General Information
The rivers in the Missoula vicinity are the place to consistently cast to rising fish in Montana. The guides at Missoula River Lodge pride themselves in getting their anglers into dry fly fishing from the start of the season in March to November. From skwalas and March browns in the spring, and salmonflies and golden stones near the beginning of the summer, caddis, tricos, and hoppers are regularly on the menu for trout in late summer and blue-winged olives in the fall. It’s easy to see why Missoula is at the top of the list for many anglers for its consistent dry fly fishing. 

Clark Fork
Flowing through the town of Missoula, the Clark Fork is the major drainage in the area.  The upper section meanders through meadows and gains momentum as it picks up water from Rock Creek, the Blackfoot, and the Bitterroot on its way to the Columbia. Clockwork hatches bring these feisty trout to the surface to feed; dry flies drifted through the long flats and back eddy’s produce on this match the hatch fishery.

Bitterroot River
Lewis and Clark fished the Bitterroot, and like all the rivers in the area, it remains just as scenic and beautiful as it did hundreds of years ago. The east and west forks of the Bitterroot combine for 50 miles of river, and the forks join to form more than 80 miles of the main stem of the Bitterroot. The fish on the Bitterroot are right where you’d expect them to be: rising off the back of a fallen log, hiding under deep cut banks, or moving from the dark holes into the skinny riffles during a hatch.

Blackfoot River
The Blackfoot begins near the Continental Divide outside Lincoln and flows through scenic and wild countryside before its confluence with the Clark Fork, about five miles east of Missoula. As the river winds and cuts through canyons and whitewater pour over huge rock shelves, anglers will be surrounded by a vast forest of ponderosa pines. It’s truly a primitive wilderness setting on the Blackfoot.

Rock Creek
Located in the Lolo National Forest, Rock Creek flows north to where it joins the Clark Fork River, about 20 miles east of Missoula. Pristine water, diverse hatches, and solid numbers of trout make this a river that everyone should try out. A Classic Journey Outfitters is one of only three outfitters that hold permits to float Rock Creek.

Missouri River
The “Mo”, as it’s known to local anglers, is famous for its scenery and high numbers of fish per mile.  The Missouri River below Holter Dam is like no other freestone river in the Missoula area. Clean, consistent flows and a rich insect population make for a long season of dry fly fishing. The Missouri River near Craig, MT simulates the behavior of a giant spring creek.

Boats and Equipment
Float fishing on rivers in the Missoula area is done with McKenzie-style drift boats. The guides of Missoula River Lodge also utilize rafts made specifically for stretches of water like Rock Creek. Each guide is outfitted with complimentary rods and reels, which are available for guests to use during guided trips.