The Beaverhead River is undoubtedly one of the finest trophy trout rivers in Montana.
Originating at the outflow of Clark Canyon Dam, the Beaverhead River is a small tailwater with large fish. The Beaverhead is narrow and willow-lined over its entire length. There is never a dull moment as anglers drift and or wade the river. We are unaware of any fishery that allows fishermen to see and sight fish to as many nice trout as the Beaverhead. The fifteen miles of water that twist and turn from Clark Canyon Dam to Barrett’s Diversion is some of the best trophy trout fishing in the country. We are fortunate to have had four good water years in a row and are happy to say that the Beaverhead is back to reclaim its place amongst the best fisheries in the West!
The abundant and large brown and rainbow trout of the Beaverhead eat a variety of flies throughout the season. Nymph fishing is always productive. Streamer fishing can be fast and furious. Small dry fly fishing peaks in mid-summer and some of the best big dry, big fish fishing that we’ve ever seen anywhere takes place in late summer.
Similar to the Big Hole River, outfitting and guiding usage was capped in 1997. This translates to less crowded fishing as angling pressure continues to rise on many other rivers. Anglers seeking even more solitude might be interested in fishing portions of the river downstream where we have private access.
HATCHES & FLY PATTERS
As our summer season progresses, fish will also be found feeding on a host of terrestrials. And when it comes to fishing for cannibalistic, wild trout, the Beaverhead’s inhabitants are more than happy to choke down a mouse, small fish, crayfish, or as one of our guides saw, a snake. Wading anglers beware! In March, prolific hatches of blue wing olives and midges kick off our dry fly fishing, followed by the famous Mothers Day Caddis hatch, somewhere around the end of April or first of May. Sometime shortly after the 20th of June, the PMDs (pale morning duns) will appear. In short succession, hatches of little Yellow Sallies and numerous different species of caddis stay strong throughout the month of July.
These three major hatches—PMDs, Yellow Sallies, and Caddis—will continue for most of the summer season with varying degrees of intensity. On most years you’ll see PMD’s and little Yellow Sallies last clear into the first week of September, with larger and larger Caddis becoming more prevalent in mid-September. During the first week of August, we start to see Tricos and of course this is when the big “riffle” craneflies start their descent on area waters and can provide the most outrageous dry fly fishing of the year! Excellent dry fly fishing continues until we get the really cold weather towards the end of November. With a good mixture of both Brown and Rainbow trout in the upper Beaverhead River, anglers can expect to catch a number of fine trout on most any day of the fishing season.