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.

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

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

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.

Guiding For The Future

Tom Miner Creek – a classroom like no other

Entomology 101

Hydrology 101

Guide Ethics – Campfire Discussion

Home away from home at the B Bar Ranch









Last week I had the pleasure of attending the pilot program of Guiding for the Future, an Advanced Guide Training Program established “to inspire dedicated stewardship of aquatic ecosystems while increasing knowledge, professionalism, and ethics of fishing guides, outfitters, and the fly-fishing industry.”

The program came about in part as a reaction to the PKD outbreak which closed down the Yellowstone River during the summer of 2017.

I first heard about G4F in the winter of 2018 while attending a Montana State Council Trout Unlimited meeting in Livingston. Montana TU Executive Director David Brooks mentioned the program to me and asked if he might pass my name along to Brant Oswald and Sean Blaine who were in the early stages of creating the program, as an outfitter and active member of TU who might be interested in participating.

I was intrigued with the concept but also somewhat suspicious of the motives behind it as it seemed very possible that it was simply a ploy to add more regulation to what is already a heavily regulated industry.

Blaine and Oswald presented the concept later that spring at the Fishing Outfitters Association of Montana Annual Meeting. Still somewhat skeptical, I jumped at the chance to participate in the Steering Committee meeting held last April in Craig MT.

It was here we discussed the nuts and bolts of what Guiding for the Future would be and as it became clear to me that the vision was for guides and outfitters in Montana to have the opportunity to separate themselves from the pack through this continuing education program my skepticism turned to optimism as we discussed putting together a program unlike any other  out there.

The program would be offered annually by application only and would fill the void in our industry which is met by continuing education in most every other trade or industry. Rather than being just another requirement for a guide or outfitter license like a First Aid/CPR certificate, Guiding for the Future would be an opportunity for a guide or outfitter to separate themselves from the pack by receiving a well-rounded education going well beyond the basics.

Guiding for the Future would not be a guide school. The assumption would be that a guide or outfitter interested in this program would already be an experienced guide or outfitter looking to take things to the next level. The course would consist of an On-line curriculum followed by a three-day practicum to give students hands on training in the field.

In March this year the program was announced via FOAM and those interested were invited to apply. One look at the curriculum and I was sold.

Online coursed included;
– A History of Fish and Wildlife Conservation in the United States
– Laws and Regulations
– Hydrology and River Ecology
– Entomology
– Fish Ecology
– Water Users and Challenges
– Guides as Stewards
– Beyond Flies and Drifts

Happily, I was accepted into the Pilot Program and delving in to that first online module I was pleasantly surprised by the scope and depth of the material.

With just a few weeks to complete the online portion of the course time constraints were a challenge, though a challenge is exactly what I had hoped Guiding for the Future would be.

Last week we were invited to the B Bar Ranch in Tom Miner Basin near Gardiner for the 3 day practicum which included both classroom and field instruction.

This portion of the course had me out of my comfort zone but it didn’t take long to settle in. A few familiar faces and a bunch of new ones made for an awesome opportunity to network with others in our industry and after a couple of days of sharing the classroom and the dinner table with these folks it soon evolved into a very comfortable and friendly setting.

Standing high above Tom Miner creek observing the glacially carved valley through which the creek flows the significance of the Guiding for the Future program couldn’t have been more evident. While a group of us discussed hydrology and stream morphology a group of students waded into the stream below us, overturning rocks in search of the nymphs that provide forage for the trout we chase. Still another group stood on the bank of the creek near a head gate of an irrigation diversion listening to a surface water hydrologist from DNRC explain how stream flows are calculated, bringing life to those graphs and numbers we follow so closely all year long.

Back in the classroom, topics ranged from candid discussions with an FWP Warden Captain regarding laws and regulations governing our industry to leveraging our role as outdoor industry professionals to advocate during public comment opportunities.

An in-depth look at water rights in Montana was a highlight of the program for me but I also very much enjoyed a look at fish biology and ecology and the role required of us as guides and outfitters and as stewards of this resource.

