Location, Location, Location
You’ve heard it a thousand times in real-estate but it is much more important in fishing. The Clark Fork Outpost (CFO) is on the Clark Fork River in its most exclusive stretch, just a few miles downstream from the confluence of the St. Regis and Clark Fork rivers. Across from the Outpost there are no roads, trains or highways … just eight beautiful river miles of forest.
I’ve been fishing the waters of Montana my entire life so when I pick a place to put a lodge there is a reason.
The CFO is surrounded by over a hundred miles of the lower Clark Fork. We can put in and take out at the CFO which reduces windshield time and keeps us in the water. The Clark Fork is best characterized as big water, not easily wade fished without a boat. It has delicious flats to stalk rising fish throughout the different seasons. Riffles merge the flats with productive places to find fish …throw in the famous Clark Fork foam lines and eddies and you have the best big fish dry fly stream in Montana…without the crowds.
Type of Fish
The CF is known for its sturdy West Slope Cutthroats, sparkling Rainbows and bug crushing Cutt-Bows that have humbled more than a few anglers with their speed and determination. On a rare occasion we will see a Bull, Brown or Brook Trout. (grand slams are possible)
The CF Fishing can be broken down into three season. Early, summer, and fall. The early season runs March through April. This is the best time of the year to catch mister big on a dry fly. Spring fly-fishing can be some of the most productive for big fish since they have all have been semi-dormant during winter and are now hungry and eager to take a well-placed fly.
Time of Day
The best times of day are between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on most days. On cloudy days that are cool, the prime time’s shorten and hatch activity may slow down. On bright, warm days the Skwalla stonefly will be the bug of choice. Along with the Skwalla we have the big Grey Drake (Western March Brown), and the Blue-Winged Olive in the Mayfly category. In addition to these we can anticipate the American Grannom Caddis will make its April appearance to round out our fishing menu.
Scroll down to see a detailed hatch calendar for western Montana.
Fly Fishing Hatch Calendar | Western Montana
Fly Hatch Information
- Skwalla Stonefly (Skwalia Paralaila)# 10 Olive Stone use low profile pattern (olive bullethead)
- Nomoridae (#14), Louctridne (#12) Little Brown/Black Stonefly use brown/black bodied bulletheads
- Skwalla Stonefly on Clark Fork and Rock Creek
- Blue Winged Olive (Baetis)#16,18 olive bodied mayfly parachutes, cripples, thorax – with olive dubbing
- Grey Drake (Ameletus) #12 mayfly on Clark Fork and Bitterroot,Yellowish/brown body, huge wing, use deerhair post parachute, try fast stripping a skinny, slender #10 prince/P.T nymph
- March Brown (Rithrogena Morrisoni) #14 mayfly on Rock Creek and Blackfoot, use deerhair post parachute, dead drift hare’s ear nymphs (looks like grey drake)
- Gray Caddis (Brachycentrus)#16 elk hair or goddard
- Blue Winged Olive continue sporatically (good on cloudy days) throughout this month on all four main rivers
- Salmonfly (Pteronercys)#6 orange stonefly, starts 2nd to 3rd week of this month on Rock Creek
- Salmonfly on Blackfoot and some on Clark Fork and Bitterroot
- Golden Stonefly (Calinsuria)#8-10 golden bodied stonefly -on all four main rivers – use yellow stimi’s and madom X’s
- Pale Morning Dun (Ephomerella lnfrequens) Creamish-bodied #14-16 mayfly –hatches in early afternoon– try cripples, parachutes, and thoraxes
- Pale Evening Dun (Hoptagenia/Eporous) Yellowish bodied mayfly –hatches in the early evening– same patterns as PMD
- Green Drake (Ephomerelia Grandis/Drunelia) #10 mayfly- fat dark green body -dark, dark grey wings – use Lawson’s paradrake, big cripples, and fat bodied chutes
- Caddia (Hydropsyche)tan and olive caddis #12-16, use elk-hairs, goddards, and LaFontaine’s caddis pupa emerger
- Goldens continue on Blackfoot – use stimi’s PMD, PED continue on all four main rivers
- Hoppers (Grasshopperidea)use #6-10 parachute hoppers
- Hoppers continue
- Trico’s (Tricorythode)last week of this month – use #20-22 thread bodied parachutes
- Blue winged Olives in the last couple of weeks
- Trico’s continue into the first couple of weeks
- Blue Winged Olives start up again a one/two weeks into this month – use same patterns as above
- Mahogany Dun (Paraleptaphlebia) #14-16 purplish/ brown bodied mayfly – start about the same time as the Baetis (2nd or third week)- use rust bodied parachutes, wulffs, and cripples
- Mahoganies, Baetis continue – great midge action late October
- Midges continue throughout this month on warmer days especially
Ready to learn more?
I bet you are wondering about lodging and meals, or perhaps you prefer to learn more about the outfitter, Mike Hillygus.