Blackfoot River Fishing Report

The Blackfoot may not be the world’s longest or most majestic river, but it is certainly well known. First made famous by Norman Maclean’s moving story, it became a permanent part of the American imagination with the 1992 release of Robert Redford’s legendary movie. A favorite for floaters, the river offers scenic diversity and variation in flows from placid meandering to white water rapids. Filled with large populations of Montana’s only two truly indigenous salmonids, the Cutthroats and Bull trout, it is also host to Rainbows, Cutbows, Browns and Mountain Whitefish throughout its entire length. The Blackfoot Valley is regarded as a fully intact ecosystem, still thought to contain every species of fauna present before the first Europeans arrived – one of only 12 such remaining ecosystems on earth.

Starting out a leisurely pace, the upper portion of the river runs slow and easy through narrow channels and dense forest. From there it flows into a large, open plain, and the first of many intermediate rapids start a few miles above the Scoot Brown Bridge. As it enters the Blackfoot River Recreation area, the speed picks up, but it is from Sperry Grade, five miles down from the Scotty Brown Bridge, that white water appears. For the next seven miles floaters are challenged with Class III rapids and sizeable waves that eventually ease off as you approach Bonner Dam.

The initial 22 miles of the river down to Lincoln, offer little to entice fly fishers. Best fished waded, the appearance of Brown trout begins to pick up on the stretch from Lincoln to Mineral Hill. While the section of river from Mineral Hill to Cedar Meadows looks short on a map, it actually consists of 18 miles of rugged twists and turns. The water is slow through here so inflatable kayaks and canoes are highly recommended. At about the halfway point of the river, the Barefoot gains velocity and continues with quick to moderate flows all the way down to Clark Fork. Wildlife is abundant here, home to grizzlies, elk, bighorn sheep, cougar, lynx, wolf and deer.
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On its way to the Missouri Headwaters, the Jefferson River passes through an assorted landscape. At the town of Twin Bridges, Montana the Ruby River, Beaverhead River and Big Hole ... moreRiver converge to form the Jefferson. In its early stages the river advances past hay fields, large stands of cottonwood and agricultural landscapes. As the river reaches the town of Cardwell, the Jefferson is then flanked by large canyon walls, home to Lewis and Clark Caverns. Downstream of the canyon the river again proceeds through farm and ranchland laced with cottonwood trees until joining the Madison and Gallatin rivers. Though fishing on the Jefferson can be less consistent than on some of our other rivers, it can certainly make up for it with some very special moments. When the Jefferson is good, it can be great!
Additional Information
The Blackfoot river is a tributary of the Clark Fork River
Continental Divide
Clark Fork River
75 miles
Seasonal Conditions
SpringSeason starts mid-March; dredging nymphs and steamers
SummerPost runoff, Salmon Fly hatch; swollen waters yield 18” to 24” trophy Browns
FallAggressive spawning yields big Blackfoot Browns; Giant Orange Sedge hatches
WinterClear water, low water levels, relatively cool 36 degrees or less, all fish present
Latest Guide Fishing Reports
Guide Reports
The Blackfoot is not fishing well right now and other river options are recommended. It is still iced up and is not floatable.
Fishing Water Report:
Monday, 1 Feb, 2016
With the storm that has moved in and this being a cold part of Montana, you might want to try a different area. It will be warming up later on this week with sun in the forecast for ... moreSaturday and a high of 40 s. This could be a good fish day. I recommend Blue-winged Olives and streamers. You can also try a Red San Juans for occasional trout. Give it another month or so and the Trout will be more active on the springs.
Fishing Water Report:
Tuesday, 15 Dec, 2015
It is cold this time of year in this part of Montana. Be careful and watch for the ice. Make sure to find a steady spot to wade fish. This river has begun the winter fishing mode. ... moreIf it warms up you can try midges but if it stays cold, you will get the most productivity out of nymphing. Consider using an indicator or double nymphing. Inside the seams seems to be the most productive. Streamers have been working as well.
Fishing Water Report:
Tuesday, 1 Dec, 2015
Time for streamers, midges, tiny baetis, and lots and lots of nymphs. Tandem nymph rigs and heavy streamers will be your best bets. This weather is making things tougher.
Fishing Water Report:
Sunday, 15 Nov, 2015
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The Blackfoot River is a majestic river ideal for fly fishing. Every angler should put the blackfoot on their bucket list. The guide staff at the Upland Angler is an extremely qualified, ... moreexperienced group of professionals who have grown up fishing the local waters. We specialize in the Balckfoot River and provide a variety of skills from beginner anglers, to experts alike. No matter where or how you choose to fish, we will strive to make your experience a truly enjoyable one.
Current Forecast
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Top Fly Fishing Rivers in the US
River is rated as one of the top trout fishing rivers inthe US by Bob Mallard, author of 25 Best Towns - Fly Fishing for Trout
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