The Bitterroot River starts its fame as far back as the stories from Lewis and Clark. They remembered this river as the southern guide from Traveler’s Rest. Today, fishermen float the Bitterroot River for world-class trout fishing, gin clear mountain waters, and endless vistas of the Bitterroot Mountains.
From it’s orgins in the Pintlar Mountains and the southern Bitterroot Mountains, the Bitterroot River flows north through the towns of Sula, Darby, Hamilton, Stevensville, Florence, and Missoula. The river is known for fishermen enjoying days of catching primarily Westslope Cutthroat and Rainbow Trout, with a smattering of fiesty Brown Trout. Though the Bitterroot River passes through a populated valley, we commonly see elk, deer, moose, Bald Eagles and Osprey, ducks and other waterbirds, the occasional river otter, and many other critters residing in the lush river corridor.
In the Spring, March kicks off the season with the Skwala stonefly and March Brown mayfly hatches. The fishing can be spectacular, if not a little cold, and you can start the new season fishing with a dry fly. The fish are stirring and coming out of winter, and the runoff is still a distant memory with water levels running low and cold. The river is quiet. Fish rise during select windows of the day. Being early season, few fishermen are on the river.
Summertime is Montana trout fishing heaven. Summer days in Montana are long in sunshine and warm on the water. Due to our low elevation and Pacific weather influence, The Bitterroot Valley hosts warm temperate days throughout the fishing season. Our summer hatches are consistent as with the weather, with Caddis, Salmonflies, Golden Stones, Bitterroot Stones, Yellow Sallys, Baeitis, Mahoganies, and many other stones and mayflies hatching throughout the season.
September brings the first days of Fall on the Bitterroot, probably the best time of year to fish this river as well as the rest of Montana. Glorious Autumn colors fill the valley with reds and golds, and the river comes alive in anticipation of the long winter ahead. Mahogany and Hecuba mayflies will hatch well into October on the Bitterroot, and some of the season’s best dry fly fishing is found during these short Fall days. Fish pod up to take advantage of these final hatches, and immense rainbows and browns let their guard down one last time.
Fish the Bitterroot with our professional guides. Enjoy panoramic views of the Bitterroot Mountain Range, crystal clear mountain water, wild populations of trout, and end of day camaraderie over pints with good folks at one of our local microbreweries.