The Vermillion River in NW Montana has absolutely NO fly fishing pressure. Why? Idaho fly fishers and Montana fly fishers have absolutely no desire to go there. The fishing however is quite good and even our first pass there was productive though we had no idea what flies would produce.
Located an equidistance from Spokane, Kalispell and Missoula, it takes at least 3 hours to get there. Well why would one travel by plane and car that far to fish? To catch large numbers of multiple types of trout and not fight with other fly fishers. Now realize, this is not the typical western river. As a matter of fact, it is more like a stream or creek rather than a "river". But we did catch rainbow, colorful brook and cutthroat in the short 5 hours we fished there.
Directions: Find scenic Hwy 200 in Montana the turn north onto Blue Slide Road about 4 miles west of Trout Creek, MT. Go 4 miles on paved Blue Slide on the north side of the Clark Fork and look for the signs. You will turn north along the west side of the river. There are some falls about 8-10 mile north on the now gravel road, but we fished below the falls beginning at milepost 5.
Gear: You will need waders, for there is not anywhere near enough water after snow melt to float, and I used a 6 1/2 foot 3 weight rod which was perfect. There is definitely too much overgrowth on the stream side for anything longer than 8 feet. There is a fair amount of current, so the more mature fly fishers (= "older") may like to bring a wading staff as well.
Flies: The action was initially on #10 Yellow Humpies & #16 PMD's in the am and after 90 degrees #18 BWO's in the pm. The dries were definitely the ticket. Most areas are too shallow for stripping streamers and drifting nymphs. You really didn't need a long leader for the cutthroat were ravenous in the riffles.
The Fish: We caught mostly 8"-12" brooks and rainbows and cutthroat, but we did land two nice 16" cutties.
Anyway, a really good little stream and worth the trip. There are a lot of other local fisheries like the Kootenai, Bull, Moyie and Clark Fork. So make the trip. You will not be disappointed. Hard takes, tight lines and good fishing.
Tags: Bull River - Montana
Clark Fork River