About Jason Orzechowski

Outfitter, Fly Fishing Guide and Owner of Wolf Creek Angler - Chasing a dream, counting my blessings daily and writing about it in the midst of mountains, rivers and trout in amazing Montana.

Prime Time Flying By

It’s Trico Time on the Missouri – photo by Wolf Creek Angler

Mid way through July we’re enjoying one of the better seasons in recent memory. Don’t look now but it’s soon to be behind us.

It’s been a strong month for dry fly fishing, I can’t recall a July with more optimal conditions. Near perfect flows, near perfect water temps, fairly consistent bugs and plenty of targets for those on the hunt.

Looking beyond the Missouri the weather has been keeping things green and cool throughout the region. It’s mid-July and we’ve yet to see any hint of Hoot Owl restrictions. That’s a good thing.

It’s been so good we’ve had to resort to complaining about frequent thunderstorms (which, in actuality haven’t been all that frequent) and a couple of hundred CFS bumps in flows here and there bringing us 6400 ish – still well within the “optimal” summer flows we hope for each season.
Some prefer something closer to 3000 CFS for increased wading opportunities but 3000 CFS means warmer water and a serious reduction in prime trout habitat. The river is in great shape at 6000 and the fish are healthy and happy.

It looks like the weather pattern will continue through this week, with high temps holding below average in the mid 70’s and lows in the high 40’s at night keeping things cool. Expect breezy conditions beginning this afternoon and over the next couple of days. Things begin to heat up early next week with sunshine and low 90’s on tap through mid-week. A little more what you would expect in mid to late July in Montana and just what we need to get those Tricos going.

Clouds have started to form and we expect to be fishing Tricos perhaps today and if not today then definitely by the end of the week.  Stock up on your Indicator Spinners and double wings now while you can. All indications are that it’s going to be a good, long Trico season which means we’ve got another month at the least of potentially phenomenal dry fly fishing.

PMD’s still going strong (Rusty Spinners are the ticket) though we expect we’re reaching the end. Caddis in very fishable numbers…just like the days of old. (Maybe not quite but good nonetheless). Best bets include Outriggers, Cornfed, JazzCabbage and CDC Caddis Emergers.

Don’t like tricos? Terrestrials are soon to be in play. I’ve yet to see a hopper but ants are getting eaten and whether you see them or not it’s never a bad call to throw a hopper from here on out. If nothing else it beats the bobber as far as I’m concerned and the ever-present potential for your hopper getting slammed by a hungry trout should hold your interest.

So while the focus has definitely been on dry fly fishing these past weeks nymphing should not be overlooked. PMD nymphs and Caddis pupae have been good options as well as Tailwater Sows and black Zebra midges. Much to our disappointment the Zirdle has yet to turn on. After last year’s Zirdlepalooza when we couldn’t keep the bins stocked we went HEAVY on Zirdles on our pre-season orders and here they sit. Sooner or later they’ll start to get eaten again and when they do we’ve got you covered. If per chance they don’t there may just be some screaming deals on Zirdles by season’s end.

Hot sellers continue to be primarily of the PMD variety. Psycho Mays, Split Case, Crack Back, Magic Fly, Frenchies, Little Green Machines, S & M’s. On the Caddis front Pulsating Caddis Pupae, Weight Flies, Nitro Caddis Pupa, Tung Darts and the like have all been effective. Throw in some of the aforementioned Zebra midges and Tailwater sows and you should have your bases covered.

We’ve hit our peak and we’re now on our way to the Dog Days of August and early September. The bugs will be here, the fish will be here…the crowds will not.

In the meantime July is pretty well spoken for on the lodging front, though there are a few holes here and there and guides are starting to become available again so make it a point to get out here and enjoy one of the better seasons we’ve had in recent years.

The peak may be over but we’ve got months of great fly fishing ahead of us on the Missouri.

Dry Fly Prime Time on the MO

Ten days into July and we can finally proclaim that the summer season is indeed in full swing. We still haven’t felt summer heat (though it appears to be on the way) but the dry fly droves have arrived and the river is abuzz with activity from first light until dark.

