Not so fast…

As if on cue, winter is about to make a return coinciding nicely with our recent decision to open additional lodging units to accommodate the increase in traffic spurred by last week’s warm weather.

We had been looking at a full house for the weekend but as it stands now we have ample availability should you decide to tough it out.

Temps look fine this week but it’s going to be breezy today and tomorrow. . We’ll make 50 today and close to it tomorrow but expect gusty winds 11-18 with gusts to 30 today and 18-26 mph with 30+mph gusts tomorrow. Thursday may be your best bet with a high of 42 and winds 5-9 mph.

Winter rolls in on Friday with snow and a high of 34 and then the bottom drops out with lows in the single digits Friday night. We’ll struggle to make it into the teens through the weekend so while I had hoped we were past this (should’ve known better) I guess we’ll be resuming the fight against frozen plumbing! If we can make it through the early part of next week things look to trend warmer beginning on Tuesday.

Maybe not a great fishing weekend but it’s not all bad as another shot of precipitation certainly won’t hurt.

We’re currently looking at 100 to 120 percent of normal snow water equivalent throughout the region which should translate into another good water year on the Missouri.
Updated projections from the Bureau of Reclamation indicate most probable peak flows in the 8K range and summer flows in the 5 to 6K range. Max probable peak at this point looks to be somewhere in the 13K range and minimum probable holds steady around 4K all season long.

So what does that mean for your 2020 season flows? It’s still early to tell but odds are we’ll see some decent volume (not flushing flows by any stretch) early on, leveling off to somewhere in the 6K range for your Prime Time.

Once again, spring rainfall (or lack thereof) can make all the difference in the world but at this point we’re liking what we’re seeing for the Missouri and also liking the fact that current projections indicate a good water year throughout the region and perhaps minimal Hoot Owl restrictions but time will tell.

This is the time of year when most calls to the shop turn from booking trips to inquiring about what the conditions will be for said booked trips. While we’re definitely not experts, from a layman’s perspective it appears as though that volume shift away from early June towards mid-June/early July we saw in bookings in 2019 and in our current bookings was the right call.

In spite of the winter weather hiccup we’re anticipating an early and busy spring season. Half of our lodging units are now open and the rest will follow as soon as the weather permits and the traffic volume dictates.

The word is that Shotgun Annie’s will be opening for the season this Thursday. It’s been a long winter without them being open and we’re super stoked to have them back.

If you decide to sit this weekend out why not take some time and book yourself a spring special guide trip. $400 for a full day for one or two anglers. Book two days on the river and a night of lodging and we’ll throw in a second night’s lodging for FREE!

Spring merch arriving daily by the truckload at Wolf Creek Angler. Stop by the shop and see what’s new.

Welcome to March on the Missouri

 

Fred Davison Wolf Creek Angler Guide

As I drove in this morning it sure felt to me like spring was in the air. 40 degrees with a mix of clouds and sun and a light rain…quintessential early spring conditions. If it wasn’t for the howling wind it might be the perfect day to be on the water.

Fast forward two hours and I’m staring out the shop window at sheets of snow blowing across the horizon. And then, just like that, there’s the sun again. Yes, this is spring time in the Rocky Mountains.

If it wasn’t for the high wind warning I suspect there would be some traffic today. This is the kind of weather that gets people thinking about spring fishing and the forecast going forward this week is likely going to bring them out in droves.  After all, with temps expected to be in the low 60’s on Friday, who can resist?Sure it’ll likely be breezy but once you get into the 60’s the wind is much easier to tolerate.

Lodging is starting to book up for the weekend, we’ll have more available possibly by this weekend but for sure by next week so give us a call if you’re thinking of coming out. And don’t forget our spring guide special is in full effect. $400 Full Day guide trips for one or two anglers. Book two trips and a night of lodging and we’ll throw in the second night of lodging for FREE. That’s right – FREE LODGING at Wolf Creek Angler.

If you’re inclined to DIY – we’ve got two fancy new Adipose drift boats for rent (a Runoff and a Flow) and the Mending Waters Montana boats are once again available for rent via mendingwatersmontana.org FREE to all vets and active duty military personnel.

