Fly Fishing in Dillon Montana is a major part of the local culture and economy. The seemingly endless miles of rivers make it an epicenter of world class trout fishing. We are fortunate to have a fly shop and guide service right in the middle of Montana’s most productive and revered fisheries. Plenty of towns call themselves the fly fishing capitol of Montana but none have the number of rivers and diversity in terms of water types and options as Dillon.
An Abundance of Local Rivers
There are four primary rivers that are considered the home waters but they are far from the only options. Look over a map and you will find numerous creeks, lakes and reservoirs that all are incredible fisheries. Many of these are overshadowed by the famous fisheries but they offer great opportunities for anglers wanting to explore. Clark Canyon Reservoir, Grasshopper Creek, Bloody Dick Creek and plenty of other local fisheries have great fish counts.
This is Dillon’s home water and is also one of the most productive trout fisheries in the state and the country for that matter. It’s a narrow, meandering river that is a tailwater with added spring spring influence. The water is always cold and the high nutrient levels create incredible trout habitat. The fish are big, strong and well fed from the prolific hatches. The Beaverhead River begins at the outflow from Clark Canyon Reservoir. The first mile of river is popular because it holds a significant number of large fish in a spring creek type setting. You can wade or float fish from the dam all the way to Dillon and beyond.
Big Hole River
The famed Big Hole river is a short drive from Dillon and a favorite day trip for local guides. This freestone river is productive during the spring, summer and fall months and it has several major hatch events that spike trout activity. The early summer salmonfly hatch is nothing short of exceptional here and it brings the biggest trout to the surface. Salmonflies are followed by prolific hatches of golden stones, caddis and a variety of mayflies and the fishing is consistent throughout the summer. Spruce moths arrive in the late summer and continue through early fall as well. If you’re after great scenery and fishing on a classic Montana freestone, this is the river to fish.
Another great freestone, the Jefferson is often overshadowed by the other major rivers in the area. Formed by the Beaverhead, Big Hole and Ruby Rivers, the Jefferson begins at Twin Bridges and runs to it’s confluence with the Madison and Gallatin at the Missouri River Headwaters. Fly fishing the Jefferson River is not as popular so expect fewer people on this unique river. While it doesn’t have the high fish counts found on the Beaverhead and Big Hole, it does have a healthy population of hard fighting rainbows and browns with the occasional monster brown trout being uncovered. If you like fishing streamers and hunting for big fish, the Jefferson is worth exploring.
If you had to describe a wade fishing paradise, the Ruby would check all of the boxes. The river has beatiful runs, riffles and meandering sections with deep, undercut banks. It has a mix of public access and private ranchlands in a river bottom environment that is loaded with wildlife. Oh yeah, it’s also chock full of trout with some big ones in the mix. It’s not hard to spend an entire day picking through every subtle, trout holding feature in a short stretch of river here.
World Class Habitat and Hatches
Dillon might have a ton of water but the fishing is great because that water has excellent habitat. Many of the rivers run through agricultural producing valleys that are sparsely populated and the riparian areas are protected to maintain prevent erosion and maintain excellent water quality. The Beaverhead and Ruby Rivers also have the benefit of springs that keep water temps low throughout the hot summer months. This leads to rich food sources, high trout populations and plenty of chances to land some very healthy fish. The hatches keep the trout well fed and a few grow so large that they turn into true predators, feeding on mice and other fish.
Great Access and Camping
Montana waters are friendly for the general public because everything inside the high water mark is open to fishing and recreation. You will find riverside campgrounds, public boat launches and wade fishing access points. Be respectful of land owners and enjoy the rivers inside of high water mark. There’s plenty of water to explore and some fun spots to camp near the rivers.
Dillon Montana Fly Fishing Shops
Before you hit the river, stop and say hi at the Frontier Anglers fly shop. We are located right off the interstate and are happy to share our most productive flies and techniques for fly fishing Dillon Montana. River conditions are always changing and our guides have daily fishing reports to share with anyone who stops in the store. The fly shop is fully stocked with everything from waders and boots to rods, reels and lines. Clothing, coolers and all the fun toys are available year-round. We hope to see you soon.