Risk assessment and CPR training kept us grounded in the realities of having clients in our charge every day and the absolute necessity of being proactive when it comes to client safety and health and field work with Yellowstone Ecological Research Center taught us how we, as guides, can play a direct role in monitoring stream health through water sampling.

This was not nail knots and casting clinics (although there was some of that as well). This was big picture education on a broad range of topics which I believe are of vital interest to all of us who work in this industry.

As G4F proclaims… Montana’s rivers are undergoing increased demands for water, recreation, and environmental services. These demands, in the face of increased periods of drought and other stressors, impact the rivers’ resilience and fisheries, while also translating into increased potential for conflict among users. In response, Guiding for the Future (G4F) is part of a new continuing education program led by the Fishing Outfitters Association of Montana (FOAM) that provides advanced levels of knowledge and skill development for professional fishing outfitters and guides throughout the state.

To me it’s a No Brainer and the general consensus amongst those of us who participated is that we hope G4F certification eventually becomes the norm, rather than the exception.

When you see this sticker on your guide’s boat you can rest assured that you are with a guide who not only cares about putting you on fish but who has also gone the extra mile to provide you with a safer, richer experience that goes far beyond flies and drifts.

At Wolf Creek Angler we’re Guiding for the Future

And while the fishing is, and should always be, the primary focus, wouldn’t it be nice to go deeper? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to talk with your guide about how rivers work, how water rights work, how conservation has evolved, how the life cycle of different bugs has a bearing on the fishing day etc. all the while having the confidence in your guide’s knowledge of the rules and regulations AND knowing they have the skills to respond in an emergency if called upon?

We hope and expect that this program will gain popularity not only amongst guides and outfitters but also amongst our clients. Keep an eye out for the G4F logo in sticker form on your guide’s boat or on the website of your favorite outfitter or fly shop and know that when you fish with those who have gone through this certification program you are fishing with individuals who take their profession very seriously and who have gone the extra mile to better themselves and the industry as a whole through advanced education and training.

There is nothing else like this in the country right now and I for one feel privileged to  have been a part of the pilot program and I plan on doing whatever I can to contribute to the program in the future.

Welcome April….The Season is Upon Us

And just like that winter was gone!

April is here and it’s GO TIME on the MO. The fishing is heating up and Wolf Creek and Craig are starting to come alive after one of the more brutal winters in recent memory.

The river is seeing some moderate to heavy traffic, especially on the weekends and especially in the Holter Dam to Craig stretch.

More importantly (from where I sit) the shop is busy and that’s good because spring shipments are arriving daily and the product is starting to stack up. We’re fully stocked with all kinds of great new gear. Simms waders and boots, tons of new bugs, Lamson and Ross reels, Loop, Echo and Redington rods, Korkers boots and the best of men’s and women’s 2019 sportswear from Simms. Piles of fly boxes, lines, leaders, tools and accessories. Boat bags and packs from Fishpond and Simms. Awesome new sunglasses from Smith and Suncloud and a sale rack you’re not going to want to miss. All Remaining Winter gear needs to go NOW! We’ve got the best deals you’re going to find on cold weather gear from Simms including jackets, hats, gloves, socks, flannel shirts, coldweather pants and more. Get em’ before they’re gone.

Adipose Rental boats are polished up and ready to hit the water and don’t forget we’ve got three Mending Waters Montana boats available free of charge to all vets and active duty military. Reserve your boat today at

As of today lodging is 100 percent OPEN and we’re excited for our first FULL HOUSE of the season coming this weekend. It’s been a long and lonely winter around Wolf Creek Angler. Let the busy season begin!

Spring Special Guide Trips in effect…just $400 through the end of the month. Don’t miss this awesome opportunity to fish the amazing MO with the best guides in the business and save yourself $150 while doing it. The fishing is good and getting better and while we’ve still been flirting with some winterish weather the 10 day looks good with highs in the 50’s through the weekend and a little cooler heading into next week. Perfect spring fishing weather. Nymphs, streamers, dries….it’s all happening right now.

