Frozen February

Following a week of subzero temps the forecast is calling for a bit of a respite these next few days with highs supposedly approaching the mid 30’s today before dropping back into the 20’s for the remainder of the week. Back to single digits on Sunday and then we’re hoping for that warm up which will get us back on the water.

There’s snow in the forecast for tomorrow and a chance of scattered showers and flurries throughout the week. The snowpack is moving towards average in most drainages so although it’s still very early to say with any degree of certainty what the water situation will be this spring we’re liking what we’re seeing at this point.

Current “most probable” flow predictions have us holding in this 5,000 CFS range for the next couple of months with a bump to around 6,000 in May and a peak of <7,000 in June and then back to around 5,000 for the summer season. If it plays out this way you really couldn’t ask for better conditions for summer fishing. We wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more of a flushing flow at the peak but following last year’s 18-20K which kept the walk/wade crowd from coming and all but eliminated spring dry fly fishing, we’re good with the busy spring that these flows would bring.

Max Probable predictions have us creeping up towards a peak of 10K before dropping into the 6-7,000 range for the summer while the Minimum probable has us dropping into the 3500 CFS range by April and holding there for the season. Fingers crossed that this won’t be the case.

If you’re brave enough to venture out this week wading is likely your best bet as the ramps and the parking lots have not been plowed. If you’re wading there’s a fair amount of shelf ice out there, mostly in and around that slow water you’re going to want to be fishing so please use caution and also keep an eye out for those floating chunks of ice.

We’re starting to do a brisk lodging business with the hard water crowd now that Holter is fishing well so if you do see a weather window coming and you think you’d like to come out and fish with us try to call well ahead of time as the weekend lodging tends to fill up by the middle part of the week.

The shop is open from 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM Wednesday – Saturday and 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM on Sundays, weather permitting. We’re open EVERY DAY for lodging and guide trips and speaking of lodging and guide trips…don’t miss our winter guide trip and lodging special. That’s two nights of premium lodging and a full day guide trip for one or two anglers for just $500. You won’t find a better deal anywhere.

It’s been a lonely February so far at Wolf Creek Angler. Here’s hoping for warmer weather and mild winter days on the water. We hope you make us your first stop on the way to the MO for lines, leaders, tippet and shuttles. Simms waders, boots and cold weather gear. Loop, Echo and Redington rods. Ross, Nautilus, Lamson, Echo and Redington reels and of course the largest selection of Missouri River flies ever assembled under one roof in Wolf Creek Montana.

MOvember Special

Judging by the abundance of vacancies and the lack of traffic in the shop I’d say the 2018 season has pretty much drawn to a close. We’re currently sitting just shy of 30 degrees with a light snow falling. More of the same on tap through tomorrow with lows dropping into the teens the next couple of nights.

While these aren’t exactly prime fishing conditions we’ll see highs climbing back near 40 by the end of the week which could translate into good fishing and a good opportunity to spend a little more time on the water before winter sets in.

To encourage you to make the journey we’re offering a late fall/winter special you can’t afford to pass up. We’re calling it the MOvember SPECIAL but it will be in effect all winter long.

We are offering full day Missouri River Guided float trips for one or two anglers for $400 or two nights of lodging and a full day on the water for $500. That’s a savings of over $300!

Mind you we’re starting trips later in the morning this time of year and with the dwindling hours of daylight you’re getting a shorter trip but you won’t find a better deal anywhere.

Some aren’t offering winter trips at all. Others are offering them at full price and some are offering a discount but nobody else is offering a lodging and fishing package deal and NOBODY can come close to what we’re doing. We’re offering two nights of premium lodging and a full day on the water for less than a guide trip will cost you elsewhere.

Keep in mind also that while the lodging tax is always in effect, beginning November 15th the resort tax will be on hiatus until April so that’s an additional 3% savings on EVERYTHING. Lodging, Guide Trips, Shuttles, Flies, Simms sportswear and accessories, Drift Boat Rentals…..EVERYTHING!

And the best part of the deal? No cancellation fees! When you book a trip during the season you are locked in and under most circumstances you will end up losing your 50% deposit. That’s not the case now. Winter can be a challenging time to book a trip because the weather can change without notice and while we don’t mind being on the water in sub-zero conditions we realize that this isn’t for everyone.

