This Clark Fork River Montana fishing report is brought to you by Linehan Outfitting Company and provides current water and fishing conditions for the lower Clark Fork River below Alberton Gorge. This report is updated frequently or as conditions change.
Flows at St. Regis: 14,000cfs
Water Clarity: stained but very fish-able
Water Temperature: 45 degrees
Best Time Of Day: late morning to evening
Hatches: baetis, skwala stonefly, March brown, gray drakes
Patterns: Pat’s stonefly, bh prince, bh copper john, bh green machine, parachute Adams, purple haze, Rasta Skwala, bullet head skwala, parachute skwala, bugmeister, bh pheasant tail, sj worm
The lower Clark Fork River is very fish-able at the moment. Recent cool temperatures and gray days have slowed runoff in a manner of speaking and conditions are excellent. It’s starting to feel a bit like spring here in northwest Montana and at least daytime temps are consistently above 50 degrees for the time being.
Bug activity is good especially on cloudy days. March browns, baetis, and gray drakes now headline hatches. The skwala stonefly hatch is waining but they are still around to some degree.
Nymphing is your best bet to start the day. Fish are still concentrated in deeper pools, drop offs, and tailouts but are moving toward banks for food during afternoons. Keep in mind with chilly water temps trout are not likely to move very far to eat. Get the flies down, and fish them slowly along the bottom and around structure.
Streamer action might move a few fish but don’t be that aggressive with the retrieve. Let streamers roll and bounce and instead of ripping them back, let them pulse and dead drift some of the time as well. Bigger fish might like a bigger meal this time of year and big black buggers with a #12 Pat’s stonefly nymph as a trailer is a good rig for prospecting while floating.
Dry fly action has been pretty steady but mostly about in afternoons and early evening. As I mentioned, water temps are still a bit chilly and a couple days of sunshine would actually help the bug situation. Baetis have started to show in really good numbers. If you see a fish rise, slide a small parachute Adams or purple haze over it and you’ll likely get an eat. Cloud cover is our friend thi time of year. Gray drakes love soft, cloudy days and some sections of the River have seen good numbers of drakes in the late afternoons.
Expect more rain and dark skies to continue through the week with daytime temperatures in the middle 50’s. Cooler nights will continue which is actually good since that will keep runoff to a minimum. All in all it’s perfectly warm enough and gray skies are good for fishing. Keep an eye on flows and water clarity as rain will influence both. Expect good conditions to prevail.