The water is in great shape with flows currently at 4480 cfs and water temp bumping up against 36 degrees. It’ll get there soon. Flows will bump over the next two days, back up to around 4900 cfs by Friday.

Nymphing and streamer fishing will be your methods of choice but don’t count out dry fly fishing. Breezy conditions typically take this option off the table but you never know. Sometimes you come upon that perfect spot, shielded from the wind where the midge feast is occurring. If I were wade fishing I probably wouldn’t go through the trouble of bringing the extra rig unless conditions were just right,  but you’d be a fool not to have a dry fly rod at the ready in your boat from here on out as spring fishing commences.It’s on the early side but if you’re fishing from a drift boat I wouldn’t hesitate to spend some time prospecting with a Skwalla or chubby. You just might get surprised.

Likewise, nymphing is still in the winter zone but it’s about to undergo a transformation as the water warms and the fish start to move and the spring bugs begin to emerge. I’ve been sticking with the Bubble Yum/Rainbow Czech/Amex/Pederson’s Sow/Pill Popper/Caviar Scud point fly trailed with a tailwater sow/soft hackle sow/zebra midge/Yum Yum/Ray Charles etc but there’s no reason you shouldn’t start to work some baetis nymphs into the mix. Jujus’, Radiation Baetis, BWO Wondernymphs, Olive S & M’s, Split Case BWO’s, Magic Flies, LGM’s, Olive Lightning Bugs etc. would all be good options going forward but if you’re happy with your winter rig’s performance then by no means should you change it up. You do you!

There’s been plenty of talk about the streamer action as of late and the talk has been that if streamer fishing is your thing and you’re not out there, then you’re missing out right now. It’s been primarily a swing game but don’t let anyone tell you you can’t strip. I wouldn’t get overly aggressive with your strip just yet but a nice slow strip with plenty of pauses in between has been very effective. Polar leeches, Mojo minnows, Kreelex, Clouser-type minnows and buggers have been steady movers out of the bins these last few weeks and will continue to be good options. Don’t be afraid to go bigger, bulkier and flashier though. The big browns seem to be on the hunt and on the right day don’t seem to be overly selective. Fish what you like. Again…you do you!

Reports have been good for most sections though I haven’t heard much from Pelican down. It’s likely on the cold side down there. Wolf Creek to Craig is a great go-to and Craig to Dearborn has been my preference as of late. I’ve heard decent reports from the canyon and Holter Dam will likely be a busy place very soon so go where you like and do what you like to do…it’s time for spring fishing on the MO’.

Farewell to February


We’re closing out February with another spring-like weekend and even though I’m pretty sure there’s bound to be some winter to come I can’t help but shift gears.

Conditions are still favorable with snow water equivalent still at over 120 percent of average in most areas but at the same we’re looking at bare ground and mild temps here on the Missouri. As I’ve been saying for most of the winter, it’s the best of both worlds with snow in the high country to feed our flows and mild conditions where we’re at giving us ample opportunities to get out on the water.

Winter/Spring Special in FULL EFFECT as we speak. $400 Full Day Missouri River Guide Trips and the most affordable lodging option around at $99 (plus tax) for a clean and cozy bungalow with private bath and full kitchen facilities. Now through the end of April book two days on the water and one night of lodging and we’ll throw in a second night of lodging for free. I challenge you to find a better deal ANYWHERE on the MO!

The winter slumber is about to come to an end, slowly but surely. We’ll soon be opening additional lodging as required and while we don’t have a firm date, I know Shotgun Annie’s will be opening in March.

The fishing has been consistently strong over these past weeks with very little in the way of traffic. Saturdays have been busy but only by winter standards. It’s been the perfect winter to fish the Missouri and there haven’t been many doing it so we urge you to get out here and enjoy the solitude while it lasts.

Warm, sunny days will be here before you know it and with them the crowds which, from the shop perspective, can’t come soon enough but we have definitely been enjoying good fishing and an abundance of solitude on the river.

If you’re on the fence, wondering if it’s worth fishing this time of the season, wonder no more. Every day you’ve got the potential for excellent nymphing, ever-improving streamer fishing and even some good top water action on the right days when the wind stays down. And it’s only going to get better from here on out.

