dumb and have had days catching browns, rainbows, cutts and bulls. I would check it out, but probably for only a day or so. Dont rule out the Missouri near Wolf Creek, the average size is bigger than the Clark Fork and there are something like 6,ooo fish per mile, its pretty awesome to cast to podded up 19 inch rainbows.

I'll be here for another week so you can give me a call and Ill let you in on a few other places and things to try
(406) 243- 3536

Most of my wife's family lives in Libby (or just outside Libby). I have fished the Kootenail several times, but it seems so big to wade. . .

Are there some good access points if you don't have a boat? Feel free to email me if you have some suggestions.

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