Boat rental drop offs and pick-ups have us on the pre-dawn and post-dusk run which has ushered in The Blur, the time of the season when we lose all sense of time and the days blur into one another. Autopilot kicks in and the next thing you know its August and the crowds have disappeared.
Traffic is at its peak right now. Boat traffic, pontoon traffic, wade angler traffic, recreational floaters….all living in perfect harmony right now on the Missouri River. Or maybe not exactly…but the river is here for everyone to use so let’s all make our best effort to treat each other with kindness and respect out there.

The flows have bumped a bit to 5700 CFS which is maintaining a good separation between wade anglers and boats but with traffic at its height your bound to run into situations where things are getting crowded. Boat anglers should do everything within their power to give wade anglers a wide berth and wade anglers should realize that when they’re standing in the middle of the river several deep across a flat that it sometimes makes that wide berth difficult for boats to execute. All anglers should realize that much of that recreational traffic has no concept of what it is we’re doing out there. Generally speaking I think they do their best to avoid the anglers but floating unicorns and the like are tough to steer so if they happen to run over your rising fish why not extend them some grace and just give them a smile and a wave. The fish will come back.

Tensions tend to run high this time of year but they really don’t need to. There are inconsiderate jerks who will intentionally run over your fish but they are few and far between. Most simply don’t know any better so the best thing we can all do as stewards of the resource and ambassadors of the sport is to be on our best behavior and practice good river etiquette whether that same courtesy is being extended back to us or not.

There’s a lot of water out there and fish live in ALL of it. Spread out. Start early before the crowds or wait until they’ve cleared out. Go out and explore some sections of river you’re not familiar with. There’s so much great water on the MO and if you’ve been fishing the same stretch forever then you’ve barely scratched the surface.

But enough of the soap box. If you’re reading this you’re probably more interested in how the fishing is than in the traffic dynamics of the high season.
Well, the bugs were a long time coming this year but with several weeks of phenomenal dry fly fishing behind us, suffice it to say that 2019 has in many ways restored the reputation of the Missouri River as THE dry fly destination in the west.

PMD action has been consistently good, though some days are better than others and while we’ve heard plenty of “back in the day” talk regarding the caddis hatch as is typical for this time of year our real time here and now assessment is that there are plenty of bugs around and there are plenty of fish willing to eat a well-presented caddis imitation.

#16 PMD and Rusty Spinners have been in demand, to the point where we’ve sold out of a couple of different patterns. The bins will magically refill as always but following a 2018 where high water pretty much completely shut down the PMD event I couldn’t be happier to see empty PMD bins on the dry fly side of the bins. I’ve pushed #18’s after selling through #16’s in a couple of different patterns and the feedback has been good. I’ve personally been running more #18’s than #16’s for two weeks now and doing just fine.

I get the sense that PMD action may be waning but in the meantime the aforementioned Rusty Spinners, PMD Spinners, Knock Down Duns, Film Critics, Drowned Spinners, Sprout PMD’s and Hackle Stackers have all been getting it done.

Best Caddis patterns for me have been the Outrigger Caddis, Blooms Parachute Caddis, Cornfed Caddis, Front End Loader and the legendary and recently restocked CDC Caddis Emerger, perhaps rivaled by only the Parachute Adams in the sheer number of fish fooled over decades of fishing.
I’m continuing to hear talk of Tricos, I’ve yet to see any but it won’t be long and it could be the kind of season where Tricos run well into September.
Ants are getting eats and hoppers will soon be a legitimate part of your arsenal.

Its Dry Fly Prime Time on the Missouri. Loved by many both in theory and in practice and hated by others who’ve been beat down and frustrated by the challenge of micro-currents and picky fish. They’ve seen it all by this point of the season and they won’t tolerate your sloppy casts and skating flies. This is the BIG show. You’ve got to bring you A Game.

Stop by WCA to restock bugs, leaders, tippet, floatant or anything else you need to maximize Dry Fly Nirvana on the MO. The most professional and least pretentious guides on the river, Adipose Drift Boat Rentals, Shuttles, Simms Waders and boots, sunglasses from Smith and Suncloud, fishing licenses, ice, LOOP fly rods, Lamson and Ross reels, Fishpond nets and so much more. We are your one-stop Full Service Missouri River Fly Shop far removed from the madness.

