Prime Time Flying By

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

Mid way through July we’re enjoying one of the better seasons in recent memory. Don’t look now but it’s soon to be behind us.

It’s been a strong month for dry fly fishing, I can’t recall a July with more optimal conditions. Near perfect flows, near perfect water temps, fairly consistent bugs and plenty of targets for those on the hunt.

Looking beyond the Missouri the weather has been keeping things green and cool throughout the region. It’s mid-July and we’ve yet to see any hint of Hoot Owl restrictions. That’s a good thing.

It’s been so good we’ve had to resort to complaining about frequent thunderstorms (which, in actuality haven’t been all that frequent) and a couple of hundred CFS bumps in flows here and there bringing us 6400 ish – still well within the “optimal” summer flows we hope for each season.
Some prefer something closer to 3000 CFS for increased wading opportunities but 3000 CFS means warmer water and a serious reduction in prime trout habitat. The river is in great shape at 6000 and the fish are healthy and happy.

It looks like the weather pattern will continue through this week, with high temps holding below average in the mid 70’s and lows in the high 40’s at night keeping things cool. Expect breezy conditions beginning this afternoon and over the next couple of days. Things begin to heat up early next week with sunshine and low 90’s on tap through mid-week. A little more what you would expect in mid to late July in Montana and just what we need to get those Tricos going.

Clouds have started to form and we expect to be fishing Tricos perhaps today and if not today then definitely by the end of the week.  Stock up on your Indicator Spinners and double wings now while you can. All indications are that it’s going to be a good, long Trico season which means we’ve got another month at the least of potentially phenomenal dry fly fishing.

PMD’s still going strong (Rusty Spinners are the ticket) though we expect we’re reaching the end. Caddis in very fishable numbers…just like the days of old. (Maybe not quite but good nonetheless). Best bets include Outriggers, Cornfed, JazzCabbage and CDC Caddis Emergers.

Don’t like tricos? Terrestrials are soon to be in play. I’ve yet to see a hopper but ants are getting eaten and whether you see them or not it’s never a bad call to throw a hopper from here on out. If nothing else it beats the bobber as far as I’m concerned and the ever-present potential for your hopper getting slammed by a hungry trout should hold your interest.

So while the focus has definitely been on dry fly fishing these past weeks nymphing should not be overlooked. PMD nymphs and Caddis pupae have been good options as well as Tailwater Sows and black Zebra midges. Much to our disappointment the Zirdle has yet to turn on. After last year’s Zirdlepalooza when we couldn’t keep the bins stocked we went HEAVY on Zirdles on our pre-season orders and here they sit. Sooner or later they’ll start to get eaten again and when they do we’ve got you covered. If per chance they don’t there may just be some screaming deals on Zirdles by season’s end.

Hot sellers continue to be primarily of the PMD variety. Psycho Mays, Split Case, Crack Back, Magic Fly, Frenchies, Little Green Machines, S & M’s. On the Caddis front Pulsating Caddis Pupae, Weight Flies, Nitro Caddis Pupa, Tung Darts and the like have all been effective. Throw in some of the aforementioned Zebra midges and Tailwater sows and you should have your bases covered.

We’ve hit our peak and we’re now on our way to the Dog Days of August and early September. The bugs will be here, the fish will be here…the crowds will not.

In the meantime July is pretty well spoken for on the lodging front, though there are a few holes here and there and guides are starting to become available again so make it a point to get out here and enjoy one of the better seasons we’ve had in recent years.

The peak may be over but we’ve got months of great fly fishing ahead of us on the Missouri.

Weekly Update

PMD’s are what’s on the menu. Stop by Wolf Creek Angler for the widest selection of Missouri River flies ever assembled under one roof in Wolf Creek Montana.

When I posted late last week we were hoping to see the switch flipped on bugs and dry fly action by the early to middle part of this week but then Christmas came early and we were treated to an epic day of blanket PMD hatches and sipping trout on Friday. I was more than happy to be wrong.

We did endure yet another cold front with some parts of the state even seeing substantial snow over the weekend but the weather didn’t seem to have as adverse of an effect on the fishing as I thought it might. Friday was definitely the best PMD day I’ve experienced so far this season. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the switch has been flipped but if you are looking to make a day of dry fly fishing you should have ample opportunities from here on out.

Some days are better than others but there are varying amounts of bugs and you can usually find at least a few willing players if you look hard enough.
Nymphing is still your numbers game but expect to have to work at it…it hasn’t been easy but it’s all good once you crack the code. Mind you the code changes daily, and sometimes even hourly but it’s the challenge that keeps you coming back.

