Just a few days ago, I arrived home after a week of guiding on the Missouri River. Jin and the boys had a wonderful time. When I left, the flows were hovering just above 3000 cfs, today it’s about 2650 cfs. The nymphing was superb from the moment we put the boat in the water till I cranked it up on the trailer at the day’s end. The key was fishing the fast water. Our dry fly bite wasn’t too bad either as Tricos and caddis were the name of the game, but fish also ate ants, beetles and PMDs as well. While there were some solid Trico spinner falls in the Canyon, the upper river seemed to have higher concentrations of the little black may flies. Smoke stacks, is what we used to call em’ when I lived in Wolf Creek in the late 90’s. Millions of these little bugs littered the surface just before 9 am most mornings. The river was busy up high as there were less weeds in the water column up there and more heads to toss flies at. This is gonna be a weedy season on the Missouri……with any luck the river will bump up a bit and flush some of this on down to Great Falls. There are sections in the Canyon that are void of weeds, but that seemed to change with the wind, on windy days the weeds would push out of the back eddies and into the main flow. This made some dry fly fishing tough indeed. All in all, the Missouri is fishing great.
The past few days have found me fishing in YNP and floating the Madison River. YNP is fishing really well up in the NE Corner. There are big bugs around, sallies, caddis and mayflies. Take a hike…bring your bear spray and some dry flies. It’s worth it. The Madison dropped in flows late yesterday and today. We are down to 1360 cfs below Hebgen, 1560 at kirby and 1850 at Varney. Lyons to Ruby was a bit tough and spotty yesterday, but Ruby to Varney was super good today. The river is supposed to drop another 10% again tomorrow and I expect that things will get really good on dry flies once again on the Madison. Last week’s everyday bump in flows put off some of the hatches, but this morning I saw good numbers of big mayfly spinners in the air and some caddis as well. The light was tough so we fished nymphs for most of the day. The fly below as well as a Girdle Bug worked anytime they hit the water.
Today was wonderful…..I got to spend time with my father and my uncle Bob drifting the river with hardly another boat around for most of the day…..we caught a pile of fish.