Make Wolf Creek your new Missouri River Fly Fishing Destination.

By |2019-07-10T19:12:14+00:00July 10th, 2019|Categories: Fishing Report, Shop Life|3 Comments

Welcome July

Celebrate the 4th of July with Wolf Creek Angler

Welcome to July on the Missouri

It’s hard to believe but somehow June has passed us by and we’re well into our summer season on the Missouri. In fact it won’t be long before the Dog Days of August are here and we’ll be wondering where everyone disappeared to but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The weather continues to defy expected norms, serving up an abundance of cool temps and a seemingly constant threat of rain and thunderstorms. We haven’t seen abnormal amounts of precipitation but it seems that more days than not the threat looms.

So while it may feel like early spring the Fourth of July is the day after tomorrow…rain or shine! How can this be?

So while we’re having a little trouble getting into the summer holiday spirit we’re doing our best and while wet weather may put a damper on the fireworks (or maybe not) it’s not going to put a damper on our annual Make America Fly Again Half Price Fly Sale happening all day long on the 4th at WCA.

It’s a well-established fact that WCA has THE MOST EXTENSIVE SELECTION OF MISSOURI RIVER FLIES EVER ASSEMBLED UNDER ONE ROOF IN WOLF CREEK MONTANA. Our selection rivals that of any other shop in the area and we’re proud to offer you the best quality flies money can buy. These aren’t shop ties – these are the best bugs in the business from Umpqua, Montana Fly Company, Solitude and Yellowstone Fly Goods. We hope you take this opportunity to stock up on all of your favorite flies at an unheard of HALF PRICE. We know it sounds too good to be true but it’s legit. Little Green Machines, Tailwater Sows, Split Case PMD’s, Redemptions, Psycho Mays, Cornfed Caddis, Outrigger Caddis….everything in the nymph, dry fly and foam bins. The only bugs that aren’t half off are our specialty streamers.

While you’re stocking up on bugs don’t forget to check out our great deals on summer sportswear from Simms. 25% off all Simms summer gear including Big Sky, Stone Cold and Solarflex shirts as well as guide pants and shorts and Riprap wading sandals.

We ended up with a couple of holes in lodging for the 3rd, 4th and 5th but the full house returns on Saturday. Give us a call if you’d like to book a last minute room and/or guide trip.

Flows are near-perfect at 4800 CFS with water temps near 60. You really couldn’t ask for better water conditions.

Perfect water, plenty of bugs and plenty of hungry trout….cool weather aside THIS IS PRIMETIME ON THE MO.

Get out there.

By |2019-07-02T19:24:54+00:00July 2nd, 2019|Categories: Shop Life|Tags: |0 Comments

Weekly Update

PMD’s are what’s on the menu. Stop by Wolf Creek Angler for the widest selection of Missouri River flies ever assembled under one roof in Wolf Creek Montana.

When I posted late last week we were hoping to see the switch flipped on bugs and dry fly action by the early to middle part of this week but then Christmas came early and we were treated to an epic day of blanket PMD hatches and sipping trout on Friday. I was more than happy to be wrong.

We did endure yet another cold front with some parts of the state even seeing substantial snow over the weekend but the weather didn’t seem to have as adverse of an effect on the fishing as I thought it might. Friday was definitely the best PMD day I’ve experienced so far this season. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the switch has been flipped but if you are looking to make a day of dry fly fishing you should have ample opportunities from here on out.

Some days are better than others but there are varying amounts of bugs and you can usually find at least a few willing players if you look hard enough.
Nymphing is still your numbers game but expect to have to work at it…it hasn’t been easy but it’s all good once you crack the code. Mind you the code changes daily, and sometimes even hourly but it’s the challenge that keeps you coming back.

