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beaverhead river fly fishing

If you had to profile the perfect trout river, the Beaverhead would be pretty dang close to having everything an angler wants. It’s wade and boat friendly, has great fish densities, large rainbow and brown trout, big hatches, cold water and it meanders through a scenic valley. The fishing is consistent and as good as it gets.

Beaverhead River Fishing Seasons

The season is long and many locals fish the river nearly year-round. In the spring, consistent flows make it a great option, especially while other rivers experience runoff events. The water temperatures also lead to early season hatches and the fish do not have that skinny post-winter build. They have been feeding all winter and are still fat and healthy. May is a great month to fish here but you will find excellent fishing from April through November. The summer months are popular for a reason and the fall can bring out big brown trout from their hidden lies under deep cutbanks. 

Beaverhead River Hatches

The rare combination of tailwater flow controls and spring influence create a rich subaquatic ecosystem. Aquatic insect life is abundant and diverse in this river and the hatches are spectacular. On any given day, you will find a variety of active insect life with many major hatch events often overlapping. If you enjoy casting selective, rising trout - this THE river to fish. 

The spring season is filled with midge and BWO hatches that consistently bring fish to the surface. Of course, fishing the subsurface imitations is also very effective. Caddis hatches also can boom during April and May. As the temperatures rise, chasing the PMD and Yellow sally hatches is a ton of fun. Both of these yellow insects get the big fish moving on dry flies. Crane flies also have a major influence throughout the summer and can move the biggest fish to the surface. Add teh late summer hoppers and tricos and it’s no wonder this river has so many big trout.

As summer turns to fall, the hopper and trico hatches continue to dominate with craneflies continuing to influence surface action as well. As the fall plays out, BWO hatches return along with midges in the colder late fall weather.   

Boat Ramps and Access Points

Access is fantastic on the best trout fishing sections. The river below town runs through farmland and while it still has access, the fish counts are lower. You can start fishing immediately below the spillway at Clark Canyon Reservoir. This section of river opens the third Saturday in May and it has big fish that are often selective fun for sight fishing. 

Clark Canyon Dam - The stretch immediately below the dam has great access with outhouses and camping. This tailwater section is popular and has some of the biggest fish and most consistent hatches. The fish are notoriously picky here so bring your A-Game.

High Bridge - Follow the frontage road from the Clark Canyon exit until you hit the underpass. This is an easy place to launch a boat or jump in for wade access. There are multiple pullouts for wade access along the frontage road as well.

Hennebury - This is a great developed site for wade fishing and boat launches. It’s a common take out for floats starting at the dam or high bridge as well.  

Pipe Organ - One of several common access points along the river, you can wade or boat fish from here.

Grasshopper Creek - The creek is a fun little fishery to explore. The access site is convenient for the Beaverhead as well. 

Corrals - The last access before Barrett’s Diversion, the Corrals are good for wading and as a takeout for boats launching upriver. 

Barrett’s - This is another dam site that diverts water for agriculture. It also means the flows below the dam are significantly lower during the summer irrigation season. The fishing from Clark Canyon all the way to Barrett’s is fantastic however. 

Poindexter Slough - The slough itself is a spring creek that can fish well if your timing is right. 

Dillon - There are multiple access points around town, including the I-15 bridge. The fishing can be great through town.

Below Dillon - Access is limited through the agricultural zone below town. Water temperatures are higher and fish counts lower but the adventurous can still have a great time exploring.  

Monitor the Flows

As a tailwater and spring fed fishery, the flows are very stable. You will not experience any runoff events or blow outs. This means you can arrive at any time and have great fishing without worrying about drastic flow changes. Flows are largely based on calls for irrigation water but they do not surge or fall in a manner that greatly alters the fishing. The river also remains floatable throughout the fishing season. 

Plan Your Beaverhead River Fly Fishing Trip

We live and breathe the Beaverhead River and planning is easy with our shop resources and world class guide staff. Stop in for the latest fishing reports, current hatches, best flies and to stock up on gear. If you really want to experience the best of the Beaverhead River, book a float trip with one of our guides and spend the day fishing from a raft or drift boat.