I have had some awful weather in Montana in June and some great weather. The primary freestone streams like Rock Creek or the Big Hole will almost certainly be in runoff to some extent but the snowpack was light so you might be able to get some fishing in then. Local flyshops can help.
My favorite stream this time of year is the Beaverhead. Other tailwaters will also be in shape (clear if high).
I think spring creeks and tailwaters are the best bet right now. The beaverhead, missouri and parts of the madison should be fishable. Blackfoot, Bitterroot and rock creek will probably be dirty as well as the clark fork. you'll probably be able to get some decent fishing in some of the rivers, though. Big salmon fly dries and weighted stonefly nymphs will probably be a good bet on the freestone rivers. Big streamers may also be the ticket if the water's cloudy. You may run into some cool nights to keep the melting back, but you may also run into warm periods that turn the water into poop soup. It's a toss-up. Good luck. UNNO
We're actually driving to Seattle from Minnesota, so we're pretty much doing all of Montana. My guess is that we'll hurry to the more western portion because my friend knows someone who lives on the Galatin. We were thinking this would be a good base camp.
Contact George Anderson's "Yellowstone Angler" at (406)222-7130 or [email protected]. They can give you info on the Gallatin, Yellowstone, Big Horn and all the other rivers in Southwest Montana. The Big Horn would be a good option as it is a tailwater river and the flows are controlled. You will definitely want to float it.
I'll second the Big Horn. Fished it every July for the last 4-5 years and a couple of other months in between. Was there in April and the water is low and very wadable in many sections near the boat launch and take outs if you don't have a boat. We stay at a lodge there and if you happen to be passing through and there's availability I highly recommend the place. Call David Couch at Tight Lines Lodge in St Xavier, don;'t have the number handy but worth a call.
The bighorn Rocks! Yes, I would agree with the "stick to the tailwater" comment from above if runoff is a factor. If the water is decent, check with the Missoula shops for the status of the Salmon fly hatch on Rock Creek. Be prepared for crowds but the fish go CRAZY over them ther bugs!
Stock up on some #16 sow bugs in tan (from Bighorn fly shop in Billings/Hardin) for yeararound success on the horn. Stock up on a variety of chironomid patterns as well. Sometimes #20 in size.
I think my first choice for W. Montana would be the beaverhead / poindexter slough.
I just got back from NW Montana yesterday and all the rivers are really high and muddy. I checked out Rock Creek though and the higher up the road you go the clearer it gets. The word around town is that the Salmonflies are just about to starting hatching, and I would think that by the time you're there that some of the other rivers would start to settle too. I would definitely stop at Rock Creek since it's literally on the way and fish for a few hours before you go any further, every fly fisherman should fish the Creek, it's as close to a perfect river as you're gonna find! I envy you, good luck and have fun. :THUMBSUP
Here's a link to a webcam that shows a glimpse of missoula and the Clark Fork. I have a shortcut on my desktop to it for a 'sneak peak' of the conditions there. You could watch the flow of the river to visually see the level from day to day.
I am sitting here one block from the Bitterroot at Hamilton, it is blown and ugly. I fished two days ago, and there were still squallas showing, and there were a few of the really big Salmon fly nymphs in the shallow water starting to crawl ashore, so it is definitely time, but the waters are blotto. The weather is warm, 70s, so it will probably be melting here for a few more days, however, it could get clear overnite barring more rain.
Aha. I assumed you were coming from Seattle; you should absolutely stop in Hardin and fish the Bighorn if you are crossing the state. If you can afford a guide to float a day you will be amazed at the size and density of the trout (as well as the sheer # of boats). If not there are a few decent places to bank fish; the local flyshops can help.
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