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.

Autumn Creeping In

Chris with a Pre-Autumn Streamer Eater from this past weekend. A sign of things to come!

There’s plenty of summer left on the calendar, six weeks to be exact, but with the cooler temps and cloudy wet weather we’ve been experiencing one can’t help but feel like Autumn is starting to creep in. The weather trend will continue through this week with highs struggling to reach 80 and nighttime lows dipping into the high 40’s. We got a good dose of thunder, lighting, rain and hail yesterday and it looks like the next chance we have for that will be towards the end of this week but whether it’s in the forecast or not you should always be prepared. There’s nothing worse than being caught out in it without the proper gear.

The greens are starting to fade to browns, yellows, oranges and reds. There’s a chill in the air most mornings and evenings and the black bears have started to show up to feast on the choke cherries which are rapidly ripening. Antlers are reaching full growth and many are starting to turn their attention to hunting with Upland Bird Season and Archery season just weeks away.

Pre-season football has begun and college football begins in earnest two weeks from Saturday. School starts two weeks from Wednesday so yeah, summer is slipping away from us.

Fishing this past weekend felt fallish as well with a good crowd in the grass flats and plenty of fish willing to play. It’s been a long-time coming but we did finally have a good day on the Zirdle with all but a few fish opting for the big bug. Plenty of dry fly opportunities as well with ample Tricos and caddis. Ants were a good option as well between thunderstorms. Hoppers not so much but look for that to improve this week with a little sunshine and a little heat.

Streamer fishing will try your patience right now with the challenge of weeds and other floating and submerged debris but if you can maintain your composure and work through it you’ll likely find some willing players exactly where you’d think you’d be finding them. Bring on the fall fishing!
The late August doldrums are definitely in full swing as evidenced by the lack of traffic out there but those in the know will tell you that August fishing on the MO can often be nothing short of exceptional. Not to say that’s always the case but we normally manage to put together some pretty good days out there in August and the best part is that with the exception of the dam you’ll more than likely have it all to yourself (relatively speaking of course).

Lodging is wide open and guides are suddenly finding themselves with time to kill so book a trip today and put them to work. Remember now through the end of the month you can take advantage of our Dog Days of Summer Guide Trip and Lodging Special. Book a full day guide trip and a night of lodging and the second night of lodging is on us.

Summer deals in the shop are still in full swing but the goods are rapidly disappearing. 25% Off Simms summer sportswear including Guide Pants, Guide Shorts, Stone Cold and Big Sky shirts, Rip Rap wading sandals and more. And don’t miss our Annual Fall Rod Sale coming soon….25% off all 2019 rods and reels from Echo, Redington, Loop, Ross, Lamson and more.

Enjoy these last weeks of summer and don’t despair. Autumn is coming soon and just happens to be our absolute favorite time of the year to fish in Montana. It’s a magical time on the MO and beyond.

Dog Days of Summer Special Happening NOW at Wolf Creek Angler

Dog Days on the MO’

The long-awaited Dog Days of Summer Special has returned, giving you yet another reason to drop everything and make your way to Wolf Creek and the amazing Missouri River.

Now through the end of August book a night’s lodging and a full day guide trip and we’ll throw in a second night for FREE.
The Dog Days have arrived but don’t let anyone tell you the fishing is no good in August.

Can we guarantee phenomenal fishing? Of course not, but the fishing has been consistently good with enough tough days mixed in to make it challenging and keep things interesting.

We make it a point to give you honest and up to date reports based on our own real-time experiences as well at the feedback we’re getting from other guides, customers and guests. The last few reports we’ve shared have been very positive for good reason, but we should take this opportunity to mention that there have been a couple of days where things were slow from start to finish. As you might expect this time of year, under the heat of the summer sun, there have also been plenty of days that started strong but shut off during the height (and the heat) of mid-day.

We’re occasionally called out for making things out to be better than they are but you can rest assured that our reports are always honest and we’ll be the first to tell you when things are tough. There’s nothing to gain by painting a rosy picture when the fishing is tough. You’ll find out soon enough for yourself if that’s the case and will likely disregard anything we’re saying as dishonest going forward.

