Mid April on the Missouri

Well TAX Day has come and gone and the spring season is really starting to take shape. We’ve seen our best first half of April ever thanks to adverse water conditions elsewhere though now that things have settled on the west side traffic has thinned a bit for the time being.

We’re under a winter weather advisory once again today with light snow falling but it looks like we’re finally going to see some nicer weather with temps approaching 70 by Friday before returning to more seasonable 50’s for the weekend.I’m definitely ready for some 70 degree days but these cool spring temps are exactly what we need right now to keep things in shape going forward.

Flows on the MO are on the high side for April, currently at around 8600 CFS which isn’t ideal for the wade anglers but fishing from the boat has been good most days, great some days and tough on others which is usually how it goes. Overall though spring is delivering.

As you might expect, river conditions have been the hot topic as of late. Everyone wants to know what the flows will be when they get here. The jury is still out on that.

April max flow conditions from the Bureau of Reclamation have already been exceeded with our current flows but even so, snow pack is hovering in the average to slightly above average range so we aren’t expecting to see a repeat of last year’s 20,000 CFS.

Last year around this time

2019 – All about the averages

As always, the wild card will be precipitation. Snow to an extent but rain for the most part will determine where we end up.
Last year at this time we were looking at snowpack in the 180% of average range so we were expecting to see a high water event. Current snowpack isn’t telling that kind of a story but again, if we see an exceptionally rainy spring then all bets are off.

On the bright side last year’s high water provided a much needed scouring of the substrate and we’re optimistic that the river reaped huge benefits from this scouring. Will we see Caddis Nirvana on the MO this season? Only time will tell.

Dry fly opportunities have been minimal but nymphing and streamer fishing are a go. Tailwater sows, Fish Finder Worms, Caviar Scuds, Rainbow Czechs, Amex, Firebead Rays, UV Crush, Bubble Yum Scuds, Pill Poppers, Zebra Midges and soft hackle sows have all been go to choices as of late and I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to try a green machine or a BWO Magic Fly just to switch things up.

Deep and slow is still a go but transitional water is in play. The water is still on the cold side but should start to bump up with warmer days and nights ahead which will get those fish moving around and spreading out. Rainbows may be scarce as spawning is in full swing (watch those redds when wading) but this is the perfect time to target those hungry browns with a streamer….just sayin!

We’re moderately busy this week with lodging and doing a fair amount of guide trips but we have rooms and guides at the ready if you’d like to come out and spend a day or two on one of the best trout rivers in North America. Look for things to steadily pick up as we hit the end of April into the heart of spring fishing in early May. You’ve got exactly two weeks to take advantage of $400 guide trips and $99 premium lodging. Starting May 1st that trip will cost you $550 and the rooms go up to $135/night.

Welcome to spring on the Missouri. We can’t wait to see you.

January Water Report

Perhaps it’s a little early to start talking about what we’ll see for water this spring but since we’ve already been fielding plenty of calls on the subject here’s what we know.

Snowpack across western Montana is currently sitting in the 80-90% of normal range. It could be much worse but the fact is we could use some precipitation. Following record precipitation last year, this winter has been a return to what has unfortunately become somewhat of the new normal.

The January long term forecast is for above average temperatures and below average precipitation which could translate into a busy month of fishing on the Missouri while those waiting for the ice to form on Holter Lake may be waiting all winter long.

We’re thankful for any business we get during the long winter months so we’ll take the traffic but here’s hoping for some major precipitation over the next couple of months.

Regardless of snowpack, we’re anticipating a great year ahead on the Missouri. River flow predictions are calling for a likely scenario of flows holding steady in the 4,500 CFS range through the winter months and peaking in the 6,000 CFS range in May and June.  This is great news to the wade anglers who missed out on fishing the Missouri last spring.

Max flow predictions show flows holding in the 4500 CFS range through February and then bumping up around 1000 CFS each month through June with a peak in the 10,000 CFS range while the minimum flow predictions show a steady drop in flow over the winter, leveling off in the 3500 CFS range beginning in April and holding there for the remainder of the season. This is not ideal. Let’s hope we see the most probable scenario (or max probable) play out.