As the water warms the fish will start moving out of those deep winter runs, expanding your opportunities both sub-surface and on top.

It’s still a winter nymph game and will continue to be so for the next month. Anything with a pink or orange bead is a good start and a little soft hackle is never a bad call. Pill Poppers, Caviar Scuds, Rainbow Czechs, Hot Bead Rays, UV Crush, Pink Amex, Pederson’s Sow, Bubble Yum Scuds, Pink Weight Flies, Tailwater Sows, Cotton Candy, Yum Yums Pink Lighting Bugs and don’t forget your Zebra Midges. All of these and many more available now at WCA.

Top Water – it’s a midge game. Fish your favorite midge cluster paired with an Adams or single midge. Griffiths gnats, black sippers, Grizzly Midge Clusters, Bucky’s Midge Cluster, Hi Vis midge etc.

The streamer set has started to mobilize. Action has been decent and is trending upwards. Still a lot of swinging happening which may be your best bet but strippers don’t despair, it’s about to turn. A couple of degrees and it could blow up.

When will that happen? It’s anyone’s guess but this weekend looks prime with temps back into the 50’s Friday and Saturday. It’ll be on the breezy side but it definitely looks to be fishable.

We do have limited lodging available which I expect will fill for the weekend so don’t wait to make that call.

Also – if you’re out and about, stop in and see Chewy this weekend. After a long winter on the IR he will be back in the shop all weekend.

Call ahead for up to the minute reports and conditions.

The Countdown is Underway

With spring just 29 days away we can’t help but turn our thoughts to what’s soon to come.

And while it wasn’t very spring-like this morning with temperatures in the single digits, the early dawn and the sunshine and clear blue skies today have us thinking spring fishing on the Missouri.

Spring ranks high as one of our absolute favorite times to fish the MO’. As winter loosens is grip the water temps begin their slow ascent awakening our hungry trout from their cold-weather stupor and igniting the instinct to feed with reckless abandon.

The rainbows are looking to stockpile calories for the upcoming arduous spawning season while the brown trout key in on high calorie targets like baitfish. Couple this aggressive feeding with the least amount of aquatic vegetation you’ll see all season long and you can see why spring is THE absolute best time to fish streamers on the Missouri River.

The fish are hungry for nymphs, they’re hungry for streamers and as if that weren’t enough, they’re more than willing to eat a dry fly as midges and later BWO’s provide great top water action and pave the way for the coming summer dry fly smorgasbord.

You might think that with all these fishing opportunities available in the spring we’d charge a premium for guide trips but if you thought that you’d be wrong. Quite to the contrary, spring just so happens to be the time when we offer the best rates of the season for guide trips and lodging.

Like trout emerging from a somewhat dormant winter existence, outfitters, guides and fly shops are also emerging from winter dormancy. As is the nature of the business, we’ve expended substantially more than we’ve taken in over the winter months and it’s time to start feeding again! Spring trip specials are our way of enticing you into getting an early start on your season. Dust off those cobwebs and get dialed in for the coming season.

At Wolf Creek Angler we’re thinking spring all winter long so unlike some of the other shops who make you wait almost until it’s technically spring by the calendar, we offer our spring special ALL WINTER LONG! $400 FULL DAY GUIDE TRIPS and great deals on lodging. And speaking of great deals, we’ve got the best lodging/guide trip deal on the river hands down. Book two days of guided fishing and a night of lodging and your second night’s lodging is on us. That’s right – FREE LODGING at Wolf Creek Angler. Try to find a better deal…you won’t. I guarantee it.

So while you might think February is a little early to start talking spring fishing, we disagree. If the weather allows for it, why wouldn’t you come get an early start on your 2020 season?

Case in point – the coming weekend looks pretty darn good with temps nearing 50 each day. It will likely be breezy but not enough to prevent you from having a great day on the water.
Things have been quiet so far this week with the colder temps and snow but I’m expecting we’ll see a fairly busy weekend. At this point we do have lodging available but I expect that will book up for the weekend. Guides are chomping at the bit, ready to get back to work.

