CLARK FORK RIVER
A day of fishing Linehan Outfitting on the Clark Fork River is as close to a guarantee as anything in fishing. The Clark Fork affords anglers great hatches, glorious scenery, and the chance to fish a legendary river without the crowds of anglers that seem to have found Montana’s more publicized water. Over the last decade the Clark Fork has experienced an incredible re-birth as a fishery. Long abused by mining degradation, the Clark Fork caught the attention of local sportsmen and women, and in turn it has benefitted from a tremendous groundswell of conservation initiatives and grassroots restoration efforts. This conservation focus has resulted in a river recovery that is truly inspiring, and a fishery that is once again full of healthy, wild trout. Rainbow, Westslope Cutthroat, and Brown Trout average 12-18 inches. Though fish can be taken by any means necessary, long, flat runs define the character of the Clark Fork River, making it one of the best dry-fly rivers in the state. For those anglers who like to see trout looking up, a day on the Clark Fork is a must.
Mid-March through November
Rainbow, Westlope Cutthroat, Brown Trout, Bull Trout, Mountain Whitefish
9ft, 5 or 6 Weight/Medium to Fast Action for Dry Fly Fishing, Nymphing, and Streamer Fishing
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The Clark Fork River is a success story in the making. Over the last decade, the Clark Fork has experienced a re-birth, as it has been retrieved from the brink of collapse attributed to years of mining degradation. After years of intense and impassioned restoration efforts, the Clark Fork may well be headed towards a golden era all its own, to be known once again as a singular destination fishery. Needless to say, the river is thriving and full of healthy, wild trout.
A fly-fishing trip on the Clark Fork is special. The river offers great hatches, beautiful scenery, and big fish. Named after William Clark of the Corps of Discovery, the Clark Fork is Montana’s largest river by volume. The lower Clark Fork near St. Regis, Montana provides approximately 45-miles of fishable water. Fishing from a drift boat with Linehan Outfitting, anglers will access the Clark Fork’s soft runs, swirling back eddies, and long foam lines. These features provide perfect feeding lanes for big, hungry Rainbows and Cutthroats, the likes of which could rival the strength and beauty of any trout in Montana. Our guides are often heard repeating the old adage “foam is home” while floating the Clark Fork; our anglers are known to hook numbers of fish that are slurping bugs in the mocha java scum lines.
Light tippets and tiny dries can be the order of the day on the Clark Fork, and some of the biggest fish of the season are caught on some of the smallest flies. Good hatches of PMD’s and caddis define the summer season with terrestrials becoming more important as the season matures in September.
If you choose to indulge in a day trip on the Clark Fork, we’re happy to meet you in St. Regis. That said, depending on conditions a multi-day trip can be a great option, and guests may be better served to stay with us. A drive or two to the river makes for a bit of windshield time, but it also showcases some beautiful Montana scenery, and provides ample opportunity for stories, conversation, and the lies that make up any adventure worth its salt!