We are your Missouri River one stop shop with everything you need for your day on the water. Guides, rooms, shuttles, fishing licenses, the best coffee in the canyon and the biggest and best selection of bugs ever assembled under one roof in Wolf Creek Montana.

Open 8 am daily for all of your fly fishing needs.

Chewy’s Top 5 FAQ’s of March

Now that the thaw is underway and I’ve succeeded in kicking cabin fever square in the chops; here’s the short list of calls I’ve been fielding at the shop consolidated into my Top 5 FAQs of March, so far.

  1. How are the ramps?

Holter Dam is still drifted in but if you’re willing to put in some effort you can always slide a boat in from the campground. Is it worth it? That’s your call. On the other hand, Wolf Creek Bridge, Craig, Stickney Creek, Spite Hill and Mid Cannon are all good to go. Mountain Palace and Prewett Creek and socked in with ice and drifted snow. Looking like a few more weeks until we’re hitting the lower river.


  1. How’s the MO fishing?

Excellent. Angler’s choice when it comes to tactics. Midges are out when it warms up mid-day and fish and eating them on top. Nymphing is still a great option too, standard winter/early spring fare. Zebras, Sows and anything in the pink or hothead family are all dropping bobbers daily. Still swinging up a few on the bigger bugs as well. Sparkle Minnows, Skiddish Smolt, Polar Leeches and some in house specials paired with a sink tip are all good jumping off points.


  1. Any lodging left for June through 4th of July?

Hardly. We’ve got a few rooms open sporadically for prime time, but if you’re looking for a week it’s going to be tough. Remember last year when I told you those dates generally book a year in advance? I wasn’t joking. Is it worth giving us a call to check? Absolutely, if we can’t accommodate you, we’ll point you in the right direction.


  1. Will the water be high in June when I want to come walk wade?”

Probably, just like it is every year. Will it be as high as last year? Probably not. Do I have a crystal ball? Nope. Word from upstream is something between 9k-12k last I saw. Bottom line is we’re still a ways out from having a solid guess as to flows for summer. Call a week before you show up and we’ll have a better idea.


  1. Are the rainbows running up to the Dam yet?”

No.  I left my soapbox at home so I’ll just leave it at that.


~Cheers, Chewy.

By |2019-03-17T19:17:01+00:00March 17th, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Still Waiting

Another day of watching the snow fly.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s coming to an end.

The first days of March saw the coldest temperatures of the season (in the 30 below zero range) but as of today we’re on the right side of zero and it looks like we may just be emerging from winter’s icy grip.

They’re calling for a high of 34 tomorrow and then highs near 30 every day through the middle of next week. Still nowhere near the 47 degree average high for March but after dwelling in single digits for most of the past five weeks I’m thinking 30’s are going to feel like a real heat wave.

Keep in mind that the boat launches are all buried under a couple of feet of snow and the river from about Mt Palace down is choked with ice but if it shouldn’t be long now.

The snowpack is in good shape and we’re still optimistic that we’re going to see a great water year with flows right where we like them.

We’ve had to push out a few guide trips these past two weeks and will likely have to push out a few more this week into next as it’s going to be a bit before the river comes into shape. We’ll let you know just as soon as it’s fishing and you can bet we’ll be out there the very first day we can get a boat on the water but I wouldn’t expect the fishing to really heat up before the middle to latter part of the month.

That being said, with the lower river getting scoured by ice flows conventional wisdom would dictate that there’s likely a huge concentration of fish between the dam and the canyon. The water is a chilly 33 degrees, not prime trout temps, but if you can find them and get your nymphs in front of them, they’ll eat.

Stay tuned for frequent updates on conditions as well as that long-awaited fishing report which we’ll get to you just as soon as we’re able to get on the water.

By |2019-03-06T16:55:38+00:00March 6th, 2019|Categories: Shop Life, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Finally…A Farewell to February

Coming Soon?

The shortest month of the year feels like it’s been the longest as winter drags on with no end in sight.

March will pick up right where February left off with single digit temps through the weekend and into the first part of next week but then it looks like something might just be starting to happen. Things could change between now and then but at this point it looks like we’ll be bathed in sunshine Sunday through Tuesday and while the temps will be far from warm we all know how good that late winter sun feels.

