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> > Clarks Fork & Bitteroot River

WbranchDecember 23rd, 2007, 6:15 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
I was wondering if any one here has fished either Clarks Fork River near Deer Lodge or the Bitteroot River in Montana. I've been reading that both have awesome dry fly fishing in the early spring to early summer anad then again in the fall. They both appear to be very wadeable in their upper reaches and I'd like to spend a week there in June. Any dry and nymph fly pattern recommendations will be greatly appreciated as would be places to start fishing.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
FlybinderDecember 24th, 2007, 3:29 am
Oregon Coast

Posts: 60
I've fished both of these rivers, at least 5-6 times every year, for the past 25 years or so, give and take a few hours.
After my first 10-15 trips, over there and "thinking I knew enough, by then, to know what would work and what wouldn't"............. I finally got smart enough to WAIT until I reached the area, before making my fly choices!

There are a ton of variables, when fishing these two rivers and unless you live, on, either one or at lest very close by, you can't and won't be able to keep track (day to day, week to week), of all those changes.

In other words............. "what killed 'em, in June of '07, they may not even LOOK AT, by the time June '08 rolls around. "Water levels", "wild fires", "lack of hatches", an "over abundance of a certain hatch", these things all change the outlook and results of these rivers.

Of course, I'd pack and take along the "always go to drys and wets", which are standards on about any moving water. Personally, I'd take #12 down to at least the #20s bracket. Scuds, a decent nymph selection, BWOs, Elk Hair Caddis, (A, MUST HAVE fly!) and even some #18 and #20 chartreuse Humpies, all, have worked very well for me over there!

But, mainly, what I always do now,is..............After I check into a motel, or pitch my tent, depending, before I even LOOK at the rivers....... I always hit the fly shops and start asking questions!! Almost, ALL, fly shops in those two areas, have up "What's happening, locally" wax boards that are kept pretty well up to date.
These guys and girls, KNOW these rivers and they're always happy to share what they know with anyone. "But a spool of Tippet,(needed or not, it's a nice gesture, to a shop owner!) and you'll be given even MORE advice, on where to fish and with what!!

Just a few suggestions, on my part and nothing is "cast in stone" when it comes to fishing either place!!

Have fun, let us know how you did!!
"You should'a been here, NEXT week,the fishing's great!"
MtskibumJanuary 14th, 2008, 5:12 pm

Posts: 26
I have fished the upper clark's fork twice. Both times in walk in areas provided for access, and then staying under the highwater mark to venture further in. As for wadability, it will be a tough day workout, but certainly doable to wade under the high water mark. My experience is both days my fishing partner and i each caught around 10 fish in the 13-17" range. Nothing too large where we were fishing, although both times i fished it i fished upstream further. Around 4-7 miles downstream of the settling ponds(so very upper part).

Downstream further you get into more of the same from what i have heard. I do know there is a stretch of Clarks fork somewhere near Deer lodge, maybe downstream? that has the 3rd most ammount of brown trout in Montana per mile. From people i have talked to is the fish average around the same size down here, but there are larger ones in the 4-5 pound range to be had.

Although if you want your chance of a huge brown go to warm springs settling ponds. They are a series of 3 ponds that are catch and release only, and everytime the fish and game shock them you see pictures of 28-30" browns, and while i myself got skunked the only time i fished it. A coworker of mine did pull a 24" brown of there.

Another good option in the area is flint creek. It is right around the butte-anaconda-deer lodge area as well. It has the same size fish as the clarks fork, but it is alot smaller water.
WbranchJanuary 21st, 2008, 9:39 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733

Thanks for your info on the CF. I also tried a postt at a Catskill Forum and got some good replies. I fish the Missouri every June for two weeks and would enjoy a day or two of non technical fishing for 13" - 17" fish. I love the Moe but after a week or so of #18 - #22's and 6x some easy fishing is a nice change of pace.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.

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