The Blackfoot River is located near Missoula in Western Montana. It is known for being a very diverse fishery with loads of quality sized trout. It has riffles, fast runs, and deep pools and great pocket water. Rainbow, brown, cutthroat, and the endangered bull trout are all found in the clean, cold water of the Blackfoot River.
The river begins it's journey in the Helena National Forest. The water in the upper reaches is narrow and shallow and fishing isn't really good until you get to Scotty Brown Bridge. This is just down river from the town of Ovando. Below Scotty Brown Bridge, access becomes much easier. Floating the river here will get you catching mainly Rainbows, with Browns, Cutthroat, and Bull Trout all in the mix as well.
The river here averages seventy feet across. It has deep pools and riffles and runs which give you a lot of different fishing scenarios. Floating the river is makes for a great experience, but it can be difficult to navigate in spots. Most anglers simply choose to wade fish here from one of the many access points to the river. The Blackfoot is a quality fishery all the way down to where it meets the Clark Fork River just below I-90. Access can be found at one of the many bridge crossings and along a bunch of different side roads. You can also gain access to it via Blackfoot River Recreation Corridor. This corridor has a ton of access points in which makes floating or wading easy. Located in this corridor, there is a road that extends from the Johnsrud Park Access upstream to just below Scotty Brown Bridge. This recreational area consists of many access points for anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts and is very popular. Route 200 also parallels the river here and provides access in some areas.
The Stonefly hatch is one of the most productive and important sources of protein for these fish throughout the Spring and Summer. These stoneflies include Salmon Flies, Golden Stones, and Little Yellow Sallys. Every year, large fish of over twenty-two inches come to net each year when these stoneflies are on the water. Fishing caddis patterns are productive from late April until the end of October. Tons of different mayflies hatch throughout the saeson and include Blue-winged Olives, Pale Morning Duns, Western Green Drakes, Western March Browns, and Tricos, to name a few. Fish the smaller dry flies in the calmer flat water areas to entice fish into eating. Concentrate on the faster moving areas like the riffles and runs with the larger stonefly patterns. Terrestrials, especially hoppers, are also very effective during late summer nad early fall. Throwing streamers and indicator fishing with nymphs is also productive all year long. Make sure to bring a sink tip line if you plan to get your large streamers down. Nymph fishing is most effective using a floating line with a leader approximately twice as long as the depth of the water your fishing. Slumpbusters and Copper Johns will get the job done here on a daily basis.
You can reach the Blackfoot from the Missoula area. There you will find a ton of guide services and places to stay.
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