Fly Fishing Adventures

October Streamer Fishing on The Clark Fork in Montana

October Streamer Fishing on The Clark Fork in Montana

When life throws you a curveball, rescheduling a long-awaited fly fishing trip becomes a sweet victory. That's precisely what happened for me after an unfortunate ACL injury while playing tennis in August forced me to cancel our original trip to Montana. Determined to make the most of it, my family and I rescheduled our trip to coincide with our son's birthday. Nervous about my knee's recovery and the prospect of standing in a boat all day, I embarked on a journey that would rekindle my love for fly fishing in Montana.

We were in the good company of my friend Aaron Bonsall, a remarkable guide and an all-around great person. Our chosen destination: the upper Clark Fork River outside of Missoula, a treasure trove for brown trout, which we aimed to target with streamers all day.

The Clark Fork, Montana

Standing at the front of the boat and casting streamers in pursuit of large fish is a thrill like no other for me. I've always been a fan of fishing with an 8-weight rod, and our El Jefe 8 weight combo is an exceptional choice. Its power makes casting large streamers, including some of Aaron's humorous comparisons like a "wet gym sock," an effortless endeavor. Streamer fishing, in my view, offers anglers an excellent chance to connect with something substantial, and the brown trout we sought were preparing to spawn, making it a prime time for an exciting catch.

Though we didn't land any monster fish on this trip, we consistently connected with aggressive and stunning brown trout from our launch point to where we concluded our journey. Towards the end of the float, we even stumbled upon a few cutthroat trout, adding a delightful surprise to our day.

Clark Fork Cutthroat Trout

There's something magical about fall fly fishing in Montana that keeps me coming back year after year. The scenery is captivating, the number of anglers on the water diminishes, the leaves paint a stunning picture, and the weather, crisp and perfect, was nothing short of ideal for our trip.

Aggressive Little Montana Brown Trout

Our strategy for the day was crucial to our success. When throwing large streamers, we made sure to cast the fly a bit behind the boat, allowing it to land within inches of the rocks or banks. Targeting structure is key since rocks, logs, and brush piles often serve as hideouts for trout. We angled the fly's path to swim downstream, as this mimicked the natural behavior of baitfish and increased our chances of a strike. The moment the fly hit the water, we'd pop it, aiming for a reaction strike. Most of the time, the fly was devoured within a second or two of hitting the water.

Streamer Eating Brown Trout of Montana's Clark Fork

Spending the day on the water with Aaron was an absolute pleasure. We soaked in the breathtaking scenery, engaged in wonderful conversation, and shared the joy of catching some of Montana's most beautiful trout.

Aaron Bonsell with a nice Clark Fork Rainbow

In the end, our rescheduled trip proved to be a triumph. It was a reminder of the immense beauty and allure of Montana's rivers, the excitement of streamer fishing, and the camaraderie found on the water. As we headed back home, my family and I left with cherished memories and a newfound appreciation for the magic of Montana's fall fly fishing.

Until Next Time, Tight Lines My Friend, 


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