Principal Montana rivers with the Bitterroot in the west
|Region||Missoula and Ravalli County, Montana|
|Part of||Columbia Basin|
|- elevation||3,104 ft (946 m) |
|Length||75 km (47 mi), South-north|
|Basin||2,814 sq mi (7,288 km2)|
|- average||2,370 cu ft/s (67 m3/s)|
|- max||38,300 cu ft/s (1,085 m3/s)|
|- min||270 cu ft/s (8 m3/s)|
The Bitterroot River is a tributary of the Clark Fork River in southwestern Montana, USA. It runs for about 75 miles (121 km) south-to-north through the Bitterroot Valley, from the confluence of its West and East forks near Conner to the Clark Fork near Missoula.
Ravalli County and Missoula County along with the towns along the Bitterroot River, including Hamilton, Stevensville and Missoula, are popular destinations for fly fishing, with rainbow trout being fairly prevalent and with smaller populations of brown trout and westslope cutthroat trout. Although the Bitterroot River passes close by to many residential areas, it is an excellent place for wildlife viewing. Many species of ducks and waterfowl are common along with osprey, bald eagles and heron. Both white-tailed deer and mule deer frequent the river as a source of water and to graze near its banks. The most notable wildlife viewing locale along the river is the famous Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge.
In popular culture
- The song "Bitterroot" by the Indigo Girls is about the Bitterroot River.
- Sullivan, Gordon (2008). Saving Homewaters-The Story of Montana’s Streams and Rivers. Woodstock, VT: The Countryman Press. ISBN 9780881506792.
- Explore the Bitterroot
- Robbins, Jim (July 26, 2006). "Tug of War Is On in Montana Over Public Access to Waterway". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-05-12.
- Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge Website