Summer Dry Fly Season in Missoula


It seems that we have gone from spring to summer overnight in Missoula and the fly fishing transition has happened just as quickly.  The last of the Salmonfly hatch is happening on the upper Blackfoot and Rock Creek, but our summer hatches of Golden Stones, PMDs, Green Drakes, and Caddis are going full swing everywhere else.   The rivers are still above historical average, but they are dropping and clearing which means now is the time to get to the river.

Whether you are a wade fisherman or a float angler you won’t find better fishing all summer than the next few weeks.  There is a huge load of bug life hatching right now and the fish are greedily feeding on a near daily basis.  The hatches can change by the day or even hour, but the fish are looking to eat and often they are searching for some kind of dry fly.  It’s the stuff you’ve been dreaming of all year.

Fly Fishing in Missoula Montana. Photo by Tony Reinhardt

Picture perfect on Rock Creek. Photo by Tony Reinhardt.

Covering lots of water is a huge advantage right now because the fish are spread out all over the streams in these higher flows.  New water and new flies are the keys to success if you aren’t raising trout.  Of course, not every day is great but the bad ones are rare right now so chance are if you aren’t catching fish you need to change flies or change location.

Finding a rising fish can be the ticket to cracking the code.  Change flies until you fool that riser and you will have the right bug to start sticking trout in all the prime water.  Confidence is a huge factor in fly fishing, and if you are confident that trout will eat your fly it allows you to cover that much more water during the day.  More water usually equals more trout.  If you’re not sure about your fly choice then you typically fish more carefully and cover less water during the day.

Cutbow. Photo by Tony Reinhardt

Dry fly cutbow. Photo by Tony Reinhardt.

If you are a dry fly fisherman there is really no excuse not to be on the river soon in the Missoula area.  Miss your chance now and you will have to wait until fall to find this caliber of fishing again.  Spring may have jumped into summer, but the dog days aren’t far behind so take advantage now.

Floating the river in Missoula, Montana Photo by Tony Reinhardt

It’s time to get out there. Photo by Tony Reinhardt.

Tight Lines,

–Tony Reinhardt


Tony Reinhardt BioTony Reinhardt is the owner, outfitter for Montana Trout Outfitters in Missoula.  He has been a guide on the rivers of western Montana for 16 years and absolutely loves his job.  When he’s not working you’ll find him fishing with his two children or in the woods hunting.