Montana Fly Fishing
Fly Fishing the Stillwater River

Boulder River

Fly Fishing The Stillwater River

Stillwater River above the town of Nye, Montana
Photo Use Guidelines

From its origin down to the town of Nye, the Stillwater River is very lightly fished. As one might expect, fly fishing the Stillwater River on this section involves lots of pocket water fishing. With the fast current, rocks and whitewater, the rivers excellent trout populations will be held up wherever they can find shelter from the strong current.

For fly-fishing, virtually any dry fly imitation or attractor will work just fine on this stretch of the Stillwater River. The fish are not picky about what they take. The fish tend to be on the small side, between 8-10 inches. The fish in the wilderness portion of the Stillwater River consist of cutthroat, rainbow and brook trout, with an occasional golden trout as well. Spin fisherman can have success with small spoons.

Stillwater River at Castle Rock
Photo Use Guidelines

Below Nye, brown trout start showing up both in decent numbers and size. Rainbow trout and cutthroat trout are also found along this stretch.

When fishing for the brown trout, use standard brown trout tactics. Use large streamers, floating them down into the pools, along submerged obstructions and near any undercut banks that are found. Large nymphs, such as a Hare's Ear, also work well, when fished near the bottom. For the rainbow and cutthroat trout, standard dry fly and attractor patterns work as well on this section as they do further upstream. Brown trout exceeding twenty inches can be found in the Stillwater River and average 12-14 inches. Rainbow trout in this section of the Stillwater River average about 12 inches.

Beginning in July and continuing through mid-September, hoppers also work extremely well for both the rainbow trout and brown trout. Additionally, any angler who plans on fly fishing this river later in the summer should bring plenty of caddis fly imitations, such as the Elk Hair Caddis, as caddis hatches occur on the Stillwater River below Nye most evenings.

It should be noted that the Stillwater River is exceptionally rocky. A good pair of felt wading shoes is highly recommended. The rocks in the river are slick, loose and very plentiful. Combine this with the fast current and surprise holes, and you have some recipes for interesting fishing stories. Additionally, the fast current of the river can require some accurate casts to hit the holes, runs, riffles and the pocketwater. While the trout in the Stillwater River are not finicky eaters compared to most Montana rivers, sloppy presentation will greatly hinder successful fishing.

Next Page : Stillwater River Floating Information

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