Deep nymphing has been productive and when it’s not the short leash has performed (for some). We’re finding fish in faster water, shallow to medium depths and also suspended in the go-to swirly spots. Green Machines have been the most consistent bug (size matters, #16’s, #18’s and #20’s all getting some love depending on the day). Split Case PMD’s , PMD Psycho May, S & M, Redemption, Frenchies, Gold Lightning Bugs, Crack Backs, Military Mays, Peep Shows are all good choices for PMD nymphs. Keep those Tailwater Sows close at hand as well. Some days it’s all they’ll eat, other days they’re hit and miss but keep in mind that there are ALWAYS sow bugs in the river so they are NEVER a bad call. We’ve had a bit of success with Weight Flies and Tung Darts but the Caddis game has not yet been great. Zirdles and Crays are getting the occasional eat but we’ve yet to see the fish really key in on them. We’re hoping it happens soon. After last season’s Zirdlepalooza we went DEEP on the Zirdle stock so come replenish your supply….we’ve got piles of zirdles in all colors and sizes.

Best bets for dry fly fishing include Rusty Spinners, PMD Spinners, Sprout PMD’s , Flash Cripple PMD’s, Hellen Keller PMD’s, Film Critics, CDC PMD Emergers, Nyman’s DOA Cripple and the like. Might we also suggest trailing your PMD pattern of choice with a CDC Caddis Emerger. Mix PMD’s and Caddis you ask? Yes. Do it. You’ll thank us later.

And speaking of Caddis, don’t forget your Elk Hair Caddis, Bloom’s Parachute Caddis, X Caddis, Outrigger Caddis, Cornfed Caddis, Extended Body Caddis and more all available now at WCA.

Streamers? Maybe worth a shot before the weeds take hold but fading fast. Get dialed on your dry fly and nymphing game and fall streamer fishing will be here before you know it. And before that happens don’t forget HOPPER season will soon be upon us. We’ve already had some success on ants and beetles and we’re hoping it shapes up to be a great terrestrial year.

The river is busy and there are plenty of folks around but with 30 plus miles of fishable water there’s plenty of room to spread out and if you think outside of the box regarding launch times/locations you can often have vast stretches of river virtually to yourself. (Think EARLY or LATE start).

These early weeks of summer are homecoming time at WCA with our regulars from around the world returning once again to enjoy their home away from home. It’s my favorite time of the season with familiar faces all around.

Look for summer sales to start soon at WCA as we begin to clear the way for fall arrivals and don’t forget our third annual Make America Fly Again Half Price Fly Sale coming July 4th.

We hope you make us your first stop on your way to the MO’ for guides, drift boat rentals, shuttles, ice, sun protection, Simms wading gear and sportswear and the much ballyhooed largest selection of Missouri River flies every assembled under one roof in Wolf Creek Montana.

Summer Solstice Edition

Well it feels more like the autumn equinox than the summer solstice but be that as it may tomorrow is the official first day of summer. We’ll see cloudy skies and a high near 56 with a chance of rain all day and more of the same throughout the weekend. Maybe not quite what you had in mind for the first weekend of summer but don’t despair, things will return to normal by the first part of next week.

We’re in the midst of the Prime Time grind this week, making the proverbial hay whether the sun shines or not. It’s our busiest couple of weeks of the season for guide trips and while the MO isn’t exactly giving it up right now, we’ve managed to piece together some decent days, even for the DFO’s.
Water temps are still a little shy of where they need to be to flip the switch on dry fly action but we’re getting there. I would expect to see things improve on the dry fly front by next week as the air and water temps trend upward. It’s got to happen sooner or later!

Not to say there hasn’t been any dry fly action, there has been, but it’s been sporadic at best. Some PMD activity, some caddis activity and some fish up but finding them has been a challenge even for those of us who know exactly where to look.

Nymphing has been satisfying numbers quotas and streamer fishing continues to provide enough action to keep the bobber watching averse entertained.

Status quo on nymphs with an added emphasis on PMD patterns, particularly the split case and crack back. Redemptions, Psycho Mays, S & M’s and PMD Magic Flies also getting noticed but don’t abandon the Tailwater Sows just yet and make sure you’re stocked up on Little Green Machines…if you aren’t we are!

A couple of holes in lodging this week though not many. Give us a call if you’re looking for something for this weekend, beyond that we’re booked solid for the next two weeks though you never know what might open up. It’s the same with guide trips. We’re pretty well booked solid  for the next couple of weeks but we do have the random opening and cancellations do sometimes occur so make the call.