We’re anxious to see what effect last season’s high water scrubbing is going to have on the hatches this year. It could be an epic dry fly year on the Missouri! Will we see the caddis explosion that has occurred following high water years in the past? Only time will tell. One thing looks fairly certain however, that being that we will actually have dry fly fishing before July. We missed much of the traditional dry fly prime time last season so we’re anxious for some BWO and PMD activity.

As per usual this is all speculation. We’re using the best information we have available to loosely predict what we might see this spring but Mother Nature always has the last word.

We’re not climatologists, we just sell fish hooks for a living so we’re content to leave the actual business of forecasting to the experts. We’ll keep you up to date on snowpack and flow conditions all winter long but at this point it definitely feels like it could be a return to dry fly nirvana on the MO in 2019.

In the meantime winter fishing is HOT right now. The nymphing is good to great depending on the day and streamers have been effective both on the swing and the strip. We’ve seen some midge activity with sporadic feeding. If we continue to see mild conditions throughout the winter expect good midge fishing as early as late January and throughout February and March.

We’ve been busy with lodging and have been getting a lot of calls about our winter lodging and guide trip special. The rumors are true! $500 for a full day guided float trip on the MO and TWO nights of premium lodging at Wolf Creek Angler. Our lodging options are quite limited during the winter so things tend to fill up quickly. If the mild weather persists and the demand is there we may look at opening more lodging up sooner rather than later. We’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime – give us a call and book your cure to cabin fever today and while you’re at it, make those spring/summer plans if you haven’t done so already. Prime dates are filling fast.

Late October Missouri River Fishing Report

Wolf Creek Bridge FAS is OPEN

We’ve been enjoying some gorgeous autumn weather these last several days though the fishing has slowed considerably.

We love the blue skies and sunshine, optimal conditions for showcasing the dwindling fall color show. The fish do not share our love for such days. The fish prefer the shadows.

That being said, there has been no shortage of opportunities to target rising fish, even on the sunniest of days if you know where to look.

A Sprout Baetis paired with cripple or emerger will get eaten as will a split wing BWO or a tried and true parachute Adams. An October Caddis makes a great strike indicator…the kind they like to eat! Drop a CDC Caddis Emerger or a zebra midge to up your odds and always make that first cast count. Matching the hatch can be important but presentation is critical. They’ll eat something other than the exact bug that’s on the water if it’s presented correctly. They won’t think about eating a poorly presented fly no matter how close to the natural it looks.

There are always exceptions to the rules but if you plan to consistently catch fish you have to make your first casts count. A ravenous pod of hungry trout on the Missouri is NOT the place for casting practice!

Nymphing reports have ranged from awesome to terrible, depending on location (and just maybe also depending on the skill level of the anglers). You end up hearing a lot of conflicting reports over the course of a day in the fly shop due in large part to the subjective nature of our sport.

It’s not uncommon to hear the extreme ends of the spectrum on any given day. “The water is really high” for one but “the water is as low as I’ve seen it” for another. “The slowest it’s ever been for us” often times coincides with “the best we’ve ever done here”.

The objective report is that nymphing is good. It was better prior to this streak of sunny days and it will likely be better once the clouds return but overall nymphing has been good and will always be your ticket to numbers.

Tailwater Sows have been money for me as of late, typically paired with a Rainbow Czech or beaded version of the Tailwater Sow but I’ve also had good luck with Pill Poppers, Firebead Rays, black Zebra Midges, Little Green Machines, Psycho Mays and plain old pheasant tails.
I’ve been running 5’ to split and not doing much in the way of depth adjustments. Many are finding success running shorter late in the day, I haven’t found a reason to do so. Keep it simple and don’t overthink it.

If you’re having a tough time finding fish take a look at the depth of your rig and the water you’re fishing before going crazy with bug changes.

