With all the high water and possible flooding from the Spring Run-off we were suppose to have this year I was a little taken back when I noticed earlier this week that we were under normal precipitation this year for Western Montana. On Monday the year to date precipitation that Missoula received was 6.94 inches. The normal year to date on Monday stood at 6.97. What surprised me about those numbers is that a couple of months ago Missoula was above the normal precipitation by about 2 inches. Then in May and now halfway through June, which are normally heavy precipitation months, Missoula has received only half the normal amount precipitation. Most of the rivers are still flowing above average in Western Montana but they are now starting to approach the normal flows and clearing up in the process. The fishing on the rivers will be getting better every day because of it.
Rock Creek east of Missoula has started to fish better but if you want to fish the salmon hatch then you might have to go up stream according to a report by John at RCMERC.com last Sunday, “ For salmon flies, I’d definitely venture around to Philipsburg and fish the upper stretches. A lot of people are still floating, but this will likely die down as we head into the middle of the week, so you foot fishermen will get some reprieve from boat after boat for a few days. The water has dipped below 1500 cfs, and there are more wade able spots now. This trend will continue as we get to the end of June, but as always, pick and choose your spots carefully”. While fishing the lower creek John suggests keeping at it with Golden Stones.
The Bitterroot River is dropping everyday especially with this cooler weather we have been having earlier in this week. The Grizzly Hackle fishing report for the Bitterroot suggests fishing the soft water but be careful, Right now we are catching fish mostly sub-surface still but we are beginning to catch fish on dries. Find soft water and you’ll find fish stacked in it. Flies to have are Double Bead Stones, Rubberlegs, Big Princes, PT’s, Copper Johns and San Jauns. In the afternoon throw on a Chubby, Rasta Golden, J Slam or Yellow Stimi. Put a dropper on and fish the slow water”.
The upper Clark Fork River is fishing well according to grizzlyhackle.com, “It’s time to get on the upper! The water is clearing by the day and very fishable at this point. With the clouds rolling in the last few days streamer fishing has been good to great! Streamers have been all over the place, so change up your streamer until you find what they like. Our top 2 color choices for streamers have been yellow and Olive/White. Sparkle Minnows, Dungeons, Silvey’s Sculpin, JJ Specials, Flash Fry’s and Beldar Rubber Legs. Nymphing is definitely an option as well. Concentrate on the slowest water you can find. Rubberlergs, San Jauns, Double Bead Stones, Terminator Stones and Big Princes are the way to go”. They also have reported that PMD’s are blanketing the water so dry fly fishing is also another option.
The river flows maybe coming down, but it is June and flows are still high this time of year, so if you are floating or wading use extra caution.
(Written by the Captain)