That being said, if our overall experience for a given time period (generally a week in our case) has been good and if we’ve gotten mostly positive reports overall from our guides and guests during that time, we’re going to report that the fishing is good but since we are talking about fishing it’s not to say that you won’t show up and have a slow day out there. It’s the nature of the beast. There are many factors involved, a few of which we have some control over, most of which we do not so the bottom line is that you should utilize our reports for what they are which is a snap shot of the overall productivity of the fishery in a given time frame, but know that no matter how great things may have been it doesn’t mean they’re going to stay that way.

What we can say is that dry fly opportunities have been abundant. PMD’s have all finally come to a close (for the most part) but Tricos and Caddis are filling in the gaps and terrestrials are starting to shine. We always like to throw in a disclaimer when talking hopper fishing as the Missouri is not known as a great hopper river but, that being said, naturals are plentiful out there right now and hoppers are getting eaten daily. So while the MO may not be known as a great hopper river it’s always worth your time to throw them. Some of the biggest browns of the season always fall prey to the hopper. Run in tandem with an ant or drop a nymph to increase your odds. My go to as of late….#10 More or Less Hopper in Peach.

Fish tight to the banks in the hopper zones but don’t overlook those mid-river flats and riffles. The fish are there.

Nymphing remains good with zebra midges, lighting bugs, PT’s, LGM’s, Tailwater Sows, Czechs, Weight Flies, Tung Darts and the rest of the usual suspects all producing with proper placement. Short leashing has had its days though fish are in the depths as well so fish the water you believe in….the fish are there.

We’re open daily at 7 AM for all of your Missouri River fly fishing needs. We’ve got the hardest working guides on the water, clean and affordable lodging, Adipose drift boat rentals and a shop full of everything you need for your day on the water. Check out our great deals on summer sportswear from Simms as we clear the way for fall gear arriving SOON.

Cruising through Summer

It’s that time of the season when things go quiet.

Dry fly fishing remains prime with an abundance of opportunities available to feed your top-water addictions.

Whether you like targeting specific fish with tiny trico patterns or blind fishing a meaty (and highly visible) terrestrial this is your time.

Tricos, Caddis, the last of the PMD’s, beetles, ants, hoppers…it’s a top-water extravaganza with something for everyone but as luck would have it everyone has rapidly transitioned to no one.

The crowds have disappeared. The fish have not, though we’re certain they’re enjoying the break.

If the fishing is so good, you may be asking yourself, then why have the crowds disappeared?

It’s a valid question and one which is tied to the normal cycles of the Missouri River summer season. These coming weeks are traditionally quiet ones as the prime timers have come and gone and many have started to set their sights on fall.

The exodus typically coincides with hot weather and weeds, neither of which ruin the fishing but suffice it to say that neither really add much to the enjoyment of your Montana fly fishing experience.

This year is a little different.

Yes, hot weather has arrived but it’s been a relatively cool summer up until now and the temps are still unseasonably cool at night which is helping to keep the river cool. These cooler temps along with summer flows in the 6000 CFS range thus far (though dropping now) have helped to keep us virtually weed free through the prime time and things are still in good shape. Expect more weeds as flows continue to drop.

The long winter and the slow march to summer has delayed our “normal” bug schedule by a couple of weeks which means that not only are we STILL fishing PMD’s but we’re just getting started on Tricos so we’re anticipating solid dry fly fishing for the rest of the summer season. Throw in respectable caddis activity and the option of fishing terrestrials and you’ve got a near-perfect time to fish the Missouri.

And as if that weren’t enough to make you change your late summer plans lodging has just become extremely available and extremely abundant and while our guides are enjoying a day or two off they’d rather be working than not so I can’t see any reason why you wouldn’t be booking yourself an August trip to THE best trout fishery in the country this summer.

Tons of bugs plus tons of fish minus crowds of anglers = the perfect time to fish the MO’.

