the Jefferson River
The Jefferson River, as mentioned, is predominantly a brown trout river.
Rainbows, due to frequent low water, high temperatures and bouts with
whirling disease, have taken a beating in the Jefferson River. The entire
river is currently catch-and-release for rainbow trout.
The best fly fishing on the Jefferson River is found in the upper section,
between Twin Bridges and Cardwell. In this section, brown trout averaging
twelve to fourteen inches are common. As the Jefferson River is inhabited
primarily by brown trout, fly fishing on the surface produces little
action. Fly fishing the Jefferson River, as in other brown trout waters,
requires using large streamer or nymphs to catch the larger fish. During
the summer, popular choices include Muddler Minnows, Prince Nymphs and
Matukas. The Jefferson River does have solid caddis hatches, but the
larger fish will rarely be caught using an elk hair caddis or similar
For the angler who only wants to fly fish on top, solid action can be
had in late summer using hoppers. The Jefferson River flows through good
hopper country, especially on the lower twenty miles where hayfields
frequently come up to the bank. Hoppers floated right along the banks
can often entice large browns up to the surface.
The best and most consistent fly fishing on the Jefferson River occurs
during the fall. During the fall, the brown trout congregate at the mouths
of the many inlet streams that feed into the Jefferson.
The Jefferson River, as it is fairly wide and can be quite deep, is
most easily fished by boat. The Jefferson River does have very good access,
but its depth and width can make reaching the prime fly fishing spots
difficult for anglers lacking a fishing
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