Not to worry. Book your trip and rest assured that if the weather turns or if you simply change your mind you’re off the hook. No fees. No questions asked!

Just looking for a place to stay on your DIY hunting or fishing adventure? Winter lodging rates are $99/night plus tax. All available units are completely furnished with a kitchen and private bath.

Winter fishing on the Missouri can be downright fantastic. It can also be slow. It’s fishing! We’re concentrating primarily on nymphing and streamer fishing right now but there are plenty of dry fly opportunities as well. As we move into December and into the heart of winter fishing those dry fly opportunities will dwindle but will return in the late winter as midge fishing becomes a viable option.

Winter fishing is not for everyone but once that cabin fever begins to set in a day on the Missouri might be just what the doctor ordered. Things are quiet in Wolf Creek and Craig for the winter months but we do have Shotgun Annie’s and The Oasis for dining and night life; The Canyon Store for gas, groceries and a great Montana Microbrew selection and of course Wolf Creek Angler for all of your Missouri River Winter Fly Fishing Needs.

We’ve got more on-site lodging than anyone, the best winter bug selection around and all the cold weather gear you’ll need to eliminate cold from the equation.

Don’t forget our lodging units are all furnished with a full kitchen and access to barbecue grills so bring your own food with you and you won’t have to go anywhere!

We hope to see you this MOVEMBER and all winter long for HOT fishing on COLD days with Wolf Creek Angler.

October on the MO’

The second season is in full swing here on the Missouri on this second day of October and if the last few days are any indication we could be in for one phenomenal fall fishing season.

Cloudy skies and chilly temps (with the exception of yesterday afternoon when summer made a brief return) have made for ideal conditions. The bugs are going strong and the fish are feasting. These past several days have been a DFO’s dream….a target rich environment to say the least.

Those focusing their efforts below on nymphs and streamers are finding success as well. Fall is definitely among our favorite times to fish the MO’ regardless of the conditions but this fall feels like it has the potential to go down as one of the best in recent memory.

We do have some interesting weather on the horizon next week with the forecast calling for snow with highs in the 30’s and lows in the 20’s. Wednesday could be challenging with a high of 31, a low of 22 and up to 3” of snow. Thursday looks roughly the same. Will winter be here to stay come next week? I wouldn’t count on it but be prepared for the elements if you’re headed out there.

I hit the water a couple of days ago on a 40ish degree morning and opted for muck boots instead of waders and a flannel shirt and vest instead of a jacket. Bad call. The forecast was for highs in the mid 50’s which I’m not sure we ever saw. I didn’t bring gloves, I didn’t bring a stocking cap. Thankfully my buddy had extras.

To be fair, I have piles of gloves and hats and jackets stashed in my boat so I’m used to having what I need when I need it, but on this day we were not in my boat and I didn’t do a very good job of being prepared for the elements. Being cold will rapidly ruin a good day so layer up and bring an extra pair of gloves. Err on the side of too many layers….you can always remove the ones you don’t need.

Along these lines we’re stocked up in the shop with great base layers, outerwear and hats and gloves a plenty from Simms and waders and boots from Redington and Korkers. Stop by the shop for all the best cold weather gear.

With the exception of the chill in the air it feels a bit like July around here right now with close to a full house all month long. We have had a few cancellations from folks who didn’t like the looks of next week’s forecast so we do have a couple of rooms available should you decide to brave the elements. We do have guides at the ready as well who’d like nothing better than to get you dialed in to fall fishing on the Missouri.

Six weeks from now we’ll likely be looking back at the awesome fall season that was. Don’t let it pass you by. Give us a call and book NOW! We’re open daily 7:30 am – 5:00 pm and we invite you to come in and discover what the buzz is all about. Wolf Creek Angler is the best Missouri River Fly Shop you never knew was here. Our mission is to earn your business, one customer at a time by providing you with exceptional customer service and the quality products and services you expect from your Missouri River fly Shop.

