Double up outfitters fly fishing guides in Missoula Montana

The Bitterroot River
    This incredible freestone river has every attribute a fly fisherman could ever dream up, and leaves no expectation unsatisfied. With the upper reaches of the East and West Forks twisting through boulder fields, half-canyons, and the mid-river characterized by long meadow-lined banks and gin clear pools, the Bitterroot is a river in constant revision of itself.  From giant root systems that have been at the edge of its banks for decades, to the cottonwood tree that fell in yesterday, the river provides as many go-to holes as it does surprises. Wild trout relish this habitat, and thrive on the incredible insect life that teems in this river.   This watershed ebbs and flows to its very own rhythm. Fishing the Bitterroot river Missoula, MontanaThere is no other stream in the West that changes so much in the course of just a few months, from mid-spring to mid-summer, and yet sustains such classic, secretive lies for the trout to take refuge in. Refuge indeed—we call them "target areas!”   
    As it closes the distance to Missoula, the river’s faster chutes and heavier currents give way to more undercut banks and log-jam mazes that hold big hungry trout, waiting for the right drift of a huge dry fly or streamer.
    The Bitterroot offers eighty miles of main stem, with another twenty miles of the west fork. If one were to add up all the channels, back waters and springs, not to mention the countless tributaries that hold trout at their mouths, they would find that there is more fly fish-able trout water in this valley, than most people could fish in a lifetime.

 


The Blackfoot River
This is Montana fly fishing. It's no wonder that Norman Maclean, author of A River Runs through It, wrote, “I am haunted by waters.”  The deep green-hued pools seem bottomless, un-mapable, even overwhelming to one who dreams of the fish living at the bottom of such fabled waters.
    Of course Maclean’s comment could also be taken philosophically, and we can discuss its various meanings as we cast dry flies the size of small birds into the roily torrents and endless boulder strewn runs of this mighty river. 
   Fly fishing the Blackfoot river in MontanaIn June, you will see Salmonflies and Golden Stoneflies that rival the size of many fishermen's bass poppers! The pace is fast and furious this time of year, but at all levels, this river rewards the angler. On the Blackfoot, be it with dries, nymphs or streamers, this river offers every fishing challenge one would picture on a Montana river.  The water changes character quickly, from long glides peppered with Green Drakes, to frothy plunge pools where anxious rainbows hammer anglers’ imitations with abandon.
    And don't be surprised if the 18 inch cutthroat you’re playing to the boat gets attacked by a giant bull trout!  It's a sight you have to see to believe.  This river is a streamer fisherman’s dream, with large hungry brown trout, and big thick rainbows, happy to give chase to a well-drifted sculpin pattern. We love this river, and its challenges and rewards are an unequalled experience.

The Clark Fork
  
  This river is named for Captain William Clark, of the famous Lewis & Clark expedition. It’s the "largest water" we have in the immediate Missoula are, and it boasts some amazing mayfly and terrestrial fishing! Pods of fish that at times number in the hundreds in a single golf-green sized eddy, rise to small mayflies such as baetis and tricos. This productivity is truly amazing for a freestone river, as these numbers are usually only to be seen in a tailwater environment.Fly fishing the Clark fork river These “pods,” are of course not in every run of the river, but our guides know where to locate them, and when they ease the boat into position on one of these giant, foam filled back eddies, you’ll realize---"Those aren't waves in the foam! Those are fins and heads everywhere!"  At first this kind of fishing might seem like fishing in a barrel, but be forewarned:  These critters are not your normal rainbow. With the lift of the rod, your prize may be in a different zip-code by the time you realize what’s happened. Our "infamous" Clark Fork rainbow fights harder and makes longer runs than normal fish of this size. A 20 incher here fights like a fresh steelhead.
  Most of us that live and fish here, think of the Clark Fork as two different rivers: the "lower river.” from Missoula, and the Bitterroot confluence, all the way to Idaho is what we call the "big water"; the "upper Clark Fork" is considered everything east of the old Milltown dam site, water that gives one the feeling of being on a miniature Blackfoot, with a little bit of the Bitterroot mixed in. The dam has now been removed, and for the first time in over one hundred years, fish from all of our watersheds are free to mix and mingle at their leisure. With unlimited native spawning habitat retained, we expect the Clark Fork to become an even more amazing river in the years to come. You can read more about important updates and news on the Clark Fork by checking out the Clark Fork Coalition, or feel free to contact us for more information on this subject.

The Missouri River:
  The dry-fly enthusiast or nymph fisher's dream-river, the Missouri offers both personalities the chance to test their casting and fish fighting proficiency! Called the "World’s Largest Spring Creek" by many, the aquatic life on the Missouri is nothing short of amazing!
    The "Mo" has fifty river miles of well-populated trout water, and a river that boasts banks so far apart we often use binoculars to view the wildlife on the opposing shore.Fly fishing on the Missouri river We concentrate chiefly on the upper half of this massive watershed in early spring, and when runoff hits the Missoula area. This big water is primarily a nymph fishing show, but as spring gives way to warmer temperatures, the blue wing olives, and caddis tempt the dry fly angler away from the nymph rigs. We usually holler, "off with his head!" as we chop off our strike indicators, and attach our dry fly leader of choice.

    If you were sitting on the Missouri’s banks in the upper half of the system near Holter dam in July, you might see the sky darken on you in the early morning, as clouds of tricos rise from the edges and fill the sky! Pods of fish that number in the HUNDREDS, rise and circle, rise and circle. Timing is everything here, and such numbers of fish and aquatic insects are truly a sight to behold. When you hook up, hold on and grab a snickers bar, because..."It's gonna be a while!"  East of the divide, the Missouri river rainbow’s fighting ability is unrivaled.
    Hopper fishing the mid-summer months can be fun, but without the prolific hatches to bank on, and the good chance we might want a "sail" on our boats this time of year, we usually stay on our waters closer to Missoula during this part of our season, but we thoroughly enjoy a trip over upon request.
    It's around a two hour trip over to the Missouri, so we like to try and plan on two or three day trips here. We either stay in Helena, or in one of several cabins and other lodging facilities near the river. It's completely doable to just do a single day over here, but that single day is a long one.

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