Lower Clark Fork River Fishing Report 8.9.17

clark fork river report

It didn't take long for me to hit the the Clark Fork after I saw flows at 6,000 cfs, and holding strong. Conditions were great! Not a cloud in the sky and an occasional breeze to keep me cool. Water clarity was excellent. There wasn't much of a hatch going on. The caddis clung to the streamside trees. Occasionally a cutthroat exploded on the surface, but not frequently enough to predict when the next rise might occur. Surprisingly,I didn't see the occasional white mayfly I usually find on the water this time of year.

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Fishing was fairly tough. We spent close to four hours on the water, and only had a handful of trout to show for it. I did swung up a beautiful 15" cutthroat on a #6 olive Woolly Bugger . . . on my second cast of the day. A few casts later, I missed what felt like a small fish, or a timid eat. I threw a few of my favorite dries at the sporadically rising trout, and had one stunning 18" rainbow eat my #14 purple Rocky Mountain Mint. Unfortunately for me, right when I thought I had him beat, my knot unbuttoned. I watched him smugly swim away, like he knew he had beat me. I had a few words I wanted to say, but didn't because I had no one to blame but myself. Other than that, I nymphed up one rocky mountain bonefish on a #18 red Copper John.

If I were to go to the Clark Fork again today, I would concentrate on the evening hours. We only fished from 1 to 5 p.m., and I know the last hour of light is key on these hot summer days. Be sure to have different sizes of caddis patterns. I saw everything from size 14 to 20. If they aren't eating the caddis, throw a #12 purple Hippie Stomper, #14 Purple Haze, #12 H&L Variant, or a #12 Royal Wulff. Want to swing? Toss a #6 olive Woolly Bugger, a #6 Polar Minnow, or a #2 Complex Twist Fall.

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I was raised in the lettuce capital of the world Salinas, California with hunting and fishing running through my veins. I don't remember when I started fly fishing, but there are pictures of me stripping wolly buggers on Henry's Lake when I was 4 in my Snoopy life jacket. In California, I fished for every kind of bass, but my favorites are definitely striped and white bass. I am fortunate enough to spend every summer in the Yellowstone region where I get my trout fix for the year. I have worked 7 years in a few different fly shops in West Yellowstone, Montana and Last Chance, Idaho. I graduated from Colorado State University-Pueblo with a Bachelors of Science in Business Management in 2015 right before I moved up to Ponderay, Idaho where I began working for North 40 Outfitters. I love the area I currently live in and I'm always looking for more fishing or hunting partners. Stop by the Ponderay fly shop anytime and tell me of your latest fishing experience!
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