The Bitterroot Valley is one of the great natural wonders of Montana. These series of waterways stretches for 80 miles, with the Sapphire Range to the east and the Bitterroot Mountains to the east. It is no surprise that so many people come here to unwind and enjoy the great outdoors. Hikers can trek the forests while keen fisherman take advantage of the bountiful rivers.
Where to fish in the Bitterroot valley.
Lots of local fisherman will advocate a particular site as the best in the region. It all depends on the fish you are after and the experience you want. There are plenty of local lakes and rivers that offer a great chance of a good catch. The scenery and tranquil experience also makes up for any losses. Just make sure to play fair and abide by the rules here in Bitterroot Valley. The licensing and local fishing regulations are pretty fair here. Stick to designated sites and the ordinary high-water mark. There is no need to disrespect the land and its wildlife for the sake of one catch.
There are 13 fishing access sites in total around the Bitterroot Valley, all of which are maintained by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. It is advisable to stick to one of these areas for the best experience. Most sites are well suited to all types of fishermen. A selection also have a boat ramp for access from the water. Chief Looking Glass and Hannon Memorial also have camping grounds, for those that want to make a night of it.
Fishing by boat in the Bitterroot Valley.
The range of terrain means that there are fishing opportunities for all kinds of fishermen. Many will prefer to stay on shore, while others look into boat rentals. Como and Painted Rocks are great lakes for those that want to fish by boat. These deep waters have well maintained fish stocks and great views. Visitors can rent a boat and try their luck, but just be aware that other visitors may rent jet skis here too. Also remember that the water levels can decrease quite a bit in the height of summer.
The valley is home to lots of species of fish, as well as other enchanting residents.
So what type of fish can we find here? For many fisherman, it is all about the trout. Cutthroat and Bull Trout are the most plentiful, but there are also Rainbow and Brown Trout too. The trout are ideal for dry fly fisherman as the skim the tops of the rivers and stream. Elsewhere, other fisherman enjoy the chance to catch the Mountain Whitefish and Pike that occasionally appear in the valley.
It is not just the fish that make the Bitterroot Valley such a joyful place to fish. The bird life here is plentiful and there are lots of opportunities to get a good view of some of the natural predators of the fish. Eagles and ospreys may come down and take a few while you enjoy your time on the riverbank. Great Blue Herons give us all a lesson in patience.
When should you come and fish in Bitterroot?
The beauty of fishing in the Bitterroot Valley is that you can come here all year round. Different species spawn and hatch throughout the year, giving a different taste to each season. Few try their luck in the depths of winter and wait for the stonefly hatch of March to kick the year off. A great time for trout fishing is during the vast hatches of the Skwala and Salmonfly in March and June. These insect swarm in large numbers and attract the attention of the fish, almost acting like a secondary form of bait! On the subject of bait, most would recommend using fry flies for an easier approach. The trout love to go for these critters at any time of year.
Whenever you come to Bitterroot, you are sure to have a great time exploring the local rivers and lakes. If you land a great catch then that is just the icing on the cake of a great experience. Take some time to read up on local regulations and designated areas. Also, don’t underestimate the power of local knowledge. Bitterroot Valley has a lot to offer and you won’t leave disappointed.