For many fisherman in western Montana, life revolves around fly fishing. And contrary to want some people think, it is NOT just a "fair weather sport." Fly fishing is happening year round on the Bitterroot, Blackfoot and Clark Fork rivers. And, with the mild winter we have experienced so far this year, you don't have to brave icy banks to get to where the fish are biting. The only drawback is what you fish with. Midges are one of the most difficult flies to put on your line, especially when you cant feel your fingers.

According to local fly shop, Grizzly Hackle, the following are their top 5 flies to use for winter fly fishing in western Montana.

1. San Juan Worm

It might possibly be Montana’s best fly.  At any given time of the year you can catch trout on San Juan’s.

2. Pat’s Rubberleg Stonefly

Stoneflies are a huge part of our trout’s diet. you can fish stoneflies all year long and our trout will eat them.

3. Lightning Bug

This flashy nymph is a great winter pattern no matter where you go.

4. Pheasant Tail

PT’s might be the best general nymph pattern on the planet. Anywhere trout live you can be sure that they’ll eat this fly.

5. Griffith’s Gnat

In the winter the fish don’t rise much, but at the end of an upper 30’s or 40’s day in winter you can find fish eating midges at the tailouts and back eddies.

If you plan to hit the water this winter. Take some advice from our favorite fishing guide, Hank Patterson.


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