Believe me, we’re all for people making bug changes. We’ve got thousands of bugs we think you should try but truth be told….it’s typically not the bug itself but rather where you’re fishing it. Even so, just like everywhere, there are a handful of go-to patterns on this river you should not be without…all of which are available for purchase every day at Wolf Creek Angler.

Streamer reports have been decent but once again, blue bird days are typically not your best bet for tossing the big bugs. Mornings have been decent before the sun hits the water and the long shadows of the afternoon into the early evening hours are good bets.

The water is still relatively warm (currently 52 degrees) so strip aggressively. They’re up for the chase and if you’re lucky the ATTACK! Expect plenty of short strikes and keep at it. Weeds are still a hindrance but they haven’t been horrible. There are angry browns lurking somewhere in the shadows. All you have to do is find them.

Try MK UltrasSparkle Minnows, Dirty Hippies, Autumn Splendors, Skiddish Smolts, Polar Leeches, Circus Peanuts, Mojo Minnows or anything else you believe in. We’ve been having our best luck with olive, natural and grey but don’t overlook white.

The entire river is fishing well right now. Best nymphing reports have come from the upper while we’ve found the better dry fly and streamer fishing to be below Craig. FYI – The Wolf Creek Bridge FAS is OPEN.

The fall season is in full swing and it will be over before you know it. Make your fall fly fishing getaway to the Missouri while there is still time.

Autumn has Finally Arrived

Fall has arrived

Here we are in the final days of September and while autumn just officially arrived last Saturday, in some ways summer seems like a very distant memory.

Most mornings have been dark and chilly and while we’ve continued to have some days with temps in the 70’s the chill returns early each evening.

Traffic has been steadily increasing since about the second week of September and while we’ll be winterizing rooms before we know it, we’re currently enjoying a full house more nights than not. I always enjoy the company during the fall knowing that in just six weeks or so the lonely days of the winter season will be upon us.

Soon the dark winter days of the canyon will commence and the shop will be starved of sunlight until spring. In the meantime we’re loving each and every sunny day.

The fishing has been good overall, though with the increase in traffic comes the increase in sub-par fishing reports. Guide reports have been good most days, DIY reports are always a mixed bag.

The river is in great shape right now, holding in that 4500 CFS range with water temps in the 60 degree range and dropping. We’re getting a fair amount of folks inquiring about the flows, feeling like they are higher than normal. This isn’t really the case as indicated by this chart which shows that we are currently just a few hundred CFS over the historical average.

We get a fair amount of wading anglers who prefer flows to be in the 3500 – 4000 cfs range which is great for accessing more spots but that being said, the river is VERY wadeable right now. You should always use extreme caution when wading any river but these flows are not considered dangerous.

Weeds are an ever-present challenge right now, but no worse than normal. Expect to encounter them and be vigilant about keeping your rigs clean. Weeds are part of the deal this time of year on the Missouri. Don’t let them get you down and don’t expect them to disappear anytime soon. They’ll be here throughout the fall fishing season but there’s no reason to let them ruin your day.

Dry fly fishing is a real possibility each day though we are in transition so expect this to improve from here on out. There have been multiple reports of BWO’s and you can expect to encounter pseudos, callibaetis and caddis as well. Terrestrials are definitely a possibility throughout the fall but we’ve all but closed the book on sub-par hopper season. Ants and beetles are still in the mix but keep your expectations low. We’re moving BWO’s front and center in the dry fly bins as we speak.

Nymphing will continue to produce. No big changes on the bug menu though we’ve definitely seen a shift towards rainbow Czechs as the point fly of choice. Purple weight flies are a close second and I wouldn’t hesitate to throw a pink Amex into the mix. Trail with a black zebra or your baetis nymph of choice. If those don’t work try a soft hackle sow or a tailwater sow. More often than not it’s more of a depth issue than a bug issue but sometimes you have to throw the kitchen sink at them.

It pretty much goes without saying that fall is streamer season so if that’s your thing then you should be here now! Yes, weeds complicate things but work through those issues and you’ll be rewarded. Who knows, that next cast might just miss every weed in its path and entice that 24” angry fall brown to strike. You won’t know if you don’t throw.

