Dry Fly Paradise Outside of Missoula, Montana
When it comes to pure dry fly fishing, the rivers in Missoula’s vicinity provide some of the best opportunities! Former NFL linebacker Joe Cummings is the owner of A Classic Journey Outfitters, the outfitter for the Missoula River Lodge. Throughout the season, his team of guides pursue trout on famed rivers, including the Blackfoot, Clark Fork, Bitterroot, Rock Creek, and the Missouri River. Accommodations for packages are at the Missoula River Lodge with three different fully-furnished locations, all on the centrally-located Clark Fork River. A Classic Journey Outfitters is our first pick in the Missoula area and is the total package when it comes to lodging and world-class fishing. The Missoula River Lodge has rightly earned a reputation of putting guests into fish on dry fly, making for a great Montana fly fishing experience.
Nobody offers nicer accommodations at a more central location to all the great fishing around Missoula than the Missoula River Lodge. The Bitterroot, Blackfoot, Rock Creek and Missouri are all within striking distance of the lodging and the Clark Fork is right out the back door. Perched on the banks of the Clark Fork River are three lodging options. Each lodge features its own private boat launch on the Clark Fork River, making for an easy start or finish of the day. These lodges are also fully outfitted full-size modern kitchens, HD TV and Wi-Fi. Families and corporate groups will love the privacy of the rural setting, with plenty of space to relax and enjoy the living room views of the Clark Fork.
Food and Beverages
In 2017 their executive chef, Carrie Nowlen, was named by the Washington Post to the top 100 chefs in America and is featured in “America the Great Cookbook.” They are proud of her culinary excellence that is rooted in creativity and the farm to table ethic. Guests at the Missoula River Lodge choosing the all-inclusive package will have a diverse offering of meal options. Each dinner is unique and never the same during a stay. For fishing days, streamside bbq-style lunches on the river are provided by your guides. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all included in the package.
Non-Angling Activities and Options
The riverfront lodging and its close proximity to Missoula make for some great non-angling options. A trip into Missoula and a visit to the Montana Museum of Art and Culture or the Montana Natural History Center is great for those interested in history and culture. Tours of the many breweries and wineries may interest some, as well as hiking, mountain biking, and river rafting trips. Festivals and fairs are held throughout the seasons, along with farmers’ markets and concerts. Missoula features a number of excellent restaurants as well. We are happy to assist you in the organization of non-angling activities and Missoula has no shortage of activities to enjoy after a day of fishing.
Internet / Communications
Wi-Fi is available free of charge and most cell phones work in Montana. Be sure to check with your service provider prior to your trip regarding specific coverage in the area.
How To Get There
The nearest commercial airport is Missoula International Airport (MSO), located in Missoula, Montana. This airport is serviced by Delta, Northwest, United and Horizon Airlines.
Arrival and Departure Details / Times
Most customers prefer to rent a car so they can enjoy the luxury of sight-seeing and other non-fishing activities. Guides will happily pick up and drop off guests at their accommodations. You can arrive and depart Missoula River Lodge on any day of the week. Ground transportation from and back to the airport is included in the all-inclusive package. Check-in is after 4 PM upon arrival day, and check-out is after breakfast on departure day.
Yellow Dog works directly with and recommends Kanna Travel. They can assist with airline tickets, hotels, transfers and all travel logistics for every destination that we offer. Contact them at 855-739-3139 or [email protected] for more details on airfare ticketing, travel services, and trip insurance.
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 being able to get their anglers into dry fly fishing from the start of the season in March all the way into 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.
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 flys drifted through the long flats and back eddy’s produce on this match the hatch fishery.
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.
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.
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 who hold permits to float Rock Creek.
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 with 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.
Remember that Yellow Dog’s services are completely free! When you book a trip with Yellow Dog, you never pay more than when you book directly with the lodge.
2020 Pricing (based on double occupancy)
3 nights / 2 days = $1,890.00 per person
4 nights / 3 days = $2,525.00 per person
5 nights / 4 days = $3,150.00 per person
6 nights / 5 days = $3,650.00 per person
7 nights / 6 days = $3,990.00 per person
– Guided fishing
– Transportation to and from the airport
– All meals (cooler lunch while fishing)
– Beer, dinner wine, and non-alcoholic beverages at the lodge
– Daily room cleaning service
– Rods/reels, flies, and tackle provided by the guide
– Lodging taxes
– Specialty alcohol, liquors, etc at the lodge (BYO)
– Alcoholic beverages on guides trips (BYO)
– Waders and wading boots
– Fishing licenses
– Gratuities for lodge staff
– Gratuities for fishing guides