You’ll never forget fishing the Bitterroot River
Lots and Lots of Dry Fly Fishing
Well, you’ve hit the fly fishing jackpot.
There’s miles and 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 Montana, and for very good reasons.
Most fly fishermen will agree that catching trout on a dry fly is what they all want to do.
There is just something special about watching as a fish eats your fly as it floats by them.
But the truth is, many of the rivers of the west are not all that productive fishing dry flies “on top”.
Instead, fishermen resort to using nymphs and streamers that are fished under water.
This is usually productive, but maybe not as exciting as fishing a dry fly on the surface of the water.
An abundance of quality dry fly fishing is what makes the Bitterroot River such a special place for fly fishermen.
5 Species of Trout and Even More Bugs
There is rarely a time throughout the year when one kind of aquatic insect or another isn’t hatching on the Bitterroot River.
This is what 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 stonefly fishing experience.
Native Westslope Cutthroats, Rainbows, Browns, Brookies, and Bull Trout all call the Bitterroot River home.
The average fish caught range in size from 10” – 20”, with most fish in the 10” – 14” range.
During the epic Skwala stonefly hatch in March and April, fish over 20” are not uncommon.
Fish populations are carefully managed by Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, and regulations change each year.
Be sure to review the current fishing regulations before you start casting.
And please remember to safely catch and release whenever possible so we can maintain a healthy population of fish in the Bitterroot 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 shines.
There are established fishing access sites up and down the Bitterroot Valley and access is easy.
Additionally, Montana’s stream access laws state that once you have legally accessed a stream, you are free to fish upstream and downstream as far as you’d like as long as you stay within the high water marks of a river.
Plentiful access points combined with Montana’s fishermen friendly stream access laws make for great fishing access to the Bitterroot River.
You Won’t Run Out of Rivers to Fish
Upstream, the Bitterroot River splits into the East and West Forks, which provide dozens more miles of excellent fly fishing.
These smaller forks of the river aren’t fished quite as much as the main stem of the Bitterroot River, which can get busy during the summer months.
These are excellent rivers to learn to fly fish. 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 and its tributaries isn’t quite enough for you, there are 4 more world class fly fishing rivers within an hour or two of the Bitterroot Valley.
The Big Hole River, the Clark Fork River, the Blackfoot River, and Rock Creek are all just a short drive away.
This truly is fly fishing paradise.
That’s a Good Question
Late March and April are great for early season stonefly fishing.
Mid to late June and July are great for summer dry fly fishing.
Late September and early October are great for fall fishing.
While Montana fishing regulations do allow keeping certain sizes and species of fish caught on the Bitterroot River, catch and release is strongly encouraged to maintain healthy fish populations.
Residents pay $31 for a season fishing license.
Non-residents pay $31.50 for a single day license. Extra days are $14, and a season license is $117.50.
Youth, senior, military, Native and disabled rates are also available. More info