Best Dry Flies this week – Rusty Spinner, Brook’s Sprout PMD, PMD Drowned Spinner, Hi Vis PMD Spinner, Double Wing Trico, Trico Indicator Spinner, Hi Vis Trico Spinner, Trina’s Hi Vis Sprout, Griffiths Gnat, Buzzball, Bloom’ Parachute Caddis, Outrigger Caddis, X Caddis, Front End Loader, CDC Caddis Emerger, Cornfed Caddis, Para Adams, Purple Haze.

Best Bets for Terrestrials – Moorish Hopper, More or Less Hopper, Water Walker, Cinnamon Parachute Ant, Hi Vis Beetle, Bloom’s Stealth Ant, Parachute Ant, Spruce Moth.

Not to be overlooked the nymphing has been good with a smorgasbord of bugs getting eaten.
Tailwater Sows, PMD Redemption, Frenchie, LGM’s, PT Black, Purple Lightning Bug, Weight Flies, Tung Darts, PMD Wondernymph, Doc’s Summer Bug, Juju purple, 2 Bits, Psycho Mays, Peep Shows and yes, even Zirdles are FINALLY getting noticed.

Fish on top, fish below, fish blind, fish deep, fish shallow, fish fast and medium fast water (skip the slow). Heck, take advantage of the relatively clean water and fish streamers…You know I am.

Your options are limitless right now on the MO.
W

e are your one stop shop for everything you need for your day on the water. The best guides on the river; clean and affordable lodging; Adipose Drift Boat Rentals; Simms waders, boots, sportswear and accessories; sunglasses from Smith and Suncloud; nets, packs and accessories from Fishpond and Rising; ice; fishing licenses; and much more including the largest selection of Missouri River bugs ever assembled under one roof in Wolf Creek Montana.

Open daily at 7 am.

Guest Blog by Alan Campbell

A nice piece of writing from a friend of the cause. We always love seeing how our guests are moved by the MO’.

It had been a memorable morning, having caught two browns and a rainbow — two on top and one below, to keep the ratio in tact — on a favored bend in the Missouri River near Craig.

My son and I enjoyed each other again, having yesterday spent a long, contentious drift on the river five feet apart on a rented boat. We could do no right in the fishing department, straining family relations. I’d seen it all and knew where he should cast. He knew better, and sometimes proved it by catching a fish.

But all in all, the abundance of trout raised by the Missouri treated us like foreigners, which is fitting for folks whose lives allow them to spend precious little time getting to know them.

Yesterday was forgotten on this morning. Cody pulled on waders while chatting about a big brown he caught on the same bend two nights before. A high school graduate five weeks removed, life changed on a dime and a good night’s sleep. What’s to worry an 18-year-old?

The place was crowded. Six cars in the pull-off. You just expect company in July if you plan to fish the biggest spring creek in the world. And the Missouri was fishing in a world class of itself. Pale morning dun mayflies were fading but sufficient, caddis were dominating, and the promise of those tiny trico mayflies — the ones that bound in the millions to build spiraling, ghostly forms – was on the horizon.

No fish were rising early, but Cody keeps his smile. He searches while I reluctantly switch my rig to a pair of weighted nymphs four feet below those spongy, sticky floats. We share shock when a big brown sets himself while I was talking downstream with Cody.
A tenuous fight ends, and photos are taken.

But what am I seeing now? Tricos? Yes, tricos were hatching. Two weeks late by our schedule, but right on time according to theirs.
I had handed my pole to Cody, who given my good fortune had suddenly developed a penchant to nymph. I stood there dumbly with his, which was rigged with a No. 18 Adams. A pod of rising fish had formed upstream.

It was ten casts before I feel him, a broad-shouldered rainbow who plays the bully before going airborne three times. “Not again,” Cody yells out in somewhat feigned disgust. He was growing frustrated.

The rainbow reluctantly came to net and Cody coaxes her back to life. We switch rods again.

Then as mysteriously as the tricos appeared, they left. The river turns quiet except for the occasional trout exercising his muscle on a fly the size of a mole. Their rises sound like rocks getting tossed from the bank.

