Not so fast…

Streamer Eaters on the Prowl

Just when we were getting used to spring sunshine and temperatures in the 50’s Mother Nature shows us again that she’s in charge and she’s not quite done with winter weather.

We’re currently in the midst of a good soaking rain and under a WINTER STORM WARNING starting tonight, primarily for elevations above 5,000 feet where 6-12 inches of new snow is expected. We won’t see that here but we’re bracing for a cold, wet snowy day on the water tomorrow.

Lucky for you we’ve got plenty of Simms cold weather gear still hanging around the shop and better yet it’s all 30 percent off!

And speaking of SIMMS – spring is definitely wader weather and there are no better waders in the world than Simms waders so if you’re in the market for a new pair we’d love to sell them to you. We stock G3’s, Freestones and Tributaries (something in every price range) and the boots to go with them and we’re happy to order absolutely anything else you might want including boot foot models or G4’s or G4Z’s, which are the ultimate in wader technology and quality.

It’s a busy week here at WCA in spite of the soggy weather. The west side blew out Sunday night bringing an influx of guides and outfitters and their clients in search of fishable water and it just so happens the Missouri fits the bill and we’re happy to host the migration.

The river is fishing well, with the majority of traffic in the Holter Dam to Craig stretch. LPP and the Dearborn are adding some color but not so much that it’s having a negative impact on the fishing. Most are opting to fish the clean side but don’t be afraid to work the mud line with a worm and a sow bug or better yet a streamer if you are so inclined.

In my mind there is no better time to fish streamers on the MO than April and these soggy/cloudy/snowy days can be lights out. Sparkle Minnows, MK Ultras or Ultralites, Mojo minnows, Clousers, Skiddish Smolts…..angler’s choice this time of year. Fish what you like and stick with it.

Nymphing the dam down is your best bet for numbers. The aforementioned worm and sow bug are key. Pill poppers, UV Crush, Caviar Scuds, Lucent Bead Rays, Soft Hackle Sows, Pinkalicious, Rainbow Czechs, Bubble Yums, Cotton Candies, Amex…..all good choices.

The water is still on the cold side at right around 37 degrees so the majority of the fish are continuing to hold in the deeper, slower water but we’ve picked plenty up in the transitional water as well so don’t limit your options.

Flows have bumped to the 6500 range….we love 6-8K and the river does too.

It’s game-time…are you ready?

The Missouri River awakening continues this week as Izaak’s opens on Thursday, April 11th for season number nine. We can’t wait! Brisket Sandwich and Smoked Wings oh how I’ve missed you.

Izaak’s will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays for the time being but open for divinely delicious dinner offerings Wednesday-Sunday 4 PM – 9 PM. Dinner at Izaak’s is a highlight of the trip for many and we are thrilled to have this world-class dining option here on the Missouri.

It’s going to be a soggy week here on the MO but it looks like we’ll see a return to more seasonable conditions by the weekend.

We’ve got lodging available for the weekend ($99 for a kitchenette, $75-$85 for non-kitchen rooms) and our $400 spring special guide trips are in full swing. Book yours today!

 

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 mendingwatersmontana.org

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.

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’.

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.

Late August Report

We saw a big change in the weather yesterday as temps peaked in the high 40’s before dropping into the high 30’s last night. A soaking rain and gusty north wind gave us a taste of what’s soon to come. Those who braved the elements and fished yesterday hit it just right.

Lots of fish up, solid nymphing and the best streamer fishing we’ve seen since early spring. Hopefully this too is an indicator or what’s to come.

Don’t put away the flip flops and sunscreen just yet. After all, we’ve still got more than three weeks of summer to go. We’ll see temps in the  70’s this week but the shorter days and the cool nights definitely have us thinking about fall fishing.

The trico hatches continue to please most mornings and should last at least another couple of weeks. Terrestrial fishing has been improving and will run through mid October. And speaking of October, it won’t be long before we start seeing some October Caddis.

The Zirdle has reclaimed top spot this past week  in the nymphing world. We’ve had good luck with both the tan and the olive. I’m not sure the color is critical at this point. Try a Claws R Cray or a Snapping Cray as well. Black Zebra Midges at the dam and Peep Shows, S & M’s, Psycho Mays, LGM’s, Purple Lightning Bugs and Frenchies all good options as well.

Medium depth, faster water running 5 – 6′ overall sans split shot has been the ticket for me but short leashing the shallows has also been productive.

The best nymphing has been from Holter Dam to Stickney. The canyon has provided plenty of solitude and plenty of fish as well. Give the hoppers a go through the canyon, with or without a dropper. We’ve been getting looks and eats on Chubbies (purple, gold and royal) and have finally started to get some action on hoppers as well. More or Less and Moorish Hoppers in peach or tan (#10 ) should do the trick.

