Fishing the Bitterroot River
Well, you’ve hit the jackpot! There’s 90 miles of world class fly fishing right at your doorstep as the Bitterroot River runs the entire length of the Bitterroot Valley. The Bitterroot River is well known as one of the premier fly fishing rivers in Western Montana, and for very good reasons.
Lots and Lots of Dry Fly Fishing
Most fly fishermen will tell you that catching trout on a dry fly is what they all want to do. But the truth is, many of the rivers of the west are not all that productive “on top”. Instead, fishermen resort to using nymphs and streamers that are fished underneath the surface, which is productive, but not as desirable as fishing a dry fly on the surface of the water. There is just something special about watching a fish take your fly off the surface of the water and this is what makes the Bitterroot River such a special place for fly fishermen.
There is rarely a time throughout the year on the Bitterroot River when one kind of aquatic insect or another isn’t hatching, which provides for all the dry fly action. Midges hatch just about all year long, and caddis, mayfly and stonefly’s combine for constant hatching from March all the way through October. And if you ever get the chance, try to time your visit in conjunction with the Skwala hatch or the Salmonfly hatch for a one of a kind experience.
5 Species of Trout
Native Westslope Cutthroats, Rainbows, Browns, Brookies, and Bull Trout all call the Bitterroot River drainage home. The average fish caught range in size from 10″ to 20″, and during the epic Skwala stonefly hatch in March and April, 22″+ fish are not uncommon. Fish populations are carefully managed by Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks and regulations change each year, so be sure to pick up a copy of the fishing proclamation before you start casting. We’d also love you to consider practicing catch and release whenever possible, so we can maintain the healthy population and numbers of fish in the river.
Great Access to the River
It doesn’t matter how great the fishing is if it’s impossible to find good access to the river, but this is where fishing the Bitterroot River once again shines. There are established fishing access sites up and down the Bitterroot Valley and access is easy. Combined with Montana’s fishermen friendly stream access laws, once you are in the river from these access points, you are free to fish up and downstream as far as you’d like as long as you stay within the high water marks of the river.
You’ll Never Run Out of Rivers to Fish
Upstream, the Bitterroot River splits into the East and West Forks of the Bitterroot River, which provide 40 more miles of excellent fly fishing. These smaller forks of the river are more wade able and aren’t fished quite as much as the main stem of the Bitterroot River. These are excellent rivers to learn to fly fish as fish are abundant and moving around the river is somewhat easier than on the main stem.
And if over 100 miles of the Bitterroot River isn’t quite enough for you, then you’ll be glad to know that there are 4 more world class fly fishing rivers within an hour or two of our cabins, including the Big Hole River, the Clark Fork River, the Blackfoot River, and Rock Creek. This truly is fly fishing paradise.