Cody heads back to a pool upstream, but I suspect he’s moving in the direction of the truck to read. Bless him. A kid who would rather read a novel than yell at his old man on Facebook. Imagine that.

I, too, soon head in that direction, stopping to reflect at a riffle that in five previous passings this week always held fishermen. It was known as an excellent place to nymph, one had told me. And now no one was there. I took a few more steps toward the truck before realizing I was walking away from a golden opportunity.

But after skidding down the hill I found an older gentleman — even older than me — relaxing on the shore. I turn to walk away when he offers, “There’s plenty of room. Go ahead and try it here.”

Turns out his name is Don, a retired painter for the Helena school system. He’d gotten up at 4:30 to hit this particular riffle by 6 a.m. Been there 3 1/2 hours and landed three fish.

Don was my dad’s name.

Don on the river was happy. While his fishing itch scratched, socializing had taken a back seat. He was an affable fellow taken to conversation, and we hit it off.

Eventually I transform my leader back into a nymph rig and start across the riffle. Every flyfishing opportunity comes with its own rhythm. I start close, flipping the line ahead and upstream for a short but natural drift.

I soon find that a longer cast is not difficult and covers more water with the aid of one strong, over-the-top mend.
No takers, though, as I move across the channel. Then my fly sticks on a rock. Don hollers something out, but I explain that I snagged. I pull and fli but the situation is useless.

The only way to save my nymphs is to wade into the fast water and extract them by hand. I tried. But even within feet of the end of my leader it didn’t budge. How deep is it? Can I even tough bottom?

But then … something. Given the uneven temperament of a blur of rushing water you can’t be sure. But maybe something.
And then movement. By God, it was a fish!

Don turns giddy.

“Now what?” I ask.

“If you can get him over here, it’s calmer. And you can walk in the river here,” Don suggests.
I’m not sure as a calm stretch lays on the opposite side of the river.
But truth be known, I want to land this fish with Don. Maybe I need to land this fish with Don, and he the same.
The brown has other thoughts. He still hasn’t taken a run. It was like he had do laid dwn stakes in the middle of the riffle, his home, and was not about to retreat under duress.

Just as Don was urging me to close the gap, the brown gives up a few feet. Eventually I pull and pump, a sure sign that the trout is tiring.
About ten minutes — fifteen minutes? Who knows? — and the brown leaps three feet in the air with the last of his strength. Now it was close combat.
I pull my cellphone out and hand it to Don for a photo. Cody wouldn’t believe this fish without proof, and who could blame him? Sixteen inches of trout on the river has a tendency to reach 18 inches by shore. A few drinks, and the proportions get out of hand.
The trout does not fit in my net. I have him in there twice but he refuses to fold his body in a time-honored tradition of trout that lose a good fight. On the third try, something happens. I don’t know what. Perhaps he catches the upper nymph on the bag of my net.

But he is gone.

“Did you get a picture?” I ask Don.
“I’m not very good with these new phones,” he replies.
“At least I have a witness,” I continue, somehow smiling.
“You sure do.”

We talk another few minutes about nothing and everything, reaching the mutual conclusion that life’s been good.

“I’ve been really fortunate. Had a good job with good bosses. Have a good pension. And I’m able to be here,” he says, gazing up and through the Big Belts.
But it is time to go, I explained. Cody is waiting, no doubt with face into his latest novel that could be about anything from video games to espionage.
“Has he got it, what it takes to fish here?” Don wants to know.
“I think so,” I say.

Cody greets me with a smile that covers his face. I show him my broken leader and tell my story in as cursory form as I can muster. But better yet, Cody caught three rainbows after leaving me. I want details.

We fish for many reasons. Some call us lazy. They say we’re escaping reality.

But what if the trappings of life are just that?

Then we’re left with memorable mornings on the Missouri.
Me, Cody and Don.

By |2019-07-24T17:36:07+00:00July 24th, 2019|Categories: Shop Life, Uncategorized|0 Comments

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.