The fishing has been consistently good these past couple of weeks and should continue to hold steady. Water temps are holding at around 35 which will continue to dictate winter locations/techniques but a tic or two up could make a huge difference, especially if you’re itching for the streamer game.

Give us a call for real-time updates and conditions or to book your spring special lodging and guide trips.

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.

Spring Special

Photo – Rob Weiker

Do we have a spring special you ask?

It just so happens we have THE BEST DEAL on the MISSOURI… PERIOD.

Most are running specials, some are not and while we may not have been the first ones on the river to run a spring special we appreciate and are happy to participate in the market which has been created and we’re confident that you’ll be much more interested in the details of our amazing offer than in how long we’ve been doing a spring special.

Here’s what we’re offering…

$500 (plus tax) for a full day on the water with one of our exceptional guides AND two (2), that’s right, two nights of premium lodging at Wolf Creek Angler. No rushing to get here the morning of your trip. No driving home tired after hauling in trout all day. We invite you to try to find a better deal…you won’t!

Get here the night before your trip and relax. You can wander down to Shotgun Annie’s for dinner and cocktails or prepare your own dinner in your fully furnished kitchen. We’re still waiting for the last of the snow to disappear but it will soon be gone and we’re getting to the point where you’ll probably enjoy spending some time on the porch just taking it all in. We’re nestled in the heart of the Big Belt Mountains, surrounded by gorgeous views of rugged canyon landscapes. We’re definitely biased but we believe we’ve got the best views around and while being a stone’s throw from the MO would be nice, as far as we’re concerned there’s not a more perfect setting for a fly shop and cabins than Wolf Creek Montana.

Spend an awesome spring day on the water with the best guides on the river and return to WCA for another evening of R & R.

Don’t need the lodging? No problem. Our guide trip only price is an amazing value at just $400.

Just looking for a room? We’ve got you covered. $99 for premium lodging (kitchen and private bath) through the end of April.

So yeah, we’ve got a spring special and it’s the best deal on the Missouri.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Fishing Heating Up

It’s finally starting to feel like spring this week. The weather has been trending in the right direction with some nice days in the mid to high 50’s though there’s snow in the forecast yet again for today and tomorrow and we’re actually under yet another Winter Weather Advisory through tonight and we could see up to three inches of heavy, wet snow.

Traffic has picked up with a lot of folks taking advantage of some great spring deals. It’s been so nice to have a shop full of people again. We’re bursting with new gear arriving daily and still trying to clear out some of the old. Great deals on all kinds of premium  cold weather gear for everyone!

The fishing has been consistently good sub-surface with nymphing and streamer fishing heating up. We’ve seen river flows increase all week, a trend which will likely continue. As of this writing we’re sitting at 7260 CFS.  and while we’re anxiously awaiting a bump in water temps to bring the BWO’s into play we’re currently holding at a chilly 38 degrees.  Look for the water temp to bump up this weekend and into the first part of next week. Fingers crossed for 40+ degree water, overcast skies and BWO’s coming soon.

In the meantime the nymphing will bring the numbers. The status quo pinks and firebeads have continued to be effective  though we are definitely seeing a transition to a spring diet. Tailwater Sows are in play as are Pill Poppers, Caviar Scuds, Worms, Lightning bugs of the purple and pink variety,  Rainbow Czechs, Rainbow Warriors and if we do see that bump in the water temps the baetis nymphs will definitely come in to play. Think Green Machine!

This is a favorite time of year for the streamer addicts on the hunt for hungry browns and while the action has been hit or miss it’s tough to resist those soft edges and transitional zones created by the higher flows. Work those banks, keeping the strip on the slow side with plenty of pauses…they love to hit it on the pause. Whites, Greys, Olives, Blacks….lots of bugs getting noticed right now. MK Ultras, Circus Peanuts, Polar Leeches, SPARKLE MINNOWS, Baby Gongas, Kreelex, Clousers… etc. As always, fish the bugs you believe in changing patterns and colors until you find one that works.

Lodging is 100 percent open and our spring special runs through the end of the month. Shotgun Annie’s and Izaak’s are open for business and Upland Angler is a great option as well but their schedule varies so call ahead for reservations at (406)468-0080.