Come discover all that Wolf Creek has to offer. Not only is Wolf Creek home to THE up and coming Missouri River Fly Shop, Lodge and Guide Service, but it’s also got great dining (and drinking) options with Shotgun Annie’s and The Oasis; the best cell service for MILES AROUND; The Canyon Store which is the ONLY gas station/convenience store between Helena and Cascade and  all  closer to Holter Dam and Wolf Creek Bridge FAS than ANY  OTHER SHOP.

And speaking of Wolf Creek Bridge FAS – The FAS will be closed to the public starting tomorrow for a capital improvement project which will take approximately 30 days or less.

This will definitely be an inconvenience for the time being but it sounds like we’ll soon also be closer to the NICEST and NEWEST FAS on the MO’.

Mid January Report – What Lies Ahead?

It’s hard to believe but we’re already more than half way through January. Spring will be here before you know it…just 63 days away!

As you might expect the talk has turned to snowpack and spring flows. Everybody wants to know what the water situation will be when they arrive to the Missouri this spring.

Per usual, our response has been non-committal but if pressed on the issue we’ll tell you we are cautiously optimistic that we will see a similar season to last year and that we are hopeful for, but not counting on,  a good flushing flow in the 12,000 – 15,ooo cfs range for at least a few days.

Most Missouri River blogs will spend at least a little time on flow predictions, as they should. Some have already proclaimed a great season ahead based on SNOTEL Snow Water Equivalent info which does look good at the moment  but which is always subject to dramatic change.

Others have voiced a less optimistic outlook. We are in the camp of the moderate majority believing the glass is currently half full. The glass could remain half full, it could end up near empty, it could overflow. The data we are looking at today will change as the winter progresses. It’s important to keep this in mind when trying to predict the future but there is definitely value in keeping abreast of current conditions.

Snow pack and precipitation forecasts are elements of the map. The map is not the destination but it gets us there one way or another.

So what does this mean for your 2018 Missouri River fly fishing pilgrimage? Probably not a whole lot just yet but we will be keeping an eye on the map for you and will always be happy give your our best guess of what the spring will bring.

Based on today’s map it looks like the most probable outcome will be flows in 4200 cfs range for the remainder of the winter bumping up near 7000 in May and peaking at around 8000 before leveling off in the 4500 range for the summer season.

There could me more water, there could be less but statistically speaking  the probability is high that we will see flows falling somewhere in the range presented in this chart…or not.

Our cut and paste water report proclamation….there will be water. How little or how much we don’t know. What we do know is that we will be enjoying awesome fishing on the Missouri no matter what the flows. It could be better fished from a boat, it could be a wade angler’s dream, it will likely be somewhere right in the middle.

We understand the desire to know so you can plan ahead but the best that anyone can do is keep a close eye on the available data and adjust one’s plans accordingly. A word of caution though, prime dates are filling rapidly and will continue to do so. Don’t wait too long or you will end up without a room and/or a guide for 2018.

2017 The Year in Review

Another year and another season in the books.

As we sit through the latest round of winter weather we can’t help but think back to those warm sunny days on the water. And while winter is barely a week underway we know that spring will be here before we know it, at least we hope it will!

Looking back over posts from the year it looks as though 2017 started out much as 2018 will, in winter’s icy grasp. With any luck however it won’t be long until we see that first January warm-up and get back to fishing the MO’. In the meantime, the ice has formed and the hard water anglers have started booking rooms for the days ahead, a welcome development after a slow and quiet December.

The early months of 2017 were quiet around the shop, as they always tend to be with the biggest story of the winter being the renovations to our motel.

Unit number eight received a much needed makeover and our guests loved it. Look for a similar transformation in number 9 this year. A paint job in Cabin #2 and new flooring in Cabin #3 were also welcomed changes.

River life resumed normalcy in late February as the winter weather began to retreat. March and early April brought phenomenal fishing on the Missouri and elsewhere and things got off to an early start at WCA with many eager anglers descending on the MO’. Run off began in mid May and kept things busy as the Missouri was the only fishable water in the region for a time.

We announced our new guide lineup in April, welcoming Kelly Harrison and Jeff Jennings to our team. Both were, and continue to be a great fit and will resume work for us in 2018. Prime dates are filling quickly so don’t miss your chance to fish with Kelly or Jeff or any one of our other amazing guides.

The spring fishing was nothing short of spectacular with the hatches coming off right on schedule and plenty of healthy Missouri River bows and browns willing to play. 