Streamer bins are full and we’re also fully stocked with cold weather gear from base layers to hats and gloves to jackets, waders, boots and more.

It’s been a busy month for guide trips and we expect October will be the same. We’ve got plenty of dates available for both the Missouri and the Blackfoot.

Don’t wait any longer, autumn is here…make your fall fishing plans today.

September Fishing Forecast

Fall Colors on the MO’

September has arrived.

Labor Day has come and gone. Summer Vacation is OVER. School is back in session. High School and college football are underway and NFL football returns this Sunday. Could this be the Lions’ year?

Technically we’ve still got almost three weeks of summer to go but for all intents and purposes autumn has arrived.

It even feels like fall today with a chilly 42 degrees this morning and a high only in the 60’s. We’ll see a return to the 80’s this week before things trend cooler again starting Saturday.

As you might imagine the Tuesday after Labor Day tends to be a quiet day in the shop and on the river but it won’t be long before things fire up again as we enter what we’ve come to refer to as our “second season”.

Rivaling our peak months of June and July, mid -September through mid- November offer some of the best fishing of the season. Having lost a good part of the prime time this season to high flows we’re hoping for an especially strong fall and by the looks of things we’re going to get it.

Guide dates and lodging are filling quickly for late September and the first half of October. The weather will dictate what happens after that but late October and early November have been money for as long as I’ve been here.

We’ll keep as much lodging open for as long as we can but as the cold begins to take hold we’ll be forced to start shutting things down, likely mid to late October. The motel units are the first to be closed and we generally keep the cabins open through Thanksgiving. Our bungalows and the shop are open year round and guides are available any and every day of the year.

Epic dry fly fishing and phenomenal streamer fishing along with great nymphing opportunities define late fall on the Missouri. Crisp autumn air, BWO’s and predatory browns on the prowl make fall my favorite time to fish the MO’ and in fact my favorite time to fish period.

Crowds will soon return, though not like what we see during the prime time so there is some solitude to be had out there as many turn their attention to hunting from here on out.

Expect tricos to continue for the next week or two and stay focused on your pseudo as well as your hopper/terrestrial game. Caddis have been resurgent as of late and will continue to offer opportunities as we await the autumn BWO’s.

Nymphers are finding success with gold or purple weight flies, Psycho Mays, LGM’s, Purple Lightning Bugs, PT’s, Peep Shows, Redemptions, Zebras, 2 Bits and the like. Claws R Cray, Snapping Crays and Zirdles continue to drive the numbers.

Streamer fishing is heating up and will only get better from here on out. Low light conditions and overcast days are key but don’t feel like you can’t fish streamers in the sun. Sunny clear days may not be optimal but you never know unless you throw. There are plenty of big fish caught on streamers on sunny days. Don’t wait for perfect conditions, work with what you’ve got.

Speaking of conditions, prepare yourself mentally to contend with the weeds no matter how you’re fishing. They can frustrate the best anglers out there but if you choose your water wisely and expect the inevitable it’ll go a long way in helping you maintain your sanity.

Olive has been working well as have natural and tan. JJ Sparkle Minnow shines this time of year but don’t give up on the Sculpin version which seems to get it done in just about any conditions. ZK’s MK Ultra in grey or brown and yellow, Dirty Hippies, ZK’s Inflated Ego, Montana Mouthwash, Galloups Peanut Envy, Skiddish Smolt, buggers and polar leeches all good choices right now.

You’ve heard it here plenty and we’ll continue to preach it…fish what you like and fish it well. Confidence in your bugs makes all the difference in the world no matter what discipline but it’s critical in the streamer game.

Most are stripping, some are swinging. Cover a lot of water and bomb the banks but don’t overlook the riffles, drop offs and buckets. The fish are everywhere. Stripping off of the bank will get you your best ROI but you could definitely hit pay dirt hitting the water overlooked by most.

Fish the next two weeks if you want solitude. Busy days are coming.

Holter Dam to Craig is still your best bet for mixing it up with nymphs and dries (emphasis on nymphs). I’d stay below Craig if it’s streamer or terrestrial action you seek.

