Copyright 2014 James Marsh
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Fly Fishing Guide for the Little Blackfoot River
Fishing the headwaters of the Little Blackfoot is a pure delight. You can usually find plenty of
water to fish all by yourself. About fifteen miles of the stream flows through public land and can
be accessed from a public road. The trout are not big but the action is usually continuous. The
trout are most all cutthroats and brook trout. They probably only average about six to eight
inches but they are occasionally caught over 12 inches. The brown trout don't start showing up
much until you are out of the forest above the little town of Elliston. They average a larger size
and can grow to a much larger size up to and over twenty-four inches or more.

The biggest problem you face when you are not fishing the headwaters is access to the stream.
You are mostly limited to the bridges that cross the river. There are quite a few of them from
Elliston to the Clarke Fork River. Most all of the river is visible from the road for the last
twenty-five miles of river.  We haven't tried it, but I would seriously doubt if the ranchers would
care if you did fish their property provided you ask them. From the looks of most of them I've
met, I would make certain I didn't damage anything. They probably live a rough, hard life. I
wouldn't want to cross any of them. That said, everyone I have talked to in Montana was
extremely nice and helpful.

The river has very few fast water areas. It consist mostly of riffles and pools with what I would
describe as mostly moderate flowing water. There are a lot of log jams and places for the trout to
hide. During the fall, large brown trout move out of the Clarke Fork River and up into the Little
Blackfoot to spawn. The browns are easier to catch throughout the length of the stream during
the fall. Most of the year, the stay hidden in, under and around heavy cover. You must get a fly
in the piles of logs, tree tops and anywhere else there's a lot of cover. There are a few places
where the stream has undercut banks and these are always good holding places for the browns.
Little Blackfoot
River Montana
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