Blackfoot River Fishing Report near East Missoula, Montana
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Fishing Info for the Blackfoot River
by Marty M
on December 20th
In 1976 a story about the Blackfoot River appeared in A River Runs Through It and Other Stories told of a river with some of the most beautiful scenery the author had ever seen. Then in 1987 in an interview the same author said the river was a mess, loaded with boats and people. It appears lots of people saw the story, liked what the saw, and brought friends. Most people thought that this was a bad thing but without the influx of people there might not have been as much public pressure to clean up the pollution from the Mike Horse Mine spill (in 1975 the dam holding their toxic waste failed and 100,000 tons of it was dumped into the river). Today there are still people trying to clean it up with Trout Unlimited in the front lines. The upper reaches are mostly cleaned up and decent brookies, a few large brown trout, and some of the last fluvial grayling in the US. Farther down the river the numbers of fish pick up and you are in rainbow country. Where the water is as rambunctious as a 5 year old on coffee are some of the best areas to fish. The best time to fish for the rainbows in in the spring before the runoff affects the river too much and starts back up again once the trees lose their leaves. For rainbows the usual large streamers and nymphs work. Good fishing continues down to the confluence of Clark Fork at Bonner near where the river is impounded. That’s the good news for the river. There are still bad things that affect the river every year, though including low water and overfishing. Trout Unlimited and WMFP are working together to solve some of the problems. For instance you cannot keep any bull trout, or cutthroat, or grayling. You can, however, keep rainbows and browns but there are special regs for different parts of the river so be sure you know which ones affects the section you are fishing. Second when flows start to get low they will call anglers, and bait shops and landowners and ask them to not use as much water and to only go fishing in the morning when the warmer water isn’t as much of a factor. The future of the river has troubles facing it but with help from the public, MFWP, and Trout Unlimited hopefully we can get the river back to where it used to be. Good luck fishing!
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