Welcome to fall on the Missouri. Be sure and pay us a visit for obscene deals on summer gear. We’re in the process of shifting to colder weather gear and will see an influx of new arrivals coming soon.

From the top guides on the river to affordable lodging to shuttles and accessories, rods and reels, lines and leaders, boots and waders and the best bug selection in the canyon we are your Missouri River one stop shop for everything autumn fly fishing.

Don’t miss our Fall Wader Sale happening now. Fall is the time to drag the waders and boots back out. Why not treat yourself to an upgrade. 25% off all wading gear while it lasts. We proudly feature Redington waders and boots as well as Korkers boots which continue to dominate with interchangeable felt and rubber soles.

There are always great deals to be had at Wolf Creek Angler, the best shop you never know was here.

Your Mid August Missouri River Report

We’re half way through the month of August and continuing to enjoy one of the finest Trico seasons in recent memory.

Light traffic, and clockwork hatches with plenty of hungry targets…does it get much better?

Why yes, yes it does.

Couple these epic conditions with FREE lodging and that’s about as good as it gets.

Our Dog Days of Summer Guide Trip and Lodging Special will only be around through the end of the month. Book a full day guide trip and one night of premium lodging and the second night is on us! You simply can’t afford to pass this up!

How long will it last? It’s hard to say but you’d be wise to get here sooner rather than later if you want to get in on this action.

Go to dry fly selections include Indicator Spinners, Hi Vis Tricos, Double Wing Tricos, Buzzballs, Hi Vis Sprouts, Drowned Tricos and Caddis favorites like Outriggers, Bloom’s Parachute, Cornfed, CDC Caddis Emergers and Front End Loaders.

Nymphing has been solid as well, though much better on some days than others. Nymphing traffic has been  primarily in the Holter Dam to Craig stretch with the highest concentration of boats in the grass flats…tis the season!

Even so, it’s far from overcrowded and if you’re willing to work some of the sneakier runs you can have it all to yourself (and still catch a bunch of fish).  We’ve been doing well with the Peep Show/Black Zebra combo near the dam and also getting them pretty consistently on Frenchies and Little Green Machines. Red Headed Step Child, Military May, Tailwater Sows, Psycho Mays, Purple Lighting Bugs and PT’s are all good options as are Zirdles and Snapping Crays, especially in the Wolf Creek to Craig run. All of these and many more available now in the well-stocked bins at Wolf Creek Angler.

Hoppers and ants should be a part of your August dry fly arsenal as well. I’ve yet to have a stellar day with the big bugs this season but if you stick with it you should be able to at least move a few fish…especially from Craig down. Work them tight to the banks and don’t overlook the mid-river riffles. I’ve caught some of my best hopper fish in mid-river randomness. Throw anywhere and everywhere. The fish don’t live by our rules of where they should or should not be.

Streamer fishing has likely reached the point of diminishing returns for most anglers with the amount of aquatic vegetation  currently in the system but that being said, I would never shy away from it, particularly on the rare overcast days.

Book your fall dates now while there’s still time and stop in for great deals store wide on summer sportswear and more.

Come out and experience the best dry fly fishing of the season and while you’re at it take advantage of the best deals of the season on great gear from the best brands in the industry.

 

“The Season is Back”

Caddis Sunset – photo by Wolf Creek Angler

I overheard some folks at dinner the other night proclaiming that the season is back after apparently having had a particularly good dry fly day, and while I’m not sure it ever really started to begin with it does seem as though things are coming into shape….just in time for the late summer lull.

There are bugs (tricos a plenty, lingering PMD’s and caddis in the evening). The water is perfect for wading (right around 5K and holding) and most importantly, there are pods of rising fish.

It’s happening much later than what it usually does but better late than never!

As luck would have it the summer traffic cycle has been normal. Prime Time traffic is over but Prime Dry Fly Fishing has just begun.

The boat ramps are quiet (relatively speaking), there’s an abundance of lodging and guide availability and the river is calling.

