Thompson River Trout
Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The Thompson River in
The Thompson River is 55 mile long tributary of the
lower Clarke Fork River in Northwestern Montana. It
originates from Upper Thompson Lake but within a
relatively short distance, flows through the Middle
Thompson and Lower Thompson Lakes. Most of the
land along the Thompson River is owned by private
timber companies. The lower section flows through the
Lolo National Forest.

The Thompson River is a rather small stream below
Lower Thompson Lake. Tributary streams along the way
add to the flow enough that it can be fished from a small
pontoon type drift boat or canoe in its upper section.
There are some riffles, runs and fast water sections in
the lower part of the river.

The entire river can be waded except on high water. The
river stays very clear in spite of heavy logging in the
area. The flows are generally moderate to slow. Fly
fishing the Thompson River is a very pleasurable

The river has a good population of trout, consisting
mostly of brook, cutthroat and rainbow trout. There are
plenty of whitefish and even some Bull trout in the mix.

The thing that's unique about fly fishing the Thompson
River is the fact that even though it flows through very
remote land, access is very easy. Roads follow along
most of the river.

Dry fly fishing on the Thompson River can be great at
times. Its smooth flows give the trout plenty of
opportunity to see your flies, so good imitations and
presentations are often a must. There are lots of
different species of aquatic insects including mayflies,
caddisflies and stoneflies. Terrestrial insects are also
important as well as Sculpin and other baitfish.

Better logging practices and fishery management
regulations have improved the stream over what it once
was. The Thompson River is well on its way to becoming
another of Montana's great trout streams.

Fly fishing the Thompson River follows the Montana
general trout season regulations.
Springtime is a good time. Even the runoff has little
effect on it. Hatches are very plentiful.
Summertime is a good time to fish the river.
Early Fall can also provide some good fly fishing

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Trout Flies
Type of Stream

Rainbow Trout
Cutthroat Trout
Brook Trout

Small to Medium

Northwestern Montana

Nearest Towns
Thompson Falls Montana

3rd Sat. May - Nov 30th

Access is very good

Non-Resident License
State of Montana

National Weather Service Link

USGS Stream Flow Data:
Below Thompson Falls

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and
Trout Flies
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Thompson River
Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.

2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.

3. Email us (
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.

All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
Priority Mail.