Deep nymphing has been productive and when it’s not the short leash has performed (for some). We’re finding fish in faster water, shallow to medium depths and also suspended in the go-to swirly spots. Green Machines have been the most consistent bug (size matters, #16’s, #18’s and #20’s all getting some love depending on the day). Split Case PMD’s , PMD Psycho May, S & M, Redemption, Frenchies, Gold Lightning Bugs, Crack Backs, Military Mays, Peep Shows are all good choices for PMD nymphs. Keep those Tailwater Sows close at hand as well. Some days it’s all they’ll eat, other days they’re hit and miss but keep in mind that there are ALWAYS sow bugs in the river so they are NEVER a bad call. We’ve had a bit of success with Weight Flies and Tung Darts but the Caddis game has not yet been great. Zirdles and Crays are getting the occasional eat but we’ve yet to see the fish really key in on them. We’re hoping it happens soon. After last season’s Zirdlepalooza we went DEEP on the Zirdle stock so come replenish your supply….we’ve got piles of zirdles in all colors and sizes.

Best bets for dry fly fishing include Rusty Spinners, PMD Spinners, Sprout PMD’s , Flash Cripple PMD’s, Hellen Keller PMD’s, Film Critics, CDC PMD Emergers, Nyman’s DOA Cripple and the like. Might we also suggest trailing your PMD pattern of choice with a CDC Caddis Emerger. Mix PMD’s and Caddis you ask? Yes. Do it. You’ll thank us later.

And speaking of Caddis, don’t forget your Elk Hair Caddis, Bloom’s Parachute Caddis, X Caddis, Outrigger Caddis, Cornfed Caddis, Extended Body Caddis and more all available now at WCA.

Streamers? Maybe worth a shot before the weeds take hold but fading fast. Get dialed on your dry fly and nymphing game and fall streamer fishing will be here before you know it. And before that happens don’t forget HOPPER season will soon be upon us. We’ve already had some success on ants and beetles and we’re hoping it shapes up to be a great terrestrial year.

The river is busy and there are plenty of folks around but with 30 plus miles of fishable water there’s plenty of room to spread out and if you think outside of the box regarding launch times/locations you can often have vast stretches of river virtually to yourself. (Think EARLY or LATE start).

These early weeks of summer are homecoming time at WCA with our regulars from around the world returning once again to enjoy their home away from home. It’s my favorite time of the season with familiar faces all around.

Look for summer sales to start soon at WCA as we begin to clear the way for fall arrivals and don’t forget our third annual Make America Fly Again Half Price Fly Sale coming July 4th.

We hope you make us your first stop on your way to the MO’ for guides, drift boat rentals, shuttles, ice, sun protection, Simms wading gear and sportswear and the much ballyhooed largest selection of Missouri River flies every assembled under one roof in Wolf Creek Montana.

The Wait

We teased you last week with some hopeful optimism.

Expectations were that following the weekend cold front and the return to normal weather conditions early in the week that the dry fly fishing could very well explode.

Prior to the cold front things were looking promising with increasing numbers of PMD’s showing up on the upper stretches and an occasional caddis here and there sparking the interest of many who’ve been patiently awaiting a decent caddis season on the Missouri.

Mid way through the week and well into warm weather conditions the waiting continues. Those in search of surface action have had to work extremely hard to find bugs and harder yet to find rising fish. They’re out there but it ain’t easy.

And while the Dearborn has continued to rapidly drop, bringing the canyon into near-perfect water conditions…the dry fly game down there has been nearly non-existent this week. Nymphing and streamer fishing the lower stretches hasn’t been anything to write home about either though there has been a fair amount of traffic  seeking the inevitable.

And so the wait continues.

When will it happen? It’s anyone’s guess but I have a feeling it will be very soon.

We’re looking at daytime temps in the high 70’s and low 80’s for the next 10 days. Water temps are edging up, currently closing in on 57 degrees with flows at 6200 CFS. It’s been a frustrating couple of days for those seeking dry fly Nirvana but it’s got to be coming soon. Conditions still seem right for the convergence and creation of the proverbial perfect storm which will perhaps usher in a truly epic season of dry fly fishing on the Missouri River.

Don’t give up hope. You won’t know if you don’t go. What better way to spend your day than floating down the Missouri on an idyllic late spring day. Blue skies, hills covered in green, warm and gentle breezes, singing song birds and the occasional rising trout….can you imagine anything more Zen than this?

Don’t like Zen? There are other ways to endure the wait. As long as you’re out there why not feed the fish where they are which is UNDER the water.

Nymphing has continued to generate the numbers though even the subsurface game has had its challenges as of late. You can’t go wrong with a tailwater sow and a green machine but there are billions of other bugs you could be throwing as well. Sows and scuds will always find fish but the waters of the MO are teeming with a smorgasbord of fish food right now. Mayfly nymphs should most definitely be a part of your arsenal from here on out, particularly the PMD variety. PMD Magic Fly, S & M, Redemption, PsychoMay, Split Case, Crack Back…and on and on. Piles of PMD patterns filling both sides of the bins at WCA.

