The option of Fly fishing the Ruby River is a stone’s throw away from Ennis in the Ruby Valley. This small, but healthy fishery offers a change of scenery for the Montana angler. While the Madison Valley can be quite windy at times, the Ruby River is usually calm. The densely vegetated and meandering river banks of the Ruby River below Ruby Dam give anglers a sense of adventure and solitude.
The section above the Ruby Reservoir is your classic Montana trout stream with many fish in the 8-12" range that are typically m ore than willing to eat the dry fly. The true reward of this little gem though is the healthy population of larger than average brown trout in the Lower Ruby River. Sure there are a few rainbows, but the brown trout dominate with an average cookie cutter size around 14-16”. The Ruby River is full of larger models as well in the 17-19” range and it is not uncommon to lock into a 20”+ on any given day.
Many factors play into whether or not the Lower Ruby River is a good call for a fly fishing guide trip. When it comes down to it, air temperature, the Ruby River flow and the day of the week are the most important factors to consider. Due to a lack of wind and the micro climate in the Ruby Valley, it can get quite warm out there in the middle of the summer. It also during this time that Ruby Dam releases are lower. The fish don’t go anywhere but the water levels shrink the river down to a trickle, which can put a lot of stress on the fish. Lastly, the Ruby River is nearly unfishable on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday during the summer months. With limited access sites, it can be difficult to find a piece of water to yourself.
Luckily these limiting factors only come into play for a short period during the year. The rest of the time the Ruby River is perfectly fishable on any day of the week. However, knowledge is key here. Much of the fishing is done subsurface with small nymphs that are specific to the Ruby River. Figuring out which ones are most productive is where a Ruby River guide comes in handy. That’s not to say that dry flies don't work though. On many days we see prolific hatches of PMDs and Caddis along with various terrestrials. These insects get the biggest fish in the river looking up. It is amazing to see one of these truly large brown trout rise from the depths of the Ruby River’s slightly off color water to sip a small dry fly. Chucking big streamers on the Ruby River is a whole ‘nother ball game. When done right, you are in the hunt for the fish of a lifetime.
We have people coming into the Trout Stalkers fly shop on a daily basis asking about the Ruby River. Luckily we have some members of our guide staff that are obsessed with it. And for good reason. It can be a tough nut to crack though and we highly recommend going with someone that can get you started down the right path to success here. Here is a link to our Ruby River Flows page. You can also find more information about our fly fishing guide trips on the Ruby River on our Montana fly fishing trips page.