Cruising through Summer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This year is a little different.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your options are limitless right now on the MO.
W

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

Open daily at 7 am.

October 27th Missouri River Fishing Report

Happy Anglers and Perfect Fall Fishing Conditions right now on the MO'.

Happy Anglers and Perfect Fall Fishing Conditions right now on the MO’.

We’re enjoying the mild late October weather here on the Missouri River and with it some of the best fishing we’ve seen this season.

Nymphing continues to produce consistently in most if not all sections of the river and is as accessible now as you’re going to see it.

It’s no secret that nymphing is almost always your best bet for numbers but there are many times when it’s difficult to figure out the program. Now is not one of those times.

Short leashing is working, dredging is working and those running somewhere in the middle are finding plenty of success as well.

We’ve continued to have great luck with sow bugs but there are others who have been running the Rainbow Czech/mayfly nymph combo for weeks now, finding no reason to run anything different.

Shallow fast water? Yes. Deep fast water? Yes. Medium depth/medium fast? Yes. Slow deep water? Not yet, but soon enough. That means you’ve essentially got limitless options right now so if someone is in your favorite spot/run so what? Move on. The fish are everywhere!

Your best bets for bugs right now include tailwater sows, soft hackle sows, firebead sows, Rainbow Czechs, Tan UV Czechs, LGM’s, PT’s, BWO Magic Flies, Rainbow Warriors, Purple Lightning Bugs, Rainbow Weight Flies, Jujus, Juan’s Hi Def Baetis and many more including local favorite Ninch’s Bubble Yum Scud which is a great point fly and which got plenty of eats the last couple outings.

Once again, some are running shallow weightless rigs, some are dredging with tungsten bugs AND weight and most are running medium depth rigs (4′-5′ indicator to first fly) with tungsten bugs but without weight. There are a lot of flies that are working. We recommend you try something from the above list or whatever you like, rig it up the way you like to fish and then find the water where it works. Don’t over think it.

The dry fly scene is still a waiting game. We’re seeing a few bigger bugs around daily but it isn’t happening just yet. It could be any day now. Water temps are right where they need to be in the low 50’s and we’ve had plenty of overcast skies. I’ve had my big BWO rig at the ready but it’s remained untouched as it’s still primarily tiny pseudos providing the surface action. This is a game I don’t enjoy all that much but for the die hard dfo’s there are plenty of opportunities to be had.

Streamer fishing has been so so. The strippers have been getting enough action to keep it interesting and we’re starting to see the swingers out there as well, doing their Trout Spey thing with varying degrees of success. If streamer fishing is your thing this is your time on the MO’.

Fishing traffic has been on the decline so if you want to have the thing to yourself (comparatively speaking of course) then now is the time. Give us a call to book lodging or guides or drift boat rentals or stop in for shuttles and bugs and anything else you may need on your way to the river. Wolf Creek Angler is your year-round Missouri River fly fishing destination.

This week on the MO…

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After having to scrape ice off of the windshield on Monday we’re back to 70’s and 80’s for the remainder of the week before we return to more seasonal weather on Sunday.

The cold gray skies early in the week made for what was, by most reports, the best fall fishing to date this season on the Missouri river wide.

Sunshine returned mid-week making things a little more challenging for all. Later starts have been key with the fish coming up as soon as the sun gives way to late day shadows. The late afternoon/early evening is the time to be out there if dry flies are where your heart is.

Pseudos, tiny baetis and the occasional caddis are making up the current menu as we await the larger fare BWO’s which will hopefully happen as we move into the middle to latter part of the month. Play the mix and match game or go with something easy like a Parachute Adams and a CDC Caddis Emerger.  Find the fish, make the cast and hope. There are plenty of fish being caught on dry flies and plenty of anglers getting frustrated as well. Don’t forget your reach cast – it’s critical! Stop by the shop for honest, no pressure advice on where to go, what to use and how to use it. Better yet, book a day with one of our expert guides and learn more in a few hours then you might ever learn doing it on your own.

Nymphing has been predictably good – better in the mornings  and afternoons but good enough all day long to keep it interesting. Tungsten Tailwater Sows, Czechs, BWO Magic Flies, Juju Baetis, Psycho Mays, Micro Mays, Payczechs, Black Beauties, Black Zebras, Pink LB’s, Snack Nasty Sows and on and on. Fish what you like – like what you fish – it’s makes all the difference in the world.