I missed the action these last two days but as I mentioned above it sounds like the best streamer fishing of the summer….by far. Two words…. Sparkle Minnow…that’s all you need to know for now.

Weeds will be a frustration whether you’re dry fly fishing, nymphing  or streamer fishing. Anticipate that going in and deal with it. If you don’t come mentally prepared you could be in for a discouraging day on the MO’.

As I mentioned, we’ve still got more than three weeks  of summer to go but that fall feeling is definitely taking hold.

School is back in session, football is about to start, archery and upland bird hunting opens Saturday, Oktoberfest beers have begun to appear on store shelves, green leaves have begun to turn to oranges and reds and yellows and you may or may not have already fired up your furnaces.

Traffic is still relatively light on the river and with many switching their focus to hunting it may get even lighter for the next week or two but we’re not far from what we like to refer to as our Second Season. The shops and lodges and restaurants (and of course the river) will soon be abuzz with activity again as we close out the 2018 season.

Don’t miss out on Autumn fishing on the Missouri. It’s a magical time to be here.

 

 

 

August 21st Update

Just a quick river update this morning.

We got a good amount of rain yesterday along with cooler temps which has helped tremendously with the fires. I’m actually looking at some patches of blue sky this morning.

It’s feeling like fall out there with a current temp of 50 degrees. The high will be just shy of 70 today.

Patchy smoke, partly sunny skies and light winds combined with cool temps and no traffic could spell NEAR PERFECT CONDITIONS out there today.

We recommend putting in at Holter Dam if nymphing is your game plan. The Dam to Craig float has been very productive as of late with the run to Wolf Creek Bridge definitely producing the best results. Crowding is NOT an issue right now but if you don’t like being around other boats then skip the row arounds and just hot spot your way down. If you leave the dam crowd early you’ll have plenty of good water to yourself if you want to do row arounds.

Wolf Creek to Stickney has been my go to lately for a great mix of dry fly action and nymphing and the canyon has been great for solitude and is probably your best bet for terrestrial action.

Status quo on the bugs. Peep Shows, black zebras and Frenchies have led the charge in my boat but LGM’s, S & M’s, Weight Flies, Redemptions, Psycho Mays, Tung Darts, Tan UV Czechs and 2 Bits have all been producing as have zirdles and snapping crays.

Best selling Trico….BY FAR has been the Indicator Spinner followed by double wing, hi vis spinners, drowned tricos and buzzballs. No need to limit yourself to those though. We’ve got endless options if you want to show them something different. We would concur with what you’ve read elsewhere however that if you aren’t getting them the bug is generally not the problem. It’s all in the presentation so bring your A game. Practice in the offseason….not during the game!

There are a lot of folks missing out on the best dry fly fishing of the season and depending on the day the nymphing could blow your mind. Our loss is your gain…Get out there and enjoy it before the return of the crowds. They are coming.

You’ve got 10 days left to take advantage of our Dog Days Guide Trip and Lodging Special. Book a full day guide trip and one night of lodging and the second night of lodging is on us through the end of August.

Give us a call at the shop or swing by for up to the minute reports and conditions, the best bugs and the friendliest service you’ll find anywhere.

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.

 

Your Late June Missouri River Report

Summertime on the MO’

Can it really be that there are just four days remaining in the month of June?

Like it or not, the season is rapidly passing us by and we’re still waiting for the water to come down which sooner or later it will. And while sooner and later are relative terms we’re confident that two weeks from now we’ll be looking at more wade-friendly flows and perhaps the best dry fly fishing of the year.

Traffic has been on the rise this past week with the Missouri still being one of the few and likely the best option in the state right now. Last week’s heavy precipitation delivered the punch we’d been hoping to avoid. The swollen waters caused widespread flooding and road closures in our region and muddied up the MO below Little Prickly Pear and Dearborn which has made the Dam a VERY BUSY PLACE.

The good news is that things are on the drop and the weather forecast looks favorable to maintain this trend. The bad news is that flows on the MO had to be held steady while the tribs blew up but now that things are on the drop it’s time to dump the excess, hence the bumps in flows on the MO this week.

It’s not all doom and gloom though….here’s the brighter side of things.

Yes, high water consumed the month of June and ruined the plans of many a wade angler but the Missouri is so much better for it and if the past is any indication 2019 could be obscenely good following these flushing flows. Stay tuned

The creeks have been off limits for much of the time they’ve been open this year due to the high flows but things are about to come into shape and we should be in for a great summer of creek fishing. Many a season we’ve already been under Hoot Owl closures by this time on some of our favorite small water haunts so we’re stoked to have things just coming into shape as we approach the first of July.