Don’t let the lingering winter weather get you down…plenty of nice weather ahead including what looks to be an awesome weekend. We hope to see you out here.

 

Out like a Lion

 

It’s hard to believe but March has all but passed us by and while  we traditionally expect March to come in fiercely like a lion and go out gently like a lamb it looks like the winter lion is going to stick around for a while yet.

Rain and snow are likely tomorrow with gusty south southwest winds in the afternoon ushering in a cold front which will drop us into the teens tomorrow night. We’ll see a high of only 32 on Saturday with a chance for some snow but Sunday looks better with temps back near 50. Maybe not the ideal weekend to fish the Missouri but sooner or later we’ll get there.

We definitely saw an increase in traffic this week with spring breakers taking advantage of some decent weather and enjoying the sunshine on the windy MO’. Fishing reports have been inconsistent but overall I’d say it’s been fair for most. As you would expect those who fish here often are having pretty good luck out there while those who are here for the first time or only hit it once or twice a year have been having a tougher go of it.

Nymphing is your best bet for numbers and not much has changed on the bug front. Anything with a pink bead works more often than not and firebeads are getting it done as well. The hottest bug of the spring thus far has been Pederson’s Sow (available exclusively at Wolf Creek Angler and currently in short supply but more are on the way). Pill poppers, Lucent Bead Rays, UV Crush, Bubble Yums, Pink Radiation Baetis and Wayno’s Cotton Candy have all been catching plenty of fish. Don’t shy away from black Zebras, tailwater sows, firebead rays etc. I’m still sticking with a #12 Pink Amex for a lead fly more often than not but Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, Casne’s Pinkalicious, Pink Weight Flies and Bubble Yums work too. Some have gone to the worm and done well.

Fish are still holding in the slower, deeper runs but we are starting to see a migration to transitional water so  fish the slow stuff but don’t be afraid to hit that medium fast, medium depth water as well. Some are fishing deep rigs and doing fine, we’ve been sticking with a 7′ – 8′ overall depth, sometimes with no weight, sometimes with a bb.

Streamer fishing has been hit or miss but if you stick with it throughout the day you should encounter at least a hot stretch or two. Kreelex, Craven’s Dirty Hippy, Sparkle Minnows, Lynch’s Drunk and Disorderly, Baby Gongas, Polar Leeches, Montana Minnows, Clousers and ZK’s Son of Bunny in pearl and MK Ultra in grey (both available exclusively at WCA) have all been effective. Greys, whites and olives have been good but as I say often fish what you like and what you have confidence in…it makes all the difference in the world.

Midges a plenty daily. Some days the fish are on them, some days they aren’t. Keep that dry fly rig at the ready. I’ve been running a hi-vis para adams with a Bucky’s Midge Cluster and haven’t seen any reason to switch it up but any Griffiths gnat or midge cluster ought to do the trick.

Overcast days have definitely been better overall (especially for streamer fishing) but we’re catching plenty of fish in the sun as well. Fish when you can.

Our spring lodging and guide trip special has been gaining in popularity as folks come to realize what an absolute STEAL of a Deal it is. Once again, that’s two nights of premium lodging and a full day guide trip for one or two anglers for just $550. We challenge you to find a better deal on the MO’.

We’re at about 50% open on our lodging just waiting for temps to stabilize before we open the rest but hopefully it won’t be long. Cabins and bungalows available now, motel rooms open soon.

The shop is rapidly filling up with new gear from Simms, Redington, Echo, Ross and more and we’re thrilled to announce that we are now your Exclusive Missouri River dealer for Damsel Fly Fishing, an AWESOME line of women’s fly fishing gear and apparel made right here in Montana. Check them out at www.damselflyfishing.com. We’re also excited to announce that we are now featuring Douglas Fly Rods. More on this soon but in the meantime check them out at   douglasoutdoors.com We’ll let you know as soon as we have them in. We’re sure you’re going to love these rods and we’re hearing  nothing but good things from the other dealers around the region.

It may not feel like it and it may not look like it just yet but spring is definitely here and we can’t wait to see you back on the Missouri.

Remember Izaak’s opens Thursday, April 5th and we can’t wait!!