Salmonfly Mania in Missoula

By TONY REINHARDT

The time has finally arrived!  Many anglers wait all year to chase the Salmonfly hatch, and you won’t find a much better place to do it than in Missoula.  The Salmonflies have already started on lower Rock Creek and the upper Bitterroot.  Yes, folks are catching trout on size 2 dry flies while you’re reading this.  Don’t panic though, because in Missoula we will have at least a whole month of Salmonfly craziness  somewhere near town.

The big bugs are just getting started, but during our next spell of warm, dry weather we will start to see Salmonflies on the West Fork of the Bitterroot and the lower Blackfoot as well.  Rock Creek offers our most reliable Salmonfly hatch while the Blackfoot will hold those giant bugs the longest.  The West Fork hatch is great but short lived, if you’re not on the front end of that one you are likely to encounter trout that are already gorged and not in the mood to play with your dry flies.

Reel

Salmonflies on the WestFork

The bugs on Rock Creek will march methodically upstream a few miles each day until the reach the upper river by mid-month or a little later.  Rock Creek is the best local option for wade anglers looking to take advantage of the hatch, and it’s hard to beat a day floating the Creek during Salmonflies.  It is no place for novice rowers however, so make sure you are capable on the oars and inquire before you go about recent logjams and obstructions.

Fly fishing on Rock Creek

Wading on RockCreek

 

The Blackfoot is probably our most temperamental stream in June, but it also offers the most potential.  It is our last Salmonfly stream to clear up, but it can fish extremely well with only a couple feet of visibility.  Streamers and nymphs are great during June, and cloudy days can produce some of the best dry fly fishing of the season.  If you’re looking to catch your biggest dry fly fish of the year, the Blackfoot is the place to find it.  This river also boasts the longest Salmonfly hatch in the area with big bugs still fluttering around the upper river on the July 4th holiday.

Fisherman with HUGE Trout

Blackfoot Salmonfly BrownTrout

Right now is a great time to be fly fishing around Missoula.  I’m glad that you have read this far, but the biggest bug of the season is hatching!….it’s time to log off and hit the river.

 

Tight Lines,

Tony Reinhardt, Montana Trout Outfitters

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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 woodshunting.