As if that weren’t enough, starting tomorrow we’re running our Dog Days of Summer Lodging and Guide Trip special. For the entire month of August when you book a full day guide trip and a night of premium lodging we’ll throw in a second night of lodging for FREE.

Does it get any better?

Keep in mind prime time usually books out a year in advance. Now you’ve got a golden opportunity to fish prime conditions on the Missouri at a huge cost savings with a last minute call.

We can’t make any promises about the fishing. It’s been good these past several days and hopefully will continue to be but there are no guarantees. The conventional wisdom is that tricos will continue through the month of August. PMD’s are all but done but terrestrials are about to become a major player. Caddis activity has been somewhat sporadic but is always a possibility.

Will we see epic dry fly days throughout the month of August? Time will tell. I expect we will see some good days and some not so good days, as always.

Give us a call today to book your Dog Days Special. You’ll have the potential for some awesome Trico fishing  and there is no better month to fish hoppers on the Missouri. Some of our biggest browns of the season are always caught on hoppers.  I haven’t even mentioned the nymphing since most of the focus seems to be on top right now but should you want to fish the bobber you’ll likely do just fine.

Best bets for nymphing right now include Little Green Machines, Weight Flies (gold or purple), Tung Darts, Psycho Mays, PMD and/or Rusty Magic Fly, Black Zebra Midge, PMD Redemption, Purple Lightning Bug, WD 40’s, Soft Hackle PT jigs, Red Headed Step Child, Dark Peep Show, Doc’s Summer Bug, Nitro Caddis Pupa, Pulsating Caddis Pupa, 2 Bits and various crayfish patterns (Claws R, Snapping Cray, Zirdle etc.)

Best Dries- Indicator Spinner Trico, Hi Vis Trico Spinner, RS2 Trico, Drowned Trico, Barr’s Trico Emerger, Trinas Hi Vis Sprout Black, Bloom’s Parachute Caddis, Outrigger Caddis, CDC Caddis Emerger, X Caddis, Front End Loader and your grass hopper or ant of choice. We like More or Less, Moorish and White Cloud hoppers just to name a few.

It’s also time to take advantage of the best deals of the season on  Simms sportswear during our Annual Summer Sale. 25% – 30% off men’s and women’s sportswear from Simms, Ouray and more.

This could be the best August we’ve seen in years. Will you be here for it?

 

 

Prime Time

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.

The folks at the Bureau of Reclamation have made good on their promise to decrease flows, so much so that we’re currently sitting at 12,000 CFS. Remember it was just one week ago that we were bumping up against 20,000 CFS. A significant drop to say the least and one which has brought us the return of drift boat rentals (including the Project Healing Waters boat as of now) and a renewed optimism following a tough month of big flows and a lot of phone and email conversations having to do with high water.

The fish have begun to expand their diets to include the abundant PMD nymphs now mixed in with the sowbug smorgasbord which defined spring fishing in 2018.

PMD’s are hatching and dry fly fishing, while still a long way from prime, is becoming a real possibility with each drop in the flows and each passing day.

We’re just over a week out from the Summer Solstice….the longest day of the year which, consequently, means that, depressing as it may be,  the countdown to winter will soon be underway. The clock is ticking on your 2018 season.

Traditionally we are in the thick of the grind by this point in the season but it seems the grind will be delayed this year. Don’t get me wrong, things are abuzz at WCA. Our lodging is running near capacity as you would expect in June and we’ve been busy in the shop most mornings and have been nearly overrun on more than a couple of occasions.

All that being said, things seem a little quiet on the MO’.

There are definitely folks around but there hasn’t been much waiting at the boat ramps and you can usually find a table or at least a seat at the bar on any given night at all of our local watering holes and restaurants. This isn’t typically the case in June.

It’s true that other waters around the state are coming into shape so that could account for some of it but for whatever reason traffic is down so  you couldn’t ask for a better opportunity to come out and enjoy a bit of relative solitude on what is arguably one of the best fisheries in the country, if not the world.

