Two weeks on the Missouri will make one think about moving to Craig, Montana. Back in the mid-Nineties, I did my time (3 seasons) on the Missouri, but back then, all the action was in Wolf Creek. These days, Craig is the hotspot on the river. Fly shops, bars, good food and more trout than you can shake a stick at. Sure, we had some tough fishing when the flows were under 5000 cfs with the sun shining brightly, but when the flows bumped up a little and the water temps consistently hit 56 degrees, all hell broke loose. Almost a week ago, the Missouri went from 4500 cfs to 9100 cfs in just a couple of days. The river is now back down to 7600 cfs and the trout fishing will remain stellar. For now, most of the angling will be sub surface with sow bugs, mayfly nymphs and caddis pupa/larva. One can find risers, but things won’t get that consistent until the flows drop below 7000 cfs.
We fished with two groups of anglers over the past two weeks. Above are the Chicken Boys and below are the Dairy Boys. While this is the first trip for the Dairy Boys, the Chicken Boys have been coming out for almost a decade. While these trips are large, with a diverse group of anglers, they always appreciate our hard work and attention to detail. We could not sustain our life style with out folks like this. Thanks fellas, you made our season! I would also like to thank all the guides who helped Greg and I out the on the Missouri – you guys rock and are the reason we are successful.
The mountains around southwest Montana are once again full of snow. Since I have been gone, two different springtime blizzards rolled through dropping some much needed moisture in the high country. The Madison is stonefly green and fishing quite well – I stopped along the river yesterday and caught two trout in a soft seam along the bank in about 2 minutes. No waders were needed as the flows are 2100 cfs out of Hebgen and 2500 cfs at Kirby Ranch. Fishing is good to great on the Madison above Ennis, but be careful when wading the river – don’t get in unless you want to go for a swim.
When will things really get going around here? My buddies in Livingston are saying that Yellowstone should be fishable by the end of the first week of July. The Henry’s Fork is getting good….as it usually does this time of the year. The Madison, hopefully, will be dropping by the last week of June, but as long as the Madison is greenish, it fishes like a champ. I expect that the Madison will blow out once again. When? Shit, who knows. At this point the weather man is calling for cool overnight temps for the next several days. For the snow to getting melting, we need night time temps in the 50’s and daytime temps in the high 70s to low 80’s. We are right on the cusp of world class angling in southwest Montana. Are you ready?