The idyllic spring season soon transitioned into an equally idyllic summer and then around the 4th of July things got a little weird. On July 5th I experienced my first earth quake, a 5.8 mag centered near Lincoln which rattled much of the west central part of the state. It was Montana’s biggest quake in decades and did not go unnoticed by many.

By mid July the heat and lack of precipitation brought Hoot Owl closures to many rivers around the region and also opened the door to what ended up being one of the worse fire seasons in our history with over a million acres burned state-wide.

Smokey skies, poor air quality and evacuations were the story for the remainder of the summer. Fishing was fine but the poor air quality led to a noticeable drop in business as we awaited the cooler weather of fall and prayed for precipitation which we finally got in mid September  in the form of an early winter storm which delivered rain and snow and effectively brought the fire season to an end.

The Lookout Fire west of Wolf Creek MT Photo by Rocky Infanger

October brought with it more winter weather along with some of the best fall fishing in recent memory. We had a handful of awesome BWO days throughout the course of the fall and streamer fishing was as good as I’ve seen it since I’ve been in Montana.

The BIG news in October was that after a couple of seasons of trying to make it happen,  Wolf Creek Angler received a brand new Project Healing Waters Adipose Flow Drift Boat available to all US Military Active Duty and veterans FREE of charge.

Wolf Creek Angler has partnered with Montana Project Healing WatersAdipose Boatworks and Headhunters Fly Shop to expand this popular program which up until now had been administered exclusively through Headhunters in Craig.  Now with one boat at Wolf Creek Angler in Wolf Creek and two at Headhunters in Craig we will be able to accommodate even more vets.  If you are a vet or an active duty US Military member you qualify for a free rental boat courtesy of Project Healing Waters, Helena Chapter.

Of course the other BIG news of October in Wolf Creek MT was the much anticipated Grand Opening of Shotgun Annie’s Eatery and Tavern.

The wait was worth it and we are so pleased to be dining and drinking in this establishment again. It was the topic of conversation all summer long amongst our guests, most of whom were unable to experience Shotgun Annie’s during their 2017 visit. We’re pleased to announce that dining has returned to Wolf Creek…breakfast, lunch AND dinner.

It appeared as though it was going to shape up to be an excellent late season on the Missouri with some off-the-charts fishing action and a brand new eatery and tavern in town. We were fully stocked with cold-weather bugs and gear and ready for that coveted last gasp of the retail and lodging season but alas it was not to be.

Mother Nature had different plans and early November brought snow and arctic air, essentially bringing the 2017 season to a close. The weather improved and the fishing stayed hot through the month of November and the first half of December but aside from local traffic the river was empty.

Late November Days on the MO’

Christmas brought more winter weather which brings us back to where we are today. Two days remain in 2017 and we are in the midst of a significant winter storm. I’ve fished my last day of 2017 (over a week ago) and it looks like it will be mid week next week at the soonest before I fish the new year.

Snowpack is in great shape and the season forecast is for below average temps and above average precipitation so all is well but watching the snow pile up outside I can’t help but dream of spring.

Happy New Year from all of us at Wolf Creek Angler.  Thank you for making 2017 our best yet. I have a feeling 2018 will be even better!

Winter Solstice

 

Winter has arrived, right on cue. Yesterday’s winter storm delivered around eight inches of snow to Wolf Creek and temperatures plummeted into the single digits last night. Today’s gusty winds could make for hazardous travel with blowing and drifting snow and the next round of precipitation will occur tonight with 2-4 additional inches of snow expected.

So what’s the good news?

Well, first of all, being that today is the first day of winter (the winter solstice) starting tomorrow the days will begin to get longer. The long cold nights won’t be quite as long. You’ll barely notice for some time but just keep it in your mind that the long march towards spring has FINALLY begun. Before you know it the long days of summer will be upon us.

Summer Days on the Missouri

On a related note, the snow and cold is exactly what we need. We’re building next season’s water right now so let’s keep it coming! Things are looking good so far.

We’ve gotten a lot of calls over the past two weeks from the hard water fishing folks wondering how the ice is on Holter. We should start to see some soon!

