I arrived home from the Missouri yesterday afternoon to excited dogs and a plethera of mosquitoes. The warm temps have cranked up the biting flies and rivers have risen slightly as well. The Missouri is stable at 21,800 out of Holter Dam. Some folks think it will get even bigger. HUGE is about the only word for it. Notice the willows sticking out to the left of Jerry’s trout in the photo above. That willow is normally about 8 feets tall. The island it lives on is completely under water……but the trout don’t care. On my last two days of guiding, we fished 10 ft and change to the split shot. While casting this rig was difficult, it worked rather well. The afternoon bite went to shit about 3 pm as the sunshine was pounding down on us. We could have lengthened the leader and added one more BB split shot – to the 3 already on the rig- but that would have been extremely tough to cast let alone land a fish on. The Missouri is fishing well – in spots – and not that well on the run. Hooking fish with this rig is difficult to say the least. “Was that bottom or did a fish eat my fly?” was a common question the past week on the Missouri. My answer – ” hit’em all and hit’em hard…..strip line….get it tight….let’em run.” At the Dam, I was fishing double sow bugs – 1 pink and 1 grey and doing pretty darn well. Otherwise the worm and crayfish patterns were king throughout the entire river.
There are three closures on the Missouri as of yesterday. Camping in Craig is now closed until the water recedes. Prewett Creek Boat Ramp and Campground are closed as is Spite Hill Boat Ramp. The river is dangerous in some sections and experience behind the oars is a necessity if venturing through Lone Pine Rapids – formally known as Half Breed Rapids. Stay right above the Hwy Bridge and take the first right channel below Sheep Creek……a much safer bet. The roller below the zig-zag is pretty big too, but not that scary. Be careful, the Missouri at these flows is very powerful.
Upon crossing the river in Ennis, I witnessed the Madison completely blown out. At Windy Point, river right is still fishable. Guides are getting their boats under Shelton’s Bridge, but one needs to be very careful when doing this. The wade stretch is greening up, but still off color. Can you catch fish down there? Of course, but it will be in just a few spots where the water is slow enough to hold a fish. The West Fork is pumping mud and might be for awhile. Cabin and Beaver Creeks are muddy and this recent warm weather has them ragging. Quake Lake is going to get a little dirtier before it greens up and we all hope this happens in the next week. There are a few big bugs below Beartrap Canyon, but the river down there is also flowing rather big. Your guess is as good as mine for salmonflies above Ennis lake. We are alteast 10 days from seeing salmonflies above Ennis. If they come off before, it will be in the mud. Cross your fingers and your toes for big bugs and a green Madison……it could happen.
West Yellowstone is busy with tourists and YNP visitors. Lots of strollers and poor driving skills……..but it feels good to be back home as this season has me on the road more than usual. Back to the Mo I go, in early July and then again in mid July.