Missoula Fishing Report for 3/20/2017

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The Missoula fishing report for this week is one of challenging conditions.  We are looking at record high flows for this time of year on the Bitterroot, and while it is our best option right now in the area it is still day to day on whether or not it is fishable.  The other rivers around Missoula are blown out currently.

If you happen to be reading this Missoula fishing report and considering floating the Bitterroot on your own in the next few days then you need to make sure you are an experienced rower and reach out to fly shops, shuttle drivers, and guides to find out about any hazards on the river.  The Root is NOT for the inexperienced right now.  There are blocked channels, nasty hydraulic currents, dangerous diversion dams, and even sketchy boat ramps at the moment.  With almost 20 years on the river I have had a couple heart pounding moments in the last week, and no trout is worth risking your safety over.

The current conditions have made it a nymphing game mainly.  A couple nymphs under an indicator fished in the right water will produce right now.  There’s not much of a dry fly game at this point.  If you hunt the back waters and side channels with a skwala you can raise a few fish, but if you are looking for action then it’s a stonefly nymph and san juan in the slow water.

We are at the mercy of the stream flow gauge this March.  If the river stays level or drops then the dry fly fishing will begin to kick in.  If the flows continue to bump up and down then a strike indicator will be your new best friend.  Skwala fishing is always a bit of a gamble.  There are some big trout hitting the net daily if you’re willing to take the risk.