We’ll climb into the 20’s on Wednesday and Thursday and near 30 on Friday. Is it a warming trend? Here’s hoping so!

We’re thankful to have made up for winter’s slow start with plenty of precipitation throughout the last month but I for one have had just about enough. I’ve had enough of shoveling snow. I’ve had enough of fighting ice dams on the roof. I’ve had enough of NOT FISHING!

Snowpack has edged up to 110 – 120 percent of normal in our region and most of the state looks good right now at or near 100 percent of average. Only the Kootenai and the Sun, Teton and Marias drainages are lagging behind but  are currently right around 90 percent of average. We like the looks of this map and we’re remaining cautiously optimistic that high water will not be an issue however Mother Nature always gets the final say on this so no guarantees here.

Ideally we’d see a return to normal temperatures sooner rather than later. The average high for February is 39 degrees, we’ve seen highs in the single digits or below zero more days than not this month. The average high for March is 47. We obviously won’t see that the first week of the month but sooner or later it has to warm up and when it does we’re expecting an extremely busy spring as the throngs arrive to satisfy that long-delayed Missouri River Fix.

And speaking of spring fishing, don’t forget it’s time to buy your 2019 Montana fishing license. 2018 licenses expire tomorrow.

Sadly we still have no fishing report to share but as you look towards the eventuality of spring fishing here’s what you need to know.

Water temps are currently holding in the 33 degree range….COLD! We would expect much of March to be full on winter fishing as far as the nymphing goes. Slow, deep water is what you’ll want to target with winter fare. Pink should be in the mix along with firebeads, tailwater sows, Yum Yums, Caviar Scuds, Zebra Midges, Rainbow Czechs, Soft Hackle Sows, Lightning Bugs, Ray Charles etc. Fish deep with weight (tungsten bead nymphs or split shot or both) and cover the water from the inside out, shortening the depth of your rig until you find where they’re at.

Warming water will get them moving at which time we’ll start to key in on the traditional spring hot spots, typically a little faster current with a little less depth. We like to run sowbugs all season long as they’re a constant food source but as we move into spring we will typically swap out the winter fare for mayfly nymphs and maybe even a dirt snake. Little Green Machines and the like tend to shine as the water conditions hit the spring prime.

Spring is brown trout time as the spawning rainbows become scarce. Watch those redds and please don’t target spawning fish. Late March through April and into the first part of May are the prime weeks for streamer fishing on the Missouri. We can’t wait!

Spring is also dry fly time as the Midge Machine churns out piles of bugs. We typically start fishing midges in late February but since nobody has been on the river harassing and educating the fish this year, those first few fishable days could be lights out with relatively easy pickings.
Don’t care for fishing midges? Spring is also Skwalla time so if throwing big dries is your thing don’t miss this opportunity. Many of the larger browns we catch each spring fall for the Skwalla.

I think we could be in for one phenomenal spring if this weather ever breaks and while it’s tough to shift gears to fishing mode while winter continues to have a stranglehold, it’s coming soon so there’s no time like the present to prepare.
It’s time to dig out your gear and get it organized. It’s a great time to replace those old, worn fly lines and this is the spring you should treat yourself to a new pair of Simms waders and boots. We’d be happy to help you with that!

How about a brand new Lamson, Ross or Redington reel or maybe a new LOOP, Redington or Echo rod. We’ve also got a limited supply of Nautilus reels we’re clearing out at 25% off. Once they’re gone they’re gone.

Great deals on Simms winter wear including Cold Weather Pants and Shirts and guide flannels….all 25 % off. Help us make space for the new gear arriving daily.

Remember spring is also time for the WCA Spring lodging and guide trip special….we guarantee it’s the best deal you’ll find on the MO’ and it’s happening right now!

$500 for two nights of premium lodging at Wolf Creek Angler and a full day guide trip for one or two anglers through the end of April. This same package will cost you over $800 starting May 1st so don’t miss this opportunity.