Spring in Montana has been more like summer during the last week on the Missouri River. When I arrived, we had some snow showers and cooler weather, but lately, I’ve been donning sandals and getting my feet wet. The early morning river temps have been a little chilly and there were two days that the river was cold enough to make one’s teeth hurt. It was similar to an ice cream headache that started with your toes and moved quickly up my six foot frame. I am nine days into 2015 guide season and it feels great to be back on the oars. Not much has changed on the Missouri River, but for someone who has guided and fished this great river during April and May for the past 15 years, it’s busier than years past – that’s for sure. Is it crowded, you ask? No, not really, but if the weather is too nice and that ends up on a weekend, then it can feel crowded. Some of this is due to a very low river enabling wade fisherfolks to access more of the river and some of this is due to popularity of the Missouri River in recent years.
Last season I spent the month of October on the Missouri River and we never saw a true Blue Winged Olive – a species of Baetis. In fact, they never saw more than a couple BWOs in November either. A year ago this month I was here as well and we might have seen a few of the smallish mayflies, but they never really matieralized. October of 2013, was the last time I opened up the BWO box with regularity. The BWO that hatches in the springtime up here is more gray than the BWO of Fall, which is a true olive color. We should be calling them Beatis all the time as there are many, many species of this mayfly. For more reading, check this out – Trout Nut. We’ve also witnessed a couple days of solid March Brown mayflies thus far in late April and Early May. When these hatch is prolific numbers, you will not have better dry fly fishing here on the Missouri River.
Once again, BSA will be guiding the Missouri River all season long. Our resident guide, Greg Falls, can be found rowing his boat most everyday of the year from late March through November. I will be around for several more days of guiding and getting out on the water myself for a hopeful late morning/early afternoon hatch.