Streamer sales are way up this season and we’re doing everything we can to keep those bins full of the stuff you love. Sparkle Minnows, Dirty Hippies, Circus Peanuts, Polar Leeches, Gongas,  Kreelex in a myriad of colors and a bunch of bugger stuff along with a few of our own creations which have been getting some attention.

Stop by the shop on your way to the river for shuttles, flies, ice, cigars, fishing licenses, cold weather gear, deeply discounted warm weather gear, Echo rods, Nautilus reels, lines, leaders, tippet, tools, complimentary Montana Maid Coffee and much more.

Open daily at 7 am for all of your Missouri River fall fly fishing needs.

 

 

Weekend Report

Missouri River Baetis Box

Missouri River Baetis Box

We’ve heard a couple of reports of tough fishing from yesterday and today but for the most part what we’re hearing is that it’s good to great out there.

Plenty of baetis, plenty of midges and plenty of fish up willing to eat a well presented fly. People are amazed by the sheer number of bugs on the water and it can be overwhelming and frustrating trying to get the fish to eat your fly when it is amongst so many naturals. This is the time for precision. Pick one fish in particular and deliver your fly to that fish without drag. Chances are they won’t move for it and they won’t eat it if it’s anything other than dead drifted directly to them. A well executed reach cast is a critical component of Missouri River dry fly fishing. It’s this technical challenge that brings many to fish the Missouri and also sends many away empty handed cursing the fish and the river.

Change bugs often and work on that delivery and presentation. More often than not it’s presentation issues which cause problems but there are plenty of times when a perfectly presented fly gets refused as well. How much fun would it be if they ate every well presented fly every time? It would probably get pretty boring pretty quickly. Are you up for the Missouri River dry fly challenge?

There are countless patterns out there and most of them work at one time or another. A good generic place to start would be a Hi Vis Parachute Adams or Purple Haze trailed with a cdc baetis emerger or some kind of cripple pattern. We’ve got bins full of all kinds of BWO patterns so come pick out some you like and try them. There are no true magic flies out there (other than the Parachute Adams) but there are a lot of flies that work and work well more often than not. What usually happens is that someone has a great day with some bug and the word gets out and the next thing you know everyone is out of them. Not to worry, there are countless others that will work just as well. We all tend to do it from time to time, but try not to get caught in the Magic Fly Trap.

Nymphing reports continue to be good with many opting for a shorter overall rig. Go to flies continue to be the S & M, Little Green Machine, Hot Belly Pheasant Tail in purple, Military May, Micro May, Juju Baetis and many more. Stop by the shop and we’d be happy to get you set up with flies, shuttles, boat rentals, leaders, tippet, indicators, rods, reels, floatants, and anything else you might need. We’re also happy to answer any questions you have about rigging, location, presentation, time of day or anything else you want to ask us. We may not always have the answer but we’ll always tell you everything we know and do whatever we can to help.

Shop open daily 7:30 AM to 5 PM.

bwo2

Top to bottom from the left Row 1. Hi Vis Parachute BWO, Purple Haze, Hi Vis Para Olive, Hi Vis Parachute Adams. Row 2 Smith’s BWO CDC Hackle Stacker, Parachute BWO, Split Wing Parachute BWO, Parachute Olive Spinner, WCA Stacker, Polywing Spinner. Row 3 BWO Parachute Emerger, CDC Baetis Emerger, Cripple Thorax, BWO Biot Cripple, Nyman’s DOA Cripple Baetis, BWO Flash Cripple, Drown Spinner BWO. Row 4 RS2 CDC, Quiqley’s Hackle Stacker BWO, Almost Dun BWO. Row 5 (Nymphs) Mason’s Peep Show Dark, Purple Lightning Bug, Magic Fly BWO, S & M Olive, Two Bit Hooker Red, Little Green Machine, Kyle’s Superflash PT Olive, Juju Baetis

 

Final fishing report for March 2015

Leslie with one of many from Sunday's float. Things are heating up on the MO. - photo by Jim Murray

Leslie with one of many from Sunday’s float. Things are heating up on the MO. – photo by Jim Murray

Guest Blog from WCA Guide Jim Murray

 

