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Blackfoot River Montana

 We took a trip in June of 2005 to Montana and fished the legendary Blackfoot River, and the Clearwater River. For those of you whose life circumstances allow you to regularly fish different waters, you have my envy. It has been some 4+ years since I had been able to fish out of state. And virtually all of that other time is spent right here on the mighty Deschutes. Not that I am complaining. If you are 'imprisoned' into fishing one spot the Deschutes is a decent place to serve your time.

But there is something special to fishing different waters. A certain thrill accompanies that first fish in new territory. A delight in discovering a new fishing hole. And like discovering a new treasure, that feeling accompanied us when we arrived at the Blackfoot. Located outside of Missoula, we knew to expect crowds. But fishing mid-week we were pleasantly surprised by the lack of fishermen. There were a lot of tubers, especially on the lower section. But fishing was very scattered.

The Blackfoot provides incredibly easy access. Something very nice indeed when trying to cram in as much fishing into 3 days as possible. Over twenty miles of access line Highway 200 in what is called Blackfoot River Recreation Corridor. There is quite a bit of good water in this stretch, plenty to keep you busy for three days. River Junction Campground upriver from the corridor, also provides access to a spectacular stretch of water. Be advised that the road is fair at best, but passable, SUV is recommended. There are several primitive campgrounds in the area to use as headquarters. Or for that matter, Missoula is only 30 minutes away most of the time, if more sophisticated lodging is wanted.

We arrived on a Tuesday evening and spent the evening setting up camp, and trying are luck very quickly on some evening dry action. The next day found us nymphing early and with great success landing both cutthroats and browns. One of the many wonderful things about this river is the diverse trout that call it home. Not only the above mentioned species, but also rainbow, and the heavily protected bull trout. Bull trout are illegal to target, and we didn't see any, but the prospect of seeing one, does add an element of excitement to the trip.

We also stopped off at the Clearwater, and fished this little gem with great success, landing many browns and rainbows, as well as Mountain Whitefish. Crystal clear as it name implies, don't overlook this humble tributary to the Blackfoot.

At River Junction the North Blackfoot pours into the Blackfoot, supplying it with cold clear water, and the magic transformation into a trophy trout stream really begins here. Unfortunately despite all the great access of the Blackfoot, below this campground, must be fished by boat. If one has time, guided trips can be arranged in Missoula or Ovando.

Although that would have been nice, back we had to come. But future plans were made to re-visit this great river, and many others that flow through one of the most marvelous fly fishing paradises in the world.

Insect Size Begin End
March Brown 12 March 15  May 15
Green Drake
8-10  June 1 July 15
BWO 16-20  April 5 June 5
Salmonflies 4-6  June 1  July 15
BWO 16-20  September 15 October 31
Pale Evening Dun 14-16 July 1 August 31
Yellow Sallies 14-16  July 1 August 31
16-18  June 15 September 15 
Trico 20-24 July 15 September 15
Callibaetis 14-16 July 15 September 30
Green Stoneflies 14-16 July 15 August 31
Mahogany 14-16 August 31 October 31
October Caddis 8-10 September 30 October 31
Hoppers 8-10 August 31 September 30

Check out our Montana 55 Fly Assortment:


 55 Montana Flies