Leaving West Yellowstone last Friday on my way to the Missouri to pre-fish before trips, I was hoping for clouds and balmy weather. I arrived in Craig late that night and slept along side the river at the boat ramp with the geese, stars and only a couple of other folks in the Camp Ground. The river was empty. My sleeping bag was frosted on Saturday morning, but there were a few clouds in the vicinity and things were warming up. Not in a hurry to get on the river, I walked on over to Headhunters, the new fly shop in Craig to get the skinny. Mark Raisler and John Arnold have been friends of mine for quite some time now and when heard they opened a shop in Craig I was excited to see it. I encourage everyone who makes the pilgrimage to the Mo to stop in and see these guys. Their shop is new, but they have been on the river for almost 30 years combined. You will get the straight talk and no bullshit from their friendly staff. Mark might even tie you flies while you wait since they seem to run out of certain pinkish patterns this time of the year.
Fishing……..the Missouri is good. Period. The rainbows are starting to make their way back into the river and are eating almost everything in front of them. Worms, zebra midges, pt’s, prince nymphs ( yes, prince nymphs!), scuds and some dry flies. Namely, Baetis. Drift is king on the Missouri and most of the fish seem to be in 4-8 feet of water. The slow and deep runs will produce several fish, but a few trout have worked back into their summer runs. The trout are dumb when fishing with a dead drift or fly first with dry flies and no drag.
I thought I was pre-fishing alone, but then Greg Falls and Greg Hardy showed up to fill the boat and we spent the next two days knocking the shit out of them. I was supposed to have guide trips all this week on the Missouri, but when some unforeseen things came up, I was left alone to fish the Mighty Mo…….damn, what a bummer.