Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Guide to the Ruby River Montana
The uppermost section in the National Forest begins for all practical purposes at the
confluence of the East Fork and the West Fork of the river. At this point the river could be
floated during high water levels in a kayak possibly, but most of the time it would be limited to
wading. The problem with the wading is the thick bushes along the stream. Willow trees and
several other types of bushes line the banks most everywhere. You have to get into the
water where you can and wade upstream.
You want to make short upstream cast as you progress upstream. Wading downstream
would spook most of the trout in the river. Dry fly fishing is usually very productive on the
Ruby, even with attractor and generic flies at times. Of course nymphs also will catch their
share of trout and as a matter of fact, usually far more than the dry fly if there is no hatch
After the stream leaves the National Forest land, you only access points are at bridges.
Some of places are difficult to access because of the high fences at the bridges. It is rather
obvious that the local ranches don't cater to anglers very well. Provided you can get into the
stream on the right of way property, you better make sure you stay in the water. Montana law
permits you to do this as long as you don't leave the streambed. When you finish fishing
upstream, you must turn around and wade the entire distance back downstream. It is
possible to reach some of the stream from the lake by boat. We haven't tried that and cannot
vouch for its effectiveness.
The tailwater section below Ruby Reservoir has some public access areas one of which is
right below the dam. This area can become crowded at times but the fishing is usually good.
The fish are mostly brown trout in this area. Hatches in this area amount mostly to midges.
Most of the fishing should be done using nymphs or larva imitations. Double nymph rigs are
popular. Most anglers use a strike indicator in this area. The water is relatively deep and the
fishing is mostly limited to the banks.
Farther downstream there are other public access points but in many cases you must wade
in the creek to fish outside the public boundaries. Dry fly fishing is better than it is just below
the dam and hatches are far more common. At times you may have an entire access to
yourself because all in all the river provides plenty access for its few anglers.
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Ruby River Montana