Hot Damn! The Missouri is great!

by | Apr 23, 2010 | 0 comments

Missouri River afternoon

Those of you who are not taking advantage of the best Spring Angling in recent years, should be ashamed of yourselves. Sure, I get it, you want to wait till summer and have something to look forward to.  No big deal, but our rivers are on fire right now and have been for a better part of the winter. No, is not fishing like it is June & July, but the Missouri River is damn good. So are other rivers throughout SW Montana…..some are blown out with mud….the Gallatin, the Yellowstone and the Big Hole are toast.

Big fluffy dry flies fooled this one.....

Jake Chutz (above), a guide for the Trouthunter, and I headed up to the Missouri for some warmer weather, dry fly fishing and some much needed time in a drift boat.  We fished for three days from the Dam to Pelican Point and pretty much got em’.

Nymphing em' up on the Missouri River

We arrived in Craig around 4 pm, drank a few beers on the porch of Headhunters Fly Shop, got the skinny from John and slid the boat in at the Craig ramp. We fished streamers, got a few and had pretty good midge fishing till dark the first night on Buzzball Cripples and other midge clusters.

 Wednesday morning we launched at the Dearborn and fished #10 skawla stoneflies all day long to Pelican Point. Was it epic? Not really, but since we stuck with it, we got 8 brown trout from 18-21 inches….all on big fluffy dry flies…..blind casting them the entire time.  Not a way bad to spend the day. Good clean fun.

and this one.....

Thursday was supposed to be cloudy, warm and rainy, “Big Thursday” is what the folks at Headhunters were calling it.  Clouds, rain, warm weather were all in the forecast, but the north wind kept the BWO weather at bay…..that damn north wind.  After much thought on floats, Jake and I went upstream and floated from the Dam to Craig.  The nymphing was superb from the Dam to California Islands.  After that, we hunted heads and prayed for those clouds to keep building.  The BWOs finally hatched around 4:30 pm, but not much keyed on them.  A few fish did, but they were snotty and had been fished to, so by the time we got to them they would rise once or twice and not again.
jake brown 8

You owe me this one Hotcake!

The Brown Trout above was rising to BWOs in skinny water.  We had just come under Half-Breed Rapids and Jake hooked a nice brown near a gravel bar on a big fluffy dry.  Since we were switching out on the oars, fish for fish, it was my turn.  At the same time, Jake & I saw the brown above rising and another one below it.  I told him to cast it over there, he argued that it was my turn, but I could give a shit, so he flipped the fly in there and the big brown smashed it. 15 feet from the boat. 21 inches long. 

Large trout. Big fluffy dry flies.

The Missouri River will continue to fish really well for rest of the season. The rainbows are in full spawn right now.  There were times when we would just float the river watching the rainbows scatter off their redds.  No, we did not target rainbows on redds.  We left those fish alone.  When they do come off the redds, the Missouri is going to light up.  May, June and July will be the killer months.  Come early to take advantage of quality angling on this world class river.  Never been to Montana in May or June?  Do you like giant trout that eat dry flies? So do we.  What are you waiting for?  Big Sky Anglers spends most of May, all of June and a bit of July fishing and guiding the Missouri River.  We have spent 15 years on this gem of a river and found it to be one of the most prolific fishiers in the lower 48….some say the world.

Mo River bow