Stop by and see us for all of your summer solstice fly fishing needs. Sun screen, buffs, hats, Smith and Suncloud sunglasses, Simms Solarflex shirts AND rain gear, wading gear and hand warmers for those cold and damp summer days.

Contrary to what you may have read elsewhere Wolf Creek Angler also proudly employs female guides and shop staff and we have a fine selection of women’s waders, boots and clothing from Simms. We are also the only shop on the Missouri featuring products from Damsel Fly Fishing, manufactured in Belgrade Montana. It’s not a badge, it’s just who we are.

Hope to see you soon for summer fly fishing on the Missouri. Tomorrow is the longest day of the year. How did that happen already? Now begins the march to darkness  but on the way we’ve got months of easy living summer days ahead so get out there and enjoy Prime Time on the Missouri River.

By |2019-06-20T23:00:12+00:00June 20th, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Wait

We teased you last week with some hopeful optimism.

Expectations were that following the weekend cold front and the return to normal weather conditions early in the week that the dry fly fishing could very well explode.

Prior to the cold front things were looking promising with increasing numbers of PMD’s showing up on the upper stretches and an occasional caddis here and there sparking the interest of many who’ve been patiently awaiting a decent caddis season on the Missouri.

Mid way through the week and well into warm weather conditions the waiting continues. Those in search of surface action have had to work extremely hard to find bugs and harder yet to find rising fish. They’re out there but it ain’t easy.

And while the Dearborn has continued to rapidly drop, bringing the canyon into near-perfect water conditions…the dry fly game down there has been nearly non-existent this week. Nymphing and streamer fishing the lower stretches hasn’t been anything to write home about either though there has been a fair amount of traffic  seeking the inevitable.

And so the wait continues.

When will it happen? It’s anyone’s guess but I have a feeling it will be very soon.

We’re looking at daytime temps in the high 70’s and low 80’s for the next 10 days. Water temps are edging up, currently closing in on 57 degrees with flows at 6200 CFS. It’s been a frustrating couple of days for those seeking dry fly Nirvana but it’s got to be coming soon. Conditions still seem right for the convergence and creation of the proverbial perfect storm which will perhaps usher in a truly epic season of dry fly fishing on the Missouri River.

Don’t give up hope. You won’t know if you don’t go. What better way to spend your day than floating down the Missouri on an idyllic late spring day. Blue skies, hills covered in green, warm and gentle breezes, singing song birds and the occasional rising trout….can you imagine anything more Zen than this?

Don’t like Zen? There are other ways to endure the wait. As long as you’re out there why not feed the fish where they are which is UNDER the water.

Nymphing has continued to generate the numbers though even the subsurface game has had its challenges as of late. You can’t go wrong with a tailwater sow and a green machine but there are billions of other bugs you could be throwing as well. Sows and scuds will always find fish but the waters of the MO are teeming with a smorgasbord of fish food right now. Mayfly nymphs should most definitely be a part of your arsenal from here on out, particularly the PMD variety. PMD Magic Fly, S & M, Redemption, PsychoMay, Split Case, Crack Back…and on and on. Piles of PMD patterns filling both sides of the bins at WCA.

Likewise, you should also be representing the caddis we’re all eagerly awaiting. Bloom’s Weight Fly, Tung Darts, Nitro Caddis, Pulsating Caddis, UV Czech Caddis….throw the kitchen sink at them.

Streamer fishing has been hit and miss but as always, it’s worth the effort. Streamer junkies aren’t typically about the numbers, they’re looking for that one big fish and will happily endure a day of casting for a shot at a big fish or two.

If you’re thinking streamers think Sparkle Minnows, MK Ultras, Thin Mints, Clousers, Mojo Minnows, Montana Mouthwash, ZK’s Inflated Ego etc and don’t overlook the small stuff. Try a zirdle or a pine squirrel leech…you just might be surprised.

Start your day at WCA for shuttles and bugs and so much more.

Dry flies or not….it’s Prime Time on Montana’s Missouri River.

Early June on the MO’

As we close out this first full week of June conditions are looking very favorable for a dry fly explosion to occur sometime very soon…..like ANY DAY NOW.

All but gone are the fears of high water. We’re currently sitting at 6300 CFS with water temps currently holding in the 52-54 degree range.

