Clark Fork River

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Clark Fork River

Updated 11/17/2022 at 7:28pm

Conditions At-a-glance

poor

Weather Forecast

Our Report

BRO’s Tips of the Week:

Big chunks of ice are drifting down the Clark Fork right now, and parts of the river will freeze over as we get into single digits this week. You might nymph up a fish or two, but it’s probably a better move to tie flies for warmer days right now. 

7 Day Outlook:

Single digit winter is here! Highs in the 20s this week and lows of almost 0 degrees will make the fishing tough. Think about tying some flies this week until days warm into the 40s around Thanksgiving.

Our Recommendations for the Best Techniques and Patterns:

If you’re particularly dedicated, nymphing is the way to go at the moment. Try a TJ Hooker, Hot Bead San Juan, Rubber Legs, or Wooly Bugger with a smaller option like a Jig PT or Zebra Midge to increase your odds. Spanish Bullets, Frenchies, Prince Nymphs, Duracells, Two-Bit Hookers, Dunnigan’s Panty Dropper, Fire Starters, and Perdigons will also hunt. 

For streamers, a darker pattern in the Gonga, Dungeon, Bugger, or Peanut Envy can get the job done. 

See our staff pick fly selection here!

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USGS Water Charts

Conditions

Conditions are cold on the Clark Fork.

The Hatch

BWOs, midges, gnats.

Fly Patterns

DRIES - Midges, Tiny Klinkhammer #16-20, BWO #18-20, Griffith’s Gnat #18-22. NYMPHS - TJ Hooker, Girdle Bug, Rubber Legs, San Juan #08-#12. Perdigon, Spanish Bullet, Frenchie, Brillon’s Mean Machine, Duracell, Prince Nymph, Jig PT #14-18, Zebra Midge #18-20. STREAMERS - Double Gonga #08, Zonkers #06 & #08 in Natural, Olive, or Yellow. Buggers #06-12, Dungeon or Peanut Envy in Yellow, Brown, Olive, and White.

Specifics

Water Flow

1500cfs (average for this time of year)

Visibility

36"

Water temperature at mid-day

33 degrees

Water Condition

Clarity is good.

Best time of day to fish

Late morning through evening.

Best stretch

Lots of ice throughout the river.

Best access point

Multiple access points all along the river.

Fish species

Rainbows, westslope cutthroats, cut-bows, browns, pike and whitefish.

Fishing season

Fishing season is open year round.

Nearest airport

Missoula International Airport

Recommended fly fishing leader

From a boat - 7.5' 3x-4x. Wading step it up to 9'

Recommended fly fishing tippet

3x top bug and 4x for second or 4x to 5x for smaller rigs

Best fly fishing rod

9ft 5 or 6 weights for nymphing and dries - 7wt for streamers

Best floating fly line

WF 5wt or 6wt

Best sinking fly line

3ips