Rooster fishing a fish that is jumping out of the water


The Ruby River

The Ruby River is a spectacular small river fishery located in the beautiful Ruby Valley. From the Ruby Dam in Alder, all the way to the confluence of the Big Hole and Beaverhead in Twin Bridges, there are over 30 miles of great trout water, with ample public access. While we have private access to a small stretch of the Ruby, it’s no secret that some of the public access sites boast better fishing day in and day out.

For such a small stream, the average size and the numbers of fish can astonish you. Predominantly a brown trout fishery, the higher up on the system you are, the more rainbows you will find. While most of our fishing throughout the summer months is done on our larger rivers, from drift boats, the Ruby River certainly draws attention from us when the conditions are right.

Many of our guests will extend their stay a day or two and opt for a little “self guided” walk and wade fishing.

Ruby Reservoir to Twin Bridges

The Ruby exits the reservoir as a tailwater and supports abundant midge, caddis, and PMD hatches. The river travels for a few short miles through a scenic arid canyon before abruptly transitioning into a meandering open agricultural valley. Two public FAS access points exist in the upper three miles and an additional two in the next six miles. Through the Montana Stream Access Law, there are several other access points well below the reservoir. There are more than 6 public access spots in this stretch, and although there is no “Ruby River Map” – stop by our shop and if you catch Rooster in the right mood, he will hand-draw you one. By the way he likes good Vodka and Cheap Kentucky Bourbon…..

The “Upper Ruby”

Draining out of one of the most beautiful valleys in the state, the Upper Ruby River begins as a trickle on the face of the Gravelly and Ruby Mountains. Picking up over a dozen mountain freestone creeks, it gains momentum and size and flows into the Ruby Reservoir after about 40 miles. This stretch of river is mostly private, with the upper 15 miles being on National Forest with seemingly unending access sites.

The upper Ruby is not known for big fish, but it has the numbers to make any day great. The fish are eager Browns, Rainbows, Cutthroat and Grayling – and they eat dry flies with reckless abandon on most days.

The best time?

Through our peak season, June – September, the Ruby will bounce in and out of shape with irrigation demands. Check water flows out of the dam, and look for stable flows around 200-300 cfs. The river fishes well below 200, but above 300 cfs wading becomes difficult. As always, check with us in the shop before making a trip to the Ruby River. We’ll be more than happy to get you headed in the right direction and sell you some local flies that work well.