With highs in the teens and lows in the single digits for at least the next ten days it won’t be long at all before the tent cities spring up on the lakes. Keep us in mind for lodging if you plan on coming out.

Fishing on the Missouri has screeched to a halt after some of the best fall fishing in recent memory.  Shelf ice is rapidly forming as water temps plummet. Current temp is 35 degrees and it’s only going to get colder so be sure to dress for it if you plan to brave the frigid waters. I think it’s a safe bet that the fish have migrated en masse to the slow winter depths so that should take some of the mystery out of things from here on out. SLOW, DEEP WATER and anything PINK….that’s what you need to know for winter fishing on the MO’.

Remember, if you still have Christmas shopping to do we’ve got multitudes of awesome last minute gift ideas. We’ll be here (weather dependent)  right through Christmas Eve. If you live in Helena and don’t want to make the trip give us a call at the shop, tell us what you need and there’s a pretty good chance I can deliver the goods…free of charge.

Happy Winter Soltstice! Enjoy the snow, appreciate the cold, respect the hazards and think spring!

 

By |2017-12-21T18:57:31+00:00December 21st, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized, Wolf Creek Chatter|0 Comments

Book Now and Save

It’s the perfect time to book your 2018  fishing and lodging dates with Wolf Creek Angler. Prices are going up but if you book your 2018 dates by November 30th we will hold 2017 pricing.

We’re also excited to announce our Winter Guide Trip and Lodging Special which starts next week and runs through March.

Beginning Thursday, November 9th we are offering full day Missouri River Guided float trips for one or two anglers  for $350 or two nights of lodging and a full day on the water for $500. That’s over a $250 savings!

Mind you we’re starting trips later in the morning this time of year and with the dwindling hours of daylight you’re getting a shorter trip but you won’t find a better deal anywhere. Some aren’t offering winter trips at all, others are offering them at full price. We’re offering two nights of lodging and a full day on the water for one or two anglers for less than what you’ll pay just for your guide trip elsewhere.

Keep in mind also that while the lodging tax is always in effect, the resort tax is about to go on hiatus until April so that’s an additional 3% savings on EVERYTHING beginning November 15th. Lodging, Guide Trips, Shuttles, Flies, Simms sportswear and accessories, Drift Boat Rentals…..EVERYTHING!

And the best part of the deal? No cancellation fees! When you book a trip during the season you are locked in and under most circumstances you will end up losing your 50% deposit if you cancel. That’s not the case now. Winter can be a challenging time to book a trip because the weather can change without  notice and while we don’t mind being on the water in sub-zero conditions we realize that this isn’t for everyone.

Not to worry. Book your trip and rest assured that if the weather turns or if you simply change your mind you’re off the hook. No fees. No questions asked!

Winter fishing on the Missouri can be downright fantastic. It can also be slow. It’s fishing! We’re concentrating primarily on nymphing and streamer fishing right now though there are occasional dry fly opportunities as well. As we move into December and into the heart of winter fishing those dry fly opportunities will dwindle but will return in the late winter as midge fishing becomes a viable option.

Winter fishing is not for everyone but once that cabin fever begins to set in a day on the Missouri might be just what the doctor ordered. Things are quiet in Wolf Creek and Craig for the winter months but we do have Shotgun Annie’s for dining and night life; The Canyon Store for gas, groceries and a great Montana Microbrew selection and of course Wolf Creek Angler for all of your Missouri River Winter Fly Fishing Needs.

We’ve got more on-site lodging than anyone, the best winter bug selection around and all the cold weather gear you’ll need to eliminate being cold from the equation.

Don’t forget our lodging units are all furnished with a full kitchen and access to barbecue grills so bring your own food with you and you won’t have to go anywhere!

We hope to see you soon for HOT fishing on COLD days with Wolf Creek Angler.

Fall Wandering

October Woods

Just back from my annual autumn wandering weekend in the Flathead feeling well rested, refreshed and ready to finish this season out strong.

Fall is an awesome time for road trips. It’s the season of the harvest offering great fishing and hunting opportunities as well as a spectacular display of nature’s bounty. The radiance of autumn leaves contrasted with bright blue skies or high country snow or brooding grey clouds….it doesn’t get any better does it?