The most probable water forecast is calling for a peak in the 8,000 cfs range this month but I’m not sure we’ll see it. Post-peak flows drop to the 5000 cfs range for the duration and it sure feels like we might be headed that way already.

Shaping up to be a potentially perfect water year on the Missouri

For all of you who’ve been calling regularly to inquire about the water, this is the report you’ve been waiting for and one I’m confident with which you’ll be very pleased. Yes, I’m talking to you Stan!

The planets may just be aligning to give us a truly EPIC dry fly season. Coming off a substrate scrubbing 20,000 CFS last season might we see a return to the fabled and oft talked about caddis hatches of years past? Only time will tell.

Last season we lost much of the PMD action to high flows but it doesn’t look like that’s going to be a problem this year.

We’ve been seeing bugs daily and while the approaching cold front may halt progress for the weekend there’s every reason to believe next week’s return to normal late spring conditions (temps in the 70’s and 80’s) may indeed flip the switch.

We’re expecting strong storms this afternoon and evening and considerably cooler temps for the weekend with highs only reaching into the 50s and lows dropping below 40. Things turn around on Monday and next week looks pretty close to perfect.

It’s both literally and figuratively the calm before the storm right now. They’re calling for the possibility of golf ball sized hail this afternoon on the literal storm front and figuratively speaking we could very well see a storm of PMD and Caddis action next week. Those who rolled the dice and booked for this period early on despite the high water apprehension generated by last season’s conditions in June may be in for the ultimate reward very soon.

As if that weren’t good news enough, there was so much high water hesitation on the part of many of our regular guests that we’ve actually got some lodging availability for at least another week or so. These next six weeks are the PRIME of our guide trip season but we do still have guides on call for those last minute bookings so I wouldn’t waste any time making plans if I were you. It’s a rare opportunity to luck into what may very well be the hottest dry fly fishing of the season….or not.

Stock up on those Rusty Spinners and Corn Fed Caddis or your PMD and Caddis patterns of choice along with plenty of floatant and plan to be on the water next week.

Remember, we are your first stop Missouri River fly shop and we’re pulling out all of the stops to make sure we have anything and everything you need to keep you from having to travel down the road. Wolf Creek is your first stop and the only one you need to make on your way to the MO. We’ve got affordable lodging, the best guides in the business, Adipose drift boat rentals, shuttles, bugs, ice, sun protection, fishing licenses, rain gear, tools and accessories, rods and reels, SIMMS waders and boots, lines, leaders, tippet, floatants, guide wear, and so much more. You get the picture. There’s absolutely no need to go anywhere else. Wolf Creek Angler is proud to be your source for everything Missouri River fly fishing and beyond.

Give us a shot. We’re confident that once you visit our shop you’ll be hooked. We’re the best shop you never even knew was here!

Drag Free Drifts and Tight Lines to you!

Pomp and Circumstance

Many years and many miles ago.

Proud moment

This is one that’s been in the works for almost 18 years. It doesn’t have anything to do with fishing but it does have something to do with Wolf Creek Angler and those of you who’ve been customers of the shop for any length of time will likely recognize the subject of today’s blog.

Last Saturday we attended my son’s graduation from Helena High School and while I will resist the temptation of making too big of a deal out of this, I do feel like it’s at least worth a mention.

It’s one more opportunity for reflection. Yet another reminder of our imminent mortality. I graduated from high school over 30 years ago yet I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember the mix of excitement and joy and hope and fear and sadness. My adult life awaiting me and no clue what the future would hold.

Sitting in the stands these 30 odd years later watching my son walk across the stage in his cap and gown I felt the same flood of emotions about what the future will hold for him but this time mixed in with those emotions was a reflection back at how life has turned out for me as well as the ever-present reminder of how there is likely more life in the rearview than ahead.

I’ve been blessed with an amazing wife and a better son than I deserve. Not to mention a dream job and the opportunity to live in a place that stirs my soul daily. We’ve worked hard to get here, putting everything on the line to make this thing work. So far so good thanks to each and every one of you who shops with us, fishes with us, stays with us or simply follows us on social media.

Sitting on a hot metal folding chair under the Michigan sun at my high school graduation all those years ago I could never have predicted any of this but I believe it’s all happened exactly according to plan and I couldn’t be more grateful.