The forecast looks good for dry fly fishing to improve daily. There are bugs hatching and the fish are starting to key on them. PMD’s and Caddis are  the game and the long- dormant dry fly bin has finally started to get some attention.

Some suggestions for your dry fly  arsenal….

PMD’s – Snowshoe Emerger, Greg’s Para Emerger, Nyman’s DOA Cripple PMD, Helen Keller PMD, PMD Flash Cripple, Brooks’s Sprout PMD, Hi Vis PMD, Rusty Spinner.

Caddis – Blooms Para Caddis, Outrigger Caddis, CDC Caddis Emerger, Jake’s Hi Vis Caddis, Cornfed Caddis, Front End Loader.

Essentials – Parachute Adams, WCA Trude, Purple Haze, Rocky Mountain Mint, Blooms Stealth Ant, Cinnamon Flying Ants, Buzzball.

Still chasing bobbers? Try tailwater sows, Split Case PMD’s, PMD and Rusty Magic Fly, PMD Redemption, Psycho May, S & M, Wondernymph, Weight Fly (purple or gold), UV Czech Caddis, Nitro Caddis Pupa, Tung Dart, Peep Show, PT’s , Lightning Bug (purple), Zirdle.

Streamer fishing seems to have fallen off a bit but with the water on the drop there’s an abundance of water back in play which had been negated by the higher flows. Many have moved on from streamers considering dry fly fishing is a real option so it’s an excellent opportunity to hit those spots you’ve been waiting all spring for. Sparkle Minnows, MK Ultras, Dirty Hippies, Circus Peanuts, D & D’s, Gongas, Dungeons….throw the ones you like, the fish like them too.

The water is expected to continue to drop barring any extended precipitation events and if the most probable outlook shown below comes to fruition we’re in for an awesome season with near perfect water conditions.

Near Perfect Water Conditions

The water is dropping, the sun is shining, the bugs are hatching, the fish are eating…life is good on the Missouri.

We hope you’ll join us for Prime Time on the Missouri River.

 

 

 

Your Late July Missouri River Fishing Report

Caddis Sunset – photo by Wolf Creek Angler

Hot, dry weather continues to be the story of the summer of 17.

We’ve been seeing highs in the 90’s for what seems like months now with no cooling trend in sight. Evenings have been pleasant however with temps dropping into the high 50’s making early morning the time to be on the water if you want to beat the heat.

Traffic has dropped off considerably which means it’s time to entice you with our Dog Days of Summer special to get you back on the MO’. Now through the end of August book a night of lodging and a full day guide trip and get a second night of lodging for free.

The fishing reports have been a mixed bag but it seems the consensus is that things have slowed down out there. Nymphing in particular has gotten tougher. It’s been good in the early morning most days and slower during height of the day as you would expect though even the mornings have been tough the last couple of days. Dam to Wolf Creek Bridge has been the preferred location for nymphing as of late and #18 Tungsten Black Zebra Midges have been the bug of choice but we’ve also had limited success with purple lighting bugs, green machines, Peep Shows, PT’s and S & M’s. Reports from lower down indicate the crayfish could be a good call, depending on the day. Regardless of where you go, expect weeds and pay close attention to keeping your bugs weed free.

Dry fly fishing has been consistently good with plenty of Tricos about and plenty of fish keyed in to them. Presentation is always important here on the Missouri but perhaps never as important as it is right now. A good reach cast and a perfect drift will get you hooked up but the hookup is only half the battle. Indicator spinners, midge clusters, Griffiths gnats and double wing tricos have all been good options.

There are plenty of caddis around though finding fish feeding on them can sometimes be a challenge. Outriggers, Blooms Hi-Vis, Cornfed and CDC Caddis Emergers will fool a lot of fish.

Streamers? Not the best time of year for stripping with the weeds and all but still worth your time in the right spots. Hoppers? Absolutely. You may only get an eat or two on that hopper rig but one hopper eat equals a dozen bobber drops in my book.