Things are heating up on the Missouri. Literally. With the water temperatures pushing past that 40 degree mark, the river is really turning on. I had a chance to get out on the river Sunday with my girlfriend fiancé, and the Mighty Mo did not disappoint. Fellow WCA guide Matt Hargrave had told me that the fish were keying in on mayfly nymphs, and boy was he right. It seems with the warmer water temperatures, the baetis nymphs are getting really active subsurface and the fish are keying in on them. Little Green Machines, Micro Mays, Hogan S&M, and the Ju Ju Baetis in sizes 16-18 all produced fish. And don’t forget the Zebra Midge. We managed to bring one fish to the boat on a Firebead Rainbow Weight Fly, but the fish definitely seem to be moving off the pink/firebead stuff for the time being.
Along with bugs getting active, the warmer temps have the fish feeling a little more feisty and moving out of those deep winter holes. Fish were found primarily in 2-4 of water. Soft bends and shelf lines seem to be the key.
Adding to the fun is the fact that the dry fly bite is really turning on as well. Heads were spotted up between Wolf Creek and Craig, with trout willing to eat a well presented midge pattern. Rumors of big bugs being spotted in the canyon have started to be discussed over beers at the end of the day, and I know of a few anglers who have had some success giving it a try.
The streamer bite still seems to be hit or miss, (many times dependent on the angler) but only figures to improve in the coming days and weeks as the fish start to really shake off the winter doldrums and get a little nasty and aggressive. I know I have a new 8 weight rod that I’m just itching to get out and throw.
All in all, the Missouri is fishing well, and figures to only get better as conditions continue to heat up. It should be a great Spring on the Missouri. Now if we can just get some precipitation to keep it a great summer…

les3 les1

Mid Week Missouri River Fishing Report 3/25/15

 

Let the spring games begin....what to use?

Let the spring games begin….what to use?

A  bit of semi-seasonable weather back yesterday and today with scattered precipitation and  temps hanging in the 40’s but back to spring tomorrow with temperatures climbing into the 60’s and 70’s by Friday.
As has been the case for the last several weeks it’s been a mixed bag of reports out there but it sounds like Sunday was a pretty good day all the way around with periods of good dry fly action and some good streamer reports from the canyon stretch. Black buggers, Polar leeches, olive smolts and sparkle minnows have all been producing fish. Most of the reports we heard from Monday and Tuesday sounded like things were on the slow side but we’re hoping for the rebound today.
Nymphing will continue to be your best bet though it seems the transition from winter fare to spring bugs has certainly gotten underway. Not that the pink stuff won’t work but we’ve heard of a lot of people having more success with tailwater sows and zebra midges and the like. It’s the time of year to start experimenting with your flies which makes for a bit more of a challenge than running a #12 Pinkalicious trailed with a firebead soft hackle sow for days on end but it’s all part of the fun. Green Machines, Micromays, Juju’s, Wondernymphs,Rainbow Warriors ,Peep Shows, AmX, the aforementioned Tailwater Sows and Zebra Midges…..and on and on. What will they be eating today? Start with a black zebra and something that feels right and go with it and change until you find what’s working.
The one part of the game that has remained fairly constant is the water the fish are holding in. Slow, deep winter runs will continue to be your target for the time being but as we creep towards 40 and beyond that will change as well. It’s a great time of year to fish the Missouri. Change is underway and soon the crowds will return. Take advantage of the relative solitude while you can. It’s the perfect time to treat yourself to a $300 Spring Special Guide Trip with one of our expert guides.
Stop by the shop on your way to the river for shuttles, bugs, bobbers, boats and all kinds of cool new gear arriving daily. We are your one-stop full service Missouri River fly shop and THE place to stay in Wolf Creek. We are Outfitter owned and operated and anxious to share our knowledge of and passion for Montana fly fishing with you soon.

Summertime

 

 

 

 

Summer is back in Wolf Creek

Summer is back in Wolf Creek

What a difference a week makes. Last week at this time we had people cancelling weekend reservations because of high flows. By the end of the week we were under 6,000 and from what we are hearing we will be under 4,000 by the end of the day. The doom and gloom predictions of a repeat of the high water of 2011 were wrong. Hopefully the predictions of average flows in the 5,000 range for the remainder of the year will prove to be true.

The fishing has been good with nymphing still leading the charge but dry fly fishing is definitely ON with a fair amount of caddis around and some downright prolific baetis hatches over the past few days. The lower flows have the fish looking up consistently and you can definitely make a day out of dry fly fishing between targeting rising fish and blind casting a large dry with a trailing emerger.

Nymphing has been good to great with a couple of tougher days during the big volume drop. Wire worms continue to produce followed closely by sow bugs. Soft hackle and tailwater sows have been getting it done as have Little Green Machines, Purple Wild Things, Weight flies in gold and purple and Juju baetis is purple. Lots of different bugs getting eats but we’ve heard more consistency with the sows than anything else but that could change at any time.

