Fishing Season: Year round; some tributaries closed December 1-third week of May. Check regulations before fishing.

Bitterroot River - MT

Fishing Outlook & Conditions

Water Temp:

47

Blackfoot River Outfitters's Tip of the Week

Stick with an indicator rig or streamers to improve your chance of success in the high water, but keep an eye out for rising fish in the slower current and eddys. Check the rocky banks and streamside bushes for the big bugs and be prepared with Salmonfly imitations just in case. Tributaries are also open to explore. Don’t overlook Pike fishing in the slow water and sloughs!

Directions open in app

Map of Bitterroot River

Water Flow Data

Tidal Conditions

5-Day Outlook as of 5/27/21

Warmer weather is on the way for those fishing the ‘Root. This will likely bring down some of the mid-high snow that has accumulated over the past week so don’t expect those flows to stabilize quite yet. Highs expected in the 70’s and even up to the high 80’s next week! Overnight temperatures in the mid-40s to mid-50s.

Techniques & Tips as of 5/27/21

Streamer fishing with a sink tip line or VersiLeader will help get your flies down in the high water and fast current. Water temps are still cold so slow down your retrieve. Indicator fishing San Juans, large stonefly and mayfly nymphs, or even a wooly bugger will get it done. With the darker water try using a larger profile fly. Add some weight if your flies aren’t getting down in the current. Red/White and Whitefish have been good colors for Pike flies. Goings on at World Headquarters in Missoula: Ladies Night is SOLD OUT! Call or email us for up to the minute updates at 406.542.7411 or if you are in the area stop in- WE HAVE MOVED TO OUR BRAND NEW LOCATION AT 275 N. RUSSELL STREET IN MISSOULA- for all your Orvis gear and the right bugs.

Current Conditions as of 5/27/21

Warmer weather is on the way for those fishing the ‘Root. This will likely bring down some of the mid-high snow that has accumulated over the past week so don’t expect those flows to stabilize quite yet. Highs expected in the 70’s and even up to the high 80’s next week! Overnight temperatures in the mid-40s to mid-50s.

Local Species Available Year round; some tributaries closed December 1-third week of May. Check regulations before fishing.

  • Fish Icon

    Trout - rainbows

  • Fish Icon

    browns and cutties - whitefish

Blackfoot River Outfitters's Recommended Fly Patterns

"Must-have" fly fishing patterns in descending order of importance:

Name: Colors: Size(s):
Bead Head Rubber-Legged Orvis CJ blk/brn 8-12
Vernille San Juan Worm N/A 8-12
Stimulator Tan 12-16
Bead Head Prince N/A 8-10
Parachute BWO BWO 14-16
Purple Haze Purple 12-16
Zonker tan or olive 6-10
Cone Head Muddler Minnow tan, black or olive 4-8
Sparkle Minnow sculpin 4-6
Brindlechute N/A 12-14

Bead Head Rubber-Legged Orvis CJ

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Blackfoot River Outfitters's Recommended Gear

Description: About Bitterroot River

The panoramic mountains of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness towering above this river make for an unforgettable setting. The Bitterroot affords anglers over 80 miles of varied freestone trout water ranging from riffles and runs to undercuts and deadfalls. This river's largest fish often rise to dry flies even in non-hatch conditions. One of our guides claims that "If you catch a fish on the Bitterroot, you could have caught it with a dry fly!" This probably isn't far from the truth in light of our fishing dries here 90% of the time (often with an additional bead head dropper). Renowned hatches of stone and may flies are in full force by March, providing the state's best early season surface action and Bitterroot river fish tend to look up for the rest of the season. Expect to catch native westslope cutthroat, rainbows and browns on any outing.

Nearest Airport:

Missoula International Airport (MSO)

Hatches:

Salmon flies should be right around the corner.

Best Time to Fish:

Mid-day and evenings

Best Stretch:

Side channels and sloughs are your best option right now

Best Access:

Multiple fishing access sites throughout the river.