People often ask me if my kid is interested in the shop, or fishing or guiding or any of it and the answer is that at this point he really has no interest in these things and I’m ok with that. When I was 18 years old I had zero interest in going to work in the family business. Mind you, our family business was not Montana fly fishing, it was a Midwest Iron Foundry (not quite the same curb appeal), but the point is that I wanted to do something on my own and my parents encouraged me to do so all along the way.

In addition to owning and running the foundry my dad was a Lake Michigan charter boat captain in his spare time. I worked for him for several years as first mate and you know what? I wanted NOTHING to do with charter boat fishing which actually to this day holds very little appeal. So that’s how that goes.

My son plans on attending the journalism school at the University of Montana. His dad got a journalism degree in the early 90’s before ending up working in the family business and ultimately landing in Montana…immersed in a dream.

I’m not sure what path my son will take. Who knows, he may end up behind the counter of the shop one day or in the rower’s seat of a drift boat though that doesn’t seem likely. Whatever the future holds and wherever his journey leads him, we couldn’t be more proud of him, not just for completing the task of high school but more importantly, for the way in which he carries himself. We’ve been blessed immeasurably on this life journey in so many ways and this kid tops that list.

Congratulations John. We’re so proud of who you have become and we can’t wait to see what’s next.

By |2019-06-04T21:56:51+00:00June 4th, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|5 Comments

Sunshine and Mud on the MO’

Farewell (for now)  to Rainy Days on the MO’

Following what seemed like weeks of cloudy, wet cold days the clouds have parted, giving way to the soul-warming, psyche lifting giant yellow orb in the sky.

It’s a mixed bag of clouds and sunshine today but it looks like we’re headed for warmer temperatures and an abundance of sunshine over these next ten days with highs inching into the 70’s tomorrow and near 80 by the end of the week.

Sure it may have been the most epic early spring fishing we’ve seen in some time on the Missouri but I think everyone is ready for some nicer weather.
In spite of insane March Brown madness these past weeks in addition to some solid streamer days and off the charts nymphing more days than not, traffic has been somewhat light so while we’ve been loving the fishing this spring on a personal level we’re ready for business to blow up which it looks like it’s about to.

The assumption is that the bright skies ahead may put a damper on the dry fly fishing but regardless, PMD’s and Caddis await and it won’t be long before we’re in the summer dry fly groove on the MO.

Following the weekend rain event we’re seeing traffic concentrated at the dam again with Little Prickly Pear and the Dearborn dumping mud. We’re finally looking at a relatively precipitation free extended forecast but the warmer temps will obviously keep runoff moving.

Snowpack remains in the 120 percent of average range for the Missouri main stem and right around 100 percent for the Upper Clark Fork and Sun, Teton and Marias drainages. The Madison, Gallatin and Smith drainages are all in good shape at close to 140 percent of average while the Flathead is trending in the 80 percent range with only the Kootenai running low at 50 percent of average.

What’s this mean for your Missouri River late spring and early summer fishing plans? We’re expecting flows to hold in the 8,000 CFS range for the remainder of May and into early June. The Dearborn is dropping so look for things to clear over the course of the week and look for traffic to steadily increase from here on out.

Runoff will soon push much of Montana’s fly fishing traffic to the Missouri so if you’re headed here expect to have some company.
We do have limited availability on lodging and guides for the next two weeks so it’s the perfect opportunity to get out and enjoy great fishing and great weather on the Missouri.

We are your one-stop shop on the way to the MO with lodging; guides; shuttle service; lunches; Simms boots, waders and sportswear; rods from Loop, Echo and Redington; reels from Lamson, Ross, Nautilus and Echo; sun protection; lines, leaders and tippet from Rio; optics from Smith and Suncloud and don’t forget….we have the largest selection of flies ever assembled under one roof in Wolf Creek Montana. And these aren’t cheap shop ties, these are the real deal highest quality bugs money can buy from Umpqua, MFC, Solitude and YFG.