Lodging has opened up and we have plenty of availability both for guides and lodging through around the middle of September. It’s hot, it’s a little weedy, it’s a little smoky but it’s still an awesome place to be. The fishing could be challenging but so what? It’s fishing. A day on the Missouri River casting to rising trout and taking in miles of breath taking scenery ? What could be better? It’s time to lower those expectations and rise to the challenge of late summer fly fishing on the Missouri.

It’s also the perfect time to book yourself a day on the nearby Blackfoot to experience something completely different from the MO’. It’s what many consider to be the quintessential Montana fly fishing experience. You’ll catch more and bigger fish on the MO’ but the scenery is something completely different and it doesn’t get much better than throwing big bugs to eager cutties. Book a day on the Blackfoot with WCA today.

Give us a call for up to the minute river conditions and fishing reports and make us your first stop on the way to the river for shuttles, bugs, drift boat rentals and all things Missouri River Fly Fishing and beyond.

 

Hot Weather and Hot Fishing on the MO’

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

We’ve been enjoying this brief respite from the scorching heat these last two days with daytime temps only in the 80’s but it’s about to heat up again and we’ll be pushing 100 beginning on Thursday and running right on through the weekend.

Early starts are a good idea, something in the 6:00 – 6:30 AM range. Be off the water by early afternoon and refresh and refocus for the evening hatch. The hours spent in the hot sun can be exhausting but nothing a good old fashioned afternoon nap can’t fix.

It’s prime time for dry fly fishing right now with PMD’s, Tricos and Caddis all in play. PMD’s wont last much longer but not to worry. Tricos and caddis are going strong and terrestrials are about to become a major part of the mix. Bring your A game and come experience some of the best dry fly fishing in the country, if not the world.

Like you, we’ve got our favorite dry fly patterns. Unlike you, we’re happy to share them. Best sellers from the dry fly bins this season include Rusty Spinners, PMD snowshoe emergers, PMD smoke jumpers, Hi-Vis PMD Spinners, Nyman’s DOA Cripple PMD, Brooks Sprout PMD, Blooms Parachute Caddis, Cornfed Caddis, CDC Caddis Emergers, Outrigger Caddis, Extended Body Caddis, Trico Indicator Spinners, Barrs Trico Emergers, Double Wing Tricos, Quigley’s Trico Hackle Stacker, Eric’s Trico Spinner, Bloom’s Stealth Ant, Micro Chubby, Purple Haze, Parachute Adams and WCA Trudes. These are all great patterns to be sure but don’t get hung up on what’s HOT. Take some time to explore the countless other patterns we stock for every hatch. Show them something different.

The focus this time of year is obviously on dry fly fishing but there’s  no shame whatsoever in nymphing so have at it. Zebra midges at the grass flats below the dam have been money. Pair them with a gold or purple weight fly or a Tan UV Czech Nymph. Other hot nymphs have been Little Green Machines, S & M’s, Magic Flies, Psycho Mays, Peep Shows, Nitro Caddis, Doc’s Summer Bug, Purple Lighting Bugs along with a host of other offerings. Once again, don’t get hung up on what’s HOT. Get creative and show them something they haven’t seen. You could also go the other direction and show them something they’ve seen since the start. Pheasant Tails, Hares Ears, Copper Johns…..there’s a reason they’ve been around forever. Never overlook the classics.

Streamer fishing has been getting tougher as the weed mass continues to build but it’s definitely still worth your time.

Stop by the shop and stock up on leaders, tippet, bugs floatant and anything else you might need. We’re still officially open at 7 AM daily but more often than not coffee is on and we’re milling about the shop  by 6 or 6:30. Stop by if you’re getting an early start.

Traffic is down considerably this week, particularly of the drift boat variety. Plenty of wading anglers out there but overall expect fewer anglers then we saw throughout last month.

Missouri and Blackfoot Guide trips are available and while it is getting easier to find guides on short notice we still recommend you book as far in advance as possible. We’ve got limited lodging available for the next couple of weeks and then things open right up for late July and the entire month of August.

Fall is a different story. If you haven’t booked your fall dates yet we suggest you do it now.

Stay cool and stay fishy my friends.