If I had a dollar for every time I was asked why I moved to Missoula, I would have enough money to throw a kegger on the Clark Fork. My answer is pretty simple: the fishing and the beer. Within a few minutes of my front door there are four outstanding trout rivers as well as a handful of delicious craft breweries. Both are very important to me, but I’ll start with the rivers.
Clark Fork – The Clark flows right through the heart of down town Missoula and is home to some pretty sweet fishing holes in the middle of town; most famous is the hole behind the Double Tree right across from campus.
Blackfoot – Flows through the rocky canyons just north of town and joins the Clark Fork just east of town. The river was made famous by the movie, “A River Runs Through It ” and lives up to its fame. The Blackfoot is home to some very serious brown trout as well as the mysterious bull trout.
Bitterroot – I like to refer to the ‘Root as ‘old faithful’, it seems to always be fishing well. The Bitterroot flows north through the beautiful Bitterroot valley and meets up with the Clark Fork just west of town. The Bitterroot river is home to some of the prettiest views to be found in south-west Montana.
Rock Creek – Arguably the best trout river in western Montana, if not the best in the whole state. Rock Creek is home to the grand slam of trout species which include Browns, Rainbows, Cutthroats, Bulls, and Brookies. I would go out on a limb and say that nothing brings more people to the Missoula area than the world famous Rock Creek, especially during the salmon fly hatch.
The Beer – Missoula is home to an ever growing number of breweries, but I will focus on my favorite hangouts.
Big Sky Brewery – Two words; Moose Drool. My favorite brewery to hangout at in Missoula due to the fact that they have free beer tastings. Must try brews include Trout Slayer and Summer Honey.
Kettle House Brewing Co. – Makers of the skiers favorite: Cold Smoke. Another awesome local brewery with a few locations to enjoy beer around Missoula. Must try brews include the previously mentioned Cold Smoke as well as Double Hall IPA.
Bayern – I am lucky to live just a few short blocks away from Bayern, a great place to get a growler filled and have a beer while you wait. In my opinion, Bayern is one of the more underrated breweries in Missoula; definitely worth stopping in on your way to the river. Must try brews include Dump Truck and Face Plant.
– Jared Denniston