Clark Fork River

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Clark Fork River

Updated 01/26/2023 at 10:52pm

Conditions At-a-glance


Weather Forecast

Our Report

BRO’s Tips of the Week:

We’ll be thankful for this snowy, cold weather by the time summer arrives – for now, it’s going to prevent fishing after Friday this week. It’s about to dip back below zero around Missoula, and the Clark Fork won’t be a viable option for another week or so.

7 Day Outlook:

Get ready for single digits dropping below zero this weekend. Highs return to the mid-30s by late next week, which might bring the Clark Fork back into fishable shape. Otherwise, it’s a decent time to tie flies and wait for warmer weather. 

Our Recommendations for the Best Techniques and Patterns:

Running two nymphs together is a good way to get down deep, and add some split shot if you’re dropping the rig off a shelf. Try a TJ Hooker, 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, Dunnigan’s Panty Dropper, Fire Starters, and Perdigons will also hunt. Also, carry a midge or two in size 20-22 in case you see any afternoon rises.

Streamer fishing has been okay. Fishing with a slow retrieve or under a bubble is the way to go when temps are this cold. The Kreelex, Mini Dungeon, or Sparkle Minnow is what we’re fishing right now. 

See our staff pick fly selection here!

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USGS Water Charts


Conditions are cold on the Clark Fork.

The Hatch

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. Lil Kims. Buggers #06-12, Dungeon in Brown, Olive, and White.


Water Flow

1100cfs (average for this time of year)



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