Top 5 Montana Wading and Dry Fly Fishing Rivers Right Now
By Kjel

Posted: July 4, 2012

Looking to go Montana Fly Fishing and not sure where to go? Our field experts are proud to report the 5 hottest rivers for wading and dry fly fishing in the state of Montana.

1. Upper Madison

You can leave your nymph box at home! Dry fly fishing has been great up the upper Madison. The higher you go the more big Salmon flies you should see. I hear the hatch us up between the lakes at this point.  Salmon flies, Big Attractors, Golden Stones, Sallies, Pale Morning Duns and a nice elk hair caddis will all be productive. Top 5 Wading and Dry Fly Fishing Rivers in the State Right Now

2. Gallatin

The Gallatin is finally ready to play! It is dropping fast and clearing by the second.  The water is still a bit high on the lower half of the Gallatin so exercise caution still. The valley portion of the river will fish great with attractor patterns and stoneflies. The evening caddis hatch is beginning to go as well. The upper portion of the canyon is seeing the salmon flies and really fishing well.

3. Rock Creek

 Rock Creek is currently doing really well with its usual staple of summer hatches.  There are caddis and PMDs flying (and spinners in the evenings), and yellow sallies and green drakes continue to do very well.  The reports I’ve been hearing are that the fish are getting picky depending on the time of day and what is out, so you might have to switch up some of the patterns before you hit the right one.  Just keep an eye on what’s flying, and you should be fine.
When in doubt, you can always switch over to various attractor patterns.  Purple hazes (and their nymph counterparts) are the obvious option, but you can also go for red/royal attractors like a humpy or our Red Machine.  Small stimulators ranging from size 12 to 14 will also do the trick.  Stick to yellow, peacock, or gray for your stimmies.

All things considered, Rock Creek has a lot of different patterns to choose from right now and is getting more and more wadeable every day, so it’s a good time to come out.  And with any luck, spruce moths shouldn’t be far off! For up to date information visit Rock Creek Mercantile’s Website

4. Upper Bitterroot

The Root is about as hot as it gets right now! Fish are eating dry flies all day. Golden Stones will be productive as will caddis and PMD’s and even a parachute adams and yellow sallies will catch fish. The higher up the Bitterroot you go the better things will be. I would even consider going up into the forks of the bitterroot for less crowds and more eager fish.

5. Big Hole 

The water is still a bit high for wading so exercise caution. The salmon flies are about over but the fish are still looking to the surface. Yellow Sallies, PMD’s and  Caddis will all be productive. I have also heard reports of Drakes starting to take off.

Before you head Montana Fly Fishing check out our Fly Fishing Reports.