Fishing on the Missouri has been excellent despite the high water and it’s about to get even better. As you’ve no doubt been reading the nymphing on the Missouri has been nothing short of awesome more often than not this season. Sow bugs have remained the steady diet of our trout for months and while I’m not saying there haven’t been a few tougher days out there, more often than not the fishing has been good. The right water, the correct depth, the right amount of weight and a sow bug or two has been the key day after day, no matter the flows. The baetis have come and gone and the PMD’s are soon to be in the rearview but not to worry. We’ve got at least a couple of weeks left of PMD activity and Tricos are on the horizon. Dry fly fishing has been a challenge to say the least but a few days of dropping flows (which we should see very soon) could totally change the game. If you’re headed our way sometime soon you might just be in for some phenomenal dry fishing.

You’re just in time for HALF PRICE FLIES! As always, the Fourth of July is the day for the annual WCA Make American Fly Again Half Price Fly Sale.  It doesn’t get much better than half price flies!

Traffic is spreading out on the MO’. You can plan on seeing plenty of activity at the dam and Wolf Creek from here on out but maybe not quite so crazy as it’s been this past week.  The water is rapidly clearing and people have already started to wander into the lower stretches. It makes all the difference in the world to have 30 miles of water to work with rather than eight.

These are just a few of the reasons the future is looking bright on the Missouri. We’ve all been biding our time, waiting patiently for things to start to feel a little more like Prime Time on the Missouri. I suspect it won’t be long…

June Delivers

Missouri River Awesomeness Underway

2018 has proven to be a new experience for me in the world of Missouri River Fly Fishing.

Higher than average flows have presented challenges we’ve not had to deal with thus far at Wolf Creek Angler. Not really fishing challenges mind you but shop challenges which require a bit more creativity and finesse and faith.

The high water fishing challenges are easy. Longer rigs and more split shot make the world go round. That doesn’t do much for the Dry Fly crowd but they’ll get theirs soon enough. The flows will come down and the dry fly fishing will happen  but it’s the promise of the future that really has us stoked following the scouring we’ve gotten this spring. Flushing Flows for sure!

Unfortunately shop challenges are not as easily met. We’ve muddled through however and it feels like the worst is behind us. Sure we’re still getting plenty of calls about the flows and we’re still having to have the unpleasant discussions pertaining to cancellations but as of yesterday it’s all starting to feel better. Pair this with the return of a full house of lodging and some very busy mornings in the shop and everything seems right with the world again.

Granted we may see some precipitation which could slow the drop in flows but yesterday’s notice from the Bureau of Reclamation that the peak inflow into Canyon Ferry Reservoir from the snowmelt runoff has occurred in the Upper Missouri Basin was sweet music to our ears. Yesterday’s 1000 CFS drop will be followed by another 1000 by tomorrow afternoon. It’s doubtful they’ll continue with such drastic decreases but it’s definitely on the drop and we will keep you posted on what we’re hearing is coming.

The fog of  high water trauma has lifted. I can’t help but think that we’ll be renting out drift boats again  soon (15,000 cfs) and look for the Project Healing Waters boat to be available before long as well (12,000 cfs).

As you would expect, the big drops tend to have a temporary adverse effect on the fishing which has been widely reported as off the charts as of late but which slowed a bit yesterday.

Obviously nymphing is going to continue to be the game for the time being but that dry fly  light at the end of the tunnel you see…that’s PMD’s coming soon! Accordingly you should start adding PMD nymphs to your arsenal. We like the PMD Magic Fly, Split Case, Crack Back, PMD Wondernymphs, Doc’s PMD, Superflash PMD’s and PMD S & M’s (amongst many more). Worms and sows are still the staple and will be for the near future but we would definitely recommend getting some mayfly nymphs in the mix. Green Machines, Psychomays and PT’s could be the ticket.

As the flows recede you could do worse things than throw a streamer. Heavy sink is the key for the time being. Get it down fast and give it some life. The target zones will begin to expand and if you hit it on the right day (preferably overcast) you may just stumble into some excellent streamer fishing over these next couple of weeks. Olives, whites, naturals, black…..try the ones you like and see what happens.

Rooms and guides will be a little harder to come by from here on out but there’s been enough shuffling of the schedule that you’ve still got a good shot at both so give us a call today to book your Missouri River fly fishing trip of a lifetime.

Stop by the shop on your way to the river for everything you need for your day on the water. Shuttles, ice, licenses, sun protection, wading gear, rods, reels, rain gear, tools and accessories, lines, leaders and tippet a plenty, tons of split shot and of course the largest selection of bugs ever assembled under one roof in Wolf Creek Montana.

