Copyright 2015 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Gear and Trout Flies for the Clark Fork River Montana
If you want to enjoy the small trout in the headwaters and upper sections of the Clark Fork
River, you may want to use a light rod to catch them. We would say the ideal fly line size would
be a 4 weight, floating fly line.
If you fish for the browns and rainbow trout in the larger sections of the river we would
recommend a 5 weight fly line. It would deliver most flies that are ideal for most of the fly
fishing. If you fish streamers and nymphs, then we would go a little larger. We think a 6 weight
line would be more desirable. You may want a sinking tip for the streamers.
If you fish for the smaller trout as well as the larger ones, you would want a fly rod to handle
each of the above line sizes. The four, five and six weight rods should be nine feet in length. A
medium to medium fast action would be best in our opinion. This would make the rod more
The reels for the 4, 5 and 6 weight lines should have good drags. You don't want to hang a
large brown or rainbow trout and loose it because of a poor drag. It should be smooth and
adjust to fine increments.
You should probably be using at least a 9 foot leader anywhere you fish the Clark Fork River
unless you are fishing streamers. You may want to use a short leader of 3 or 4 feet for certain
streamer flies. There are some situation where you may want to go up to 12 feet on the leader
length, such as when you are fishing the Trico hatches that occur in parts of the river. You
should have leaders in sizes ranging from 0X for streamers, up to 6X for small dry flies.
Carry plenty of extra tippet in sizes ranging from 0X to 6X.
Waders are necessary and we suggest them even if your use a drift boat. You may want to get
out and fish certain areas. We prefer the breathable type but you may need neoprene waders
if you are fishing during the winter.
Most of the bottom is either mud or soft soil or it is small gravel ranging from pecan size gravel
up to baseball size stones. The canyon sections usually have mostly rock bottoms. Felt soles
would be our choice. The new rubber soles may work well. We haven't tried them there yet.
Although a landing net is optional, we recommend one. There are some large trout in this river.
We always recommend our "Perfect Fly" Trout Flies. We have specific imitations of every
important insect that hatches on the Clark Fork River. It is best to use the hatch chart and
select the flies to use for the period of time you will be fishing.
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