Clark Fork River Seasons

April/May:

This is the start of the truly good dryfly fishing in the Missoula area, and a time ALL of our repeat clients are aware of. It books up FAST! The fish are coming out of the winter very hungry and, for a few weeks, uneducated in the ways of the fisherman! There are three main hatches you’ll encounter this time of year – which include the Skwala stonefly (locally famous and, in fact, defines this time of year as “Skwala Season”), nemoura stonefly and the spring grey drake/March brown. You can expect to be fishing size 10 stonefly patterns and size 10 mayfly patterns on the surface. While the Bitterroot is renowned this time of year for monster browns, the Clark Fork is generally your best shot at sheer numbers of very nice fish between 15″ and 21″.

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June/July:

June and July are the start of our summer fishing when the hatches begin to diversify and the rivers are on their way back down after the mountain snows have melted. Hatches such as green drake mayflies, pale morning/evening dun mayflies, caddis and terrestrials add to the diversity of fishing opportunities. With the water still cold from the recent snow melt, and daylight lasting until 10:00 P.M., this is the time of year for the die hard fisherman who can’t get enough! While the dryfly fishing is excellent this time of year, it’s also one of the absolute best times to streamer fish on the Clark Fork. If your favorite thing in life is fishing hoppers to fatties, you can’t beat the Clark Fork in July.

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September/October:

This time of year, the Clark Fork is a little piece of heaven on earth! Hatches will range from size 22 tricos up to size 6 golden stones. The leaves will have begun their fall color change, and the tamarack pines will have begun to weave a band of brilliant yellow through the lush evergreen forest. As if that’s not enough, you’ll be distracted by the sounds of bugling elk while focusing on pod after pod of rising fish, casting to only the big ones! Angels will appear and harp music will waft you…..ok, well, not exactly, but as you can tell, we’re partial to fall fishing on the Clark Fork! While most people think of October as winter here in Montana, the truth is that the average daytime temperature will be in the mid 50’s and fishing will be very comfortable. The rivers are virtually abandoned as students head back to school and the summer tourists have left for parts unknown. Once again, this time of year books very fast.