Fall has always been my favorite season and for whatever reason I have a lifetime of memories (good and bad) which burn brighter than most against the backdrops of fall. The smell of burning leaves on crisp October nights or heavenly mesquite or apple wood smoke billowing from the smoker on cold rainy mornings after the hunt. The crunch of frosty ground underfoot while navigating the dark deer woods. October baseball, November steelhead, lazy football Sundays, apple orchards, pumpkin patches, venison, campfires and road trips through the autumn landscapes. These are a few of my favorite things!

I often mourn the exit of summer during those first weeks of fall but as October arrives the sadness goes away and I embrace the awesomeness of autumn. For as long as I can remember we’ve celebrated fall with a road trip. The U.P., Mackinac Island, Traverse City, Bannack, Glacier and Yellowstone…they all go great with autumn.

The sun is shining on the Missouri today and it seems the wind has gone away for the time being. Great weather for fall fishing this week with plenty of sunshine and highs in the 60’s. The next chance for any weather looks to be Thursday with a slight chance of rain or snow in the morning but aside from that it’s looking like blue bird days right on through the weekend.

It could be the perfect opportunity for you to do some fall wandering of your own and if you’re going to do it why not wander to the Missouri where you can not only get your fall fix but you can also get in on some of the best fishing we’ve had all year. It’s definitely been a fall to remember where the fishing is concerned and it should remain great well into November.

We’ve got plenty of lodging available and guides are at the ready, having reached the end of their busy season and wanting to do whatever they can to prepare for the long winter ahead. The shop is fully stocked with cold weather gear from Simms and Redington, hand warmers, streamer lines (and streamer sticks), the largest selection of Missouri River fall flies ever gathered under one roof in Wolf Creek Montana, Adipose and RO drift boat rentals (including a brand new Project Healing Waters Adipose boat available free of charge to all active duty and vets of the US Armed Services), Wading gear from Redington and Korkers and much more.

Wolf Creek Angler is your Missouri River fall fly fishing destination.

Project Healing Waters Boat now at Wolf Creek Angler

We are pleased to announce that starting this weekend we will have a brand new Project Healing Waters Adipose Flow Drift Boat available to all US Military Active Duty and veterans FREE of charge.

Wolf Creek Angler has partnered with Montana Project Healing Waters, Adipose Boatworks and Headhunters Fly Shop to expand this popular program which up until now has been administered exclusively through Headhunters in Craig.  Now with one boat at Wolf Creek Angler in Wolf Creek and two at Headhunters in Craig we will be able to accommodate even more vets.  If you are a vet or an active duty US Military member you qualify for a free rental boat courtesy of Project Healing Waters, Helena Chapter.

The boat is available every day of the year and can be reserved by giving us a call at 406-235-4350. You should bring your own vehicle with a hitch and 2″ ball. The use of the boat does not include your vehicle shuttle. If you need the boat launched and retrieved, you can make arrangements with us for a small fee.

We are proud to participate in this program and we fully support PHW and the outstanding work they do to serve all of those who have served all of us. We encourage you to take a minute and check out the Project Healing Waters web site. They do amazing work dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly fishing and associated activities including education and outings and they are always looking for help.

 

By |2017-12-07T15:58:46+00:00October 19th, 2017|Categories: Wolf Creek Chatter|Tags: |0 Comments

Spaghetti Feed October 21st

Should you happen to find yourself in Wolf Creek or Craig next Saturday, October 21st and you’re looking for a place to eat, get over to the Wolf Creek School for the annual Spaghetti Feed.

It’s a great dining option and a great cause with the proceeds going to benefit the Wolf Creek Volunteer Fire Department.

There will be auction items to bid on and donations are always accepted and very much appreciated.

Volunteer Fire Departments make up the vast majority of the fire fighting force in the state of Montana with close to 94% of registered departments made up of all or mostly volunteers according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to those who volunteer and these fund raising events are a perfect opportunity to support the local efforts.

The Spaghetti Feed will take place on Saturday, October 21st from 5 pm – 8 pm at the Wolf Creek School gym. Please come out and support our local volunteer fire department if you are here.

By |2017-12-07T16:01:24+00:00October 12th, 2017|Categories: Wolf Creek Chatter|0 Comments