You’ve found your new Go To on the MO and need go no further than Wolf Creek. If you’re starting at the dam or Wolf Creek and coming from anywhere other than Great Falls then why would you add 15 miles to your trip by driving to Craig for shuttles and provisions and then driving back to the dam or Wolf Creek to launch. There’s absolutely no need to do that because we’ve got everything right here that you’re driving to Craig to buy.

We love Craig too but we want to save you the time, the money and the hassle.

We sincerely hope you’ll make Wolf Creek Angler your first stop on your next trip to the Missouri.

Spring Fishing Heating Up

It’s been a cold and wet spring in Montana but don’t  despair.

While most of us are more than ready for warmer weather and sunshine, these cool, cloudy spring days have delivered some phenomenal fishing on the Missouri.

We’re often asked “When is the best time to fish the Missouri” and there are many factors that figure in to the answer to this question but I will say that when you’re considering the fishing above all else, you’d be hard pressed to find a better time to be here than RIGHT NOW!

Nymphing is always an option and is generally the most consistent means of bringing fish to hand however when we’re blessed with cold, cloudy days like what we’ve been experiencing since late last week, your options multiply rapidly.

In my opinion there is no better time to fish streamers on the Missouri than April and May and as of about a week ago the dry fly fishing has really started to pick up as well with an abundance of baetis and also March browns sending our hungry trout into a feeding frenzy.

There are many who love the technical challenge of perfectly presenting tiny dry flies to finicky trout and there are plenty of opportunities to do this throughout the season. If, however, the challenges of feeding educated fish aren’t all that appealing to you but you love to catch fish on dry flies then this is your time!

These first weeks of dry fly fishing are the time when almost anyone can catch fish on dry flies on the MO. The fish are hungry and happy and not overly discerning when it comes to choosing which bugs to eat so if you put your bug somewhere in the general vicinity of their feeding lane and it looks something like what they are eating, then you stand a pretty decent chance of hooking up. You’ll still have the challenge of hooking, playing and landing that fish but presentation is not quite so critical.

You’ve got the best of everything happening now. Dry Fly fishing, Streamer fishing, nymphing….ALL OPTIONS AVAILABLE though I will say that once they key on those meaty March Browns then you better be ready to become a DFO.

Yesterday’s cloud cover had me thinking we were in for the PERFECT streamer day but alas the trout had something else in mind. We boated a few but the action was painfully slow. Seeing a few random rises we put away the streamer rig opting instead to throw a dry fly blind at those same streamer banks. First cast, first eat with more to follow.

You’ll usually get a few days like this in the early part of the season where you can skate a #14 Parachute Adams along the bank or in the vicinity of rising fish and get plenty of eats but enjoy it while it lasts for soon these fish will get smart and will laugh at your heavy tippets, your random patterns and your poor presentations.

With more of the same ahead in the forecast this would be a great time to take advantage of the situation and treat yourself to some of the best (and least challenging) fishing you’ll find on the Missouri all season long.

Traffic is moderate but spread fairly evenly and if you look hard enough for an underutilized section of water or plan your launch time accurately you can often have the thing to yourself.

Lodging is steady but we do have plenty of openings for these next 10 days both for guides and rooms. We’ve also got plenty of rental boat availability as well. Two weeks from now this won’t be the case as we’re about to embark on PRIME TIME, regardless of the weather.

Sooner or later it’s got to warm up but in the meantime we’ve got you covered with plenty of cold weather remnants priced to move and since wet wading may not be an option for a while why not treat yourself to a new pair of Simms waders and/or wading boots. We stock G3’s, Freestones and Tributaries and we’re happy to order anything we don’t have.

Got flies? We do! Come explore the endless options at Wolf Creek Angler. We have the biggest and best selection of Missouri River flies ever assembled under one roof in Wolf Creek Montana.

We are your one stop shop for everything you need when fishing the Missouri. Guides, Lodging, lunches, Shuttles, bugs, rods, reels, fishing licenses, ice, drift boat and equipment rentals, cold weather gear, hot weather gear, rain and wading gear, sun protection, packs, tools accessories….ANYTHING and EVERYTHING you need for your time on the water.

Save yourself the trip down the road and the hassle of the crowds…we’ve got you covered. Once you discover what you’ve been missing we’re confident you’ll make Wolf Creek Angler your go-to fly shack on the MO.