We’ve been busy with trips and lodging and people are starting to take notice of Wolf Creek’s best fly shop. We’ve got plenty of great bugs in the bins, including Green Machines, and there are new additions arriving almost daily. Plenty of WCA Logo gear in stock and everything you would expect to find in a first rate Missouri River Fly Shop, including friendly faces and a committment to great customer service. Follow our new signs off the Interstate and find out what the buzz is about!

Eloise Peter rachele colman

sign

New signs bring you right to our door

Wolf Creek MT's fly fishing destination

Wolf Creek MT’s fly fishing destination

Missouri River Success

Our guests and clients have been getting it done on  the MO over the past few days as spring fishing continues to heat up. Still not much to report on top but the nymphing has been anywhere from ok to good to off-the-charts depending on the day. Flows jumped a bit over the weekend and are now holding at around 9000 with a water temp somewhere in the 46 – 48 degree range depending on the time of day. Fish are on the move, transitioning from the deep slow winter water to the faster spring stuff. Work the medium depths and moderate currents changing depths and bugs until you find what works. Hot bugs as of late have been Rainbow Czechs, Sow Bugs, Green Machines, Flux Capacitors, Juju Baetis, Bubbleback Emergers and san juan worms. Firebeads and pinks are still holding on but much lesser so than a week ago. Streamer fishing has had its moments with sparkle minnows and leech patterns continuing to lead the charge.

Stop by the shop for shuttles, bugs, gear, RO drift boat rentals, friendly faces and up-to-the-minute information on flows, hatches, rigging information etc. Shop hours are 7 am – 5 pm daily and if we’re around we’re open – no matter the time!

See you in the shop and on the water…   ~Jason O.

 

WCA Client Lynn Perkins at it again with guide Eric Mondragon

WCA Client Lynn Perkins at it again with guide Eric Mondragon

Jan Perkins with a healthy Missouri River bow

Jan Perkins with a healthy Missouri River bow

Justin Bleazard with a Missouri River hog.

Justin Bleazard with a Missouri River hog.

 

Ryan Casne with a nice side-channel bow

Ryan Casne with a beautiful side channel rainbow

Spring Fever – guest blog by WCA Guide Eric Mondragon

 

Higher flows on the MO are perfect conditions for the worm!

Higher flows on the MO are perfect conditions for the worm!

On March 29th I fished the Missouri from Wolf Creek to Craig with a friend. With flows over 6,000 CFS I wanted to get out and do some recon to see where the fish are holding and what they are interested in eating. Well, they were where I thought they would be and with a little adjustment of leaders, indicator and weight, we were busy hooking up most of the day.

I’d be lying if I said the hatch was pretty precise. I spent about a half hour with a silver skittish smolt on the line and moved about six fish. They were hitting that streamer, but I was more focused on nymphs because I have some guide trips scheduled in the near future and I want to be prepared for clients. The fish hit on anything with a hot bead and the infamous extended red-bodied nymph (a.k.a red San Juan worm). We didn’t really try any other nymphs.

We noticed a midge hatch around noon in some of the quiet water back eddies. However, we only saw a few fish up so the midge are nothing to get excited over yet. Water temperature is in the high thirties, but I think when we hit the low forties, we will see more midge and blue winged olive hatches. Then the fish will rise.

I am really excited about what I think will be a nice water year, or maybe a normal water year. There has been a lot of talk about what is the ideal water flow number. I don’t necessarily think there is an ideal. It is sort of like discussing fish counts. In reality, fish need to eat to live. As a guide, it is my job to find out what they are interested in on any given day. The conditions and flows are largely out of my control anyway. When I am out there I am not thinking about flows or counts. I am just concerned about the fish on the end of my fly line.

More recently, I fished with the boys from Montana Fly Company. They were shooting footage for a new short film. The working title is “The Purist” and it is projected to be released in a year or two. A camera operator shot footage from my boat. Another camera operator filmed from a second boat manned by Rob Weiker, a guide from Whitefish, Montana. Montana Fly Company sales representative Stirling Ross Tyler fished from Rob’s boat during filming.

I got to throw a line in the water during breaks. It was cold all day, but fishing was good. We started with green machines and juju baetis nymphs along with some hot beads and black zebra midge and floated the stretch from Holter dam to Craig. It was a busy day chasing indicators. We had so much fun and didn’t even break out the streamer box. We caught quite a few rainbows and a few brown trout and they looked really good and healthy. The MFC film crew were cool cats and I hope to fish with them again.