Fly Fish The Jefferson River

Home to some of the largest brown trout in Montana!

The Jefferson offers some of the best trophy brown trout fishing anywhere. The browns and rainbows encountered here are the type you’re likely to find on the cover of popular fishing magazines – burly, vibrant, awe-inspiring. The best part; You’ll never find fly fishing to be a crowded experience at the Jefferson. The river runs through the picturesque and serene Jefferson Valley flanked by the jagged peaked Tobacco Root and Highland Mountains. The Jefferson can be a fickle river and we suggest you fly fish The Jefferson River with one of our experienced guides to find the productive zones. You’ll find the solitude and, serenity of this river infectious as it doesn’t draw the crowds some of our other rivers do.


Floating the Jefferson is reminiscent of what Montana was generations ago: solitude, sweeping mountain views, ample wildlife, and super-model trout. By Montana standards, the Jefferson may not be the fish factory that other rivers are, but she delivers with a voice that few other rivers possess.

The Jefferson River has a similar feel as the lower Big Hole with its soft riffles, long runs, and cottonwood log jams left behind from high water. Flanked by the Highland Mountains to the west and the Tobacco Roots to the east, the river changes course and channels regularly here as a freestone river should, and lends itself nicely to drift boat fishing.

Jefferson River Fly Fishing

The Jefferson River flows north and east for 77 miles, meandering its way through pastures and farmland, eventually joining the Madison and Gallatin Rivers in Three Forks to form “The Missouri”.

Downriver hatches range from caddis, PMD’s and Yellow Sallies to even Brown Drakes. The best dry fly patterns, water conditions permitting, are likely summer Stones or Hoppers, but the Jeff’s reputation as trophy brown trout water was built on knowing how to trigger the predatory nature of these carnivores. Stripping, and swimming streamers of all manner work wonders. Your FishTales guide will teach the needed streamer techniques to entice a hog from his hiding place. If it’s elbow room and a chance at a really big beautiful brown trout you seek, join us on a Jefferson River fly fishing trip.

Recommended Flies

Dry Flies

Rogue River Salmon Fly
Chubby Chernobyl
Elk Hair Caddis
Goddard Caddis
Iris Caddis
Parachute Adams
Royal Wulff
CDC Cinnamon Flying Ant


Pheasant Tail
Prince Nymph
Copper John


Mini-Loop Sculpin
Trevor’s Sculpin
Whitlock’s Hare Sculpin
Wooley Sculpin