We hope you stop in no matter where your are fishing but if you’re starting at Holter Dam or Wolf Creek Bridge you’d be foolish to go anywhere else. We are closer to these launch sights than any other shop. Come discover the best Missouri River Fly Shop you never knew was here.

 

 

 

Late April Water and Fishing Report

Old School High Water. Holter Dam circa 1928 – photo Helena as She Was

The Missouri has become a VERY busy place this week with displaced anglers, guides and outfitters arriving in droves.

There has been plenty of discussion recently about how high flows will end up going this season on the MO’, but the fact is it’s about the only game in town at this point so if you had plans to fish in Montana in the near future chances are you’re going to end up here.

We’re still not comfortable making predictions so we’ll leave that up to the experts but what we do know is that we’re currently sitting at around 120 – 180% of normal Snow Water Equivalent in western Montana. There’s plenty of snow in them there hills though it sounds like we’ll begin to see a reduction in snowpack as we get our first real heat wave of the season at the end of this week. It won’t be quite so warm in the high country but down here they’re calling for 80 degrees on Friday and Saturday. Things will return to more seasonable conditions on Sunday and early next week as we return to daytime highs in the 50’s.

The current flow on the Missouri below Holter Dam is 9670 CFS.  The flows have increased steadily over the past week as Canyon Ferry prepares for the imminent spike in inflows coming soon with runoff. How much water will we see? Again, we’ll leave the predictions to the experts but what we can tell you is that you have nothing to fear at these flows.

We wouldn’t necessarily recommend wade fishing at this point but you’ll be fine in a boat and there are plenty of fish being caught our there, primarily on nymphs and streamers, but we’ve heard of some successful dry fly outings as well. Look for these trends to continue as that water continues to warm.

It’s time to break out the split shot, the long leaders and the wire worms. Things have been consistently inconsistent out there due in large part to the frequent changes in flows but your best bet for the time being is definitely going to be deep nymphing.

I’d recommend starting out with something in the 7 – 8′ overall length. Go with a firebead wire worm or something on the large (#10 or #12) side with a tungsten bead (Amex/Weight Fly/Rainbow Czech) paired with a Tailwater sow, Pill Popper, Caviar Scud or something BWO ish like a Grey Little Green Machine, a dark Peep Show or a Psycho May. Add a bb or two and start probing your way through the likely runs. Which runs are the likely ones? The fish are going to be in many of the runs you’ve historically found them in but daisy chains of guide boats are a pretty good indicator of where the fish are.

Go deeper than you normally would and make sure you’re occasionally touching the floor. Start tighter to the bank than you’d normally be, fishing inside out and work your way out. Row arounds can be a challenge in these flows but not always. There are plenty of spots where the extra water actually creates easy row arounds where before there were none.

Bug selection has been a challenge with a bunch of different patterns catching fish here and there and nothing really lighting them up. You’ll want to make frequent changes until you find what works but make sure you’ve got the depth thing figured out before you start changing your bugs. Stop by the shop on your way to the water and we’ll tell you what we know whether you buy bugs from us or not. We’re always here to help you find success on the water. Whether that’s guiding you or just giving you honest information about where to go or what to use you can always count on Wolf Creek Angler for open, honest and up to date Missouri River intel.

Streamer fishing has been decent but you’ve got to choose your spots. Many of the go to banks are just too fast right now making it virtually impossible to get down where you need to be. That being said, if you know what you’re looking for there’s an abundance of great streamer water to be fished and these bigger flows often give up some monster browns seeking a soft water respite. Swing by WCA for the best streamer selection on the Missouri including a bunch of bugs you wont’ find anywhere else.

Like the streamer fishing, the dry fly fishing is somewhat limited right now for the same reason…too much water but once again, if you know where to look you could be in for some phenomenal dry fly fishing over the next couple of weeks as the water warms and the BWO’s flourish. Think quiet water…that’s where you’ll find the sippers.

Once again, if you’re planning to fish in Montana over the next month or so then you should plan on fishing the Missouri. As you might expect we are very busy with lodging and guide trips but we definitely have openings and we’d like nothing better than to get you booked and on the water. We’re full this weekend but things open up on Sunday and we do have availability next week.

Keep in mind you’ve only got a few days left to take advantage of the best deal on the Missouri. Two nights of premium lodging and a full day guide trip for just $550 (plus tax). We invite you to look for a better deal…you won’t find one.

Regular season rates resume on Tuesday, May 1st.

We hope to see you soon at Wolf Creek Angler. We are your Full Service Missouri River Fly Fishing Destination.