Fly Fishing The Bitterroot River

The Bitterroot River is one of the most unique rivers in Montana.With the large, jagged granite mountains of the Bitterroot Range in the back drop, this river offers incredible views along with some of the best Dry Fly fishing in the World. We start fishing this river (with dry flies) in March, and fish it almost all year thru October. It is a large fluvial basin that holds many springs, channels and log jams. The upper stretches are almost entirely different in fisheries and character than the lower river. We catch a lot of our trophy browns on this river throughout the year. From basic pocket and riffle fishing on the upper, to site casting a monster trout in a spring on the lower river, this river has beautiful scenery and spectacular Dry Fly Fishing.

The Bitterroot can be divided up into 3 different sections. The upper channels of the Bitterroot River has 2 forks, The West Fork and The East Fork. These are ideal exciting floats during high water and abundant stonefly hatches in June. The fishery on these sections is dominated by native West Slope Cutthroats, but also has large rainbows and brown trout. There are Bull Trout in these upper reaches, but they are rare. We fish these sections from early Spring to late Fall. As the river gets lower in the summer, pools will stack with trout eager to hit dry flies.

After these Channels merge the upper river holds over 1000 trout per mile and is very forgiving to anglers of all levels. As The Bitterroot migrates north through the valley it begins to change its character and has many braided channels and log jams. This is where the trout numbers decrease, but the larger rainbows and browns reside here. The Bitterroot River is very complicated and has many channels and springs that hold all species of trout in these streches.

The Lower Bitterroot is a much different river than the Upper River. There are back channels and springs with large, wiley rainbows and browns that can be “hunted,” by using stealth, patience, and skill. Dixon Adventures has the best guides in Montana for this type of fishing. This requires special knowledge of the river and often needs research every year when the river changes after the run-off. The Bitterroot River continues north and gets larger until it meets the Clark Fork River.

The Bitterroot River starts the dry fly season early in March when the skwala stonefly hatches and attracts fisherman from all over. There are an abundance of hatches on The Bitterroot and we fish this river with Dry Flies all year into October.