Likewise, you should also be representing the caddis we’re all eagerly awaiting. Bloom’s Weight Fly, Tung Darts, Nitro Caddis, Pulsating Caddis, UV Czech Caddis….throw the kitchen sink at them.

Streamer fishing has been hit and miss but as always, it’s worth the effort. Streamer junkies aren’t typically about the numbers, they’re looking for that one big fish and will happily endure a day of casting for a shot at a big fish or two.

If you’re thinking streamers think Sparkle Minnows, MK Ultras, Thin Mints, Clousers, Mojo Minnows, Montana Mouthwash, ZK’s Inflated Ego etc and don’t overlook the small stuff. Try a zirdle or a pine squirrel leech…you just might be surprised.

Start your day at WCA for shuttles and bugs and so much more.

Dry flies or not….it’s Prime Time on Montana’s Missouri River.

Early June on the MO’

As we close out this first full week of June conditions are looking very favorable for a dry fly explosion to occur sometime very soon…..like ANY DAY NOW.

All but gone are the fears of high water. We’re currently sitting at 6300 CFS with water temps currently holding in the 52-54 degree range.

The most probable water forecast is calling for a peak in the 8,000 cfs range this month but I’m not sure we’ll see it. Post-peak flows drop to the 5000 cfs range for the duration and it sure feels like we might be headed that way already.

Shaping up to be a potentially perfect water year on the Missouri

For all of you who’ve been calling regularly to inquire about the water, this is the report you’ve been waiting for and one I’m confident with which you’ll be very pleased. Yes, I’m talking to you Stan!

The planets may just be aligning to give us a truly EPIC dry fly season. Coming off a substrate scrubbing 20,000 CFS last season might we see a return to the fabled and oft talked about caddis hatches of years past? Only time will tell.

Last season we lost much of the PMD action to high flows but it doesn’t look like that’s going to be a problem this year.

We’ve been seeing bugs daily and while the approaching cold front may halt progress for the weekend there’s every reason to believe next week’s return to normal late spring conditions (temps in the 70’s and 80’s) may indeed flip the switch.

We’re expecting strong storms this afternoon and evening and considerably cooler temps for the weekend with highs only reaching into the 50s and lows dropping below 40. Things turn around on Monday and next week looks pretty close to perfect.

It’s both literally and figuratively the calm before the storm right now. They’re calling for the possibility of golf ball sized hail this afternoon on the literal storm front and figuratively speaking we could very well see a storm of PMD and Caddis action next week. Those who rolled the dice and booked for this period early on despite the high water apprehension generated by last season’s conditions in June may be in for the ultimate reward very soon.

As if that weren’t good news enough, there was so much high water hesitation on the part of many of our regular guests that we’ve actually got some lodging availability for at least another week or so. These next six weeks are the PRIME of our guide trip season but we do still have guides on call for those last minute bookings so I wouldn’t waste any time making plans if I were you. It’s a rare opportunity to luck into what may very well be the hottest dry fly fishing of the season….or not.

Stock up on those Rusty Spinners and Corn Fed Caddis or your PMD and Caddis patterns of choice along with plenty of floatant and plan to be on the water next week.

Remember, we are your first stop Missouri River fly shop and we’re pulling out all of the stops to make sure we have anything and everything you need to keep you from having to travel down the road. Wolf Creek is your first stop and the only one you need to make on your way to the MO. We’ve got affordable lodging, the best guides in the business, Adipose drift boat rentals, shuttles, bugs, ice, sun protection, fishing licenses, rain gear, tools and accessories, rods and reels, SIMMS waders and boots, lines, leaders, tippet, floatants, guide wear, and so much more. You get the picture. There’s absolutely no need to go anywhere else. Wolf Creek Angler is proud to be your source for everything Missouri River fly fishing and beyond.

Give us a shot. We’re confident that once you visit our shop you’ll be hooked. We’re the best shop you never even knew was here!

Drag Free Drifts and Tight Lines to you!

Sunshine and Mud on the MO’

Farewell (for now)  to Rainy Days on the MO’

Following what seemed like weeks of cloudy, wet cold days the clouds have parted, giving way to the soul-warming, psyche lifting giant yellow orb in the sky.

It’s a mixed bag of clouds and sunshine today but it looks like we’re headed for warmer temperatures and an abundance of sunshine over these next ten days with highs inching into the 70’s tomorrow and near 80 by the end of the week.

Sure it may have been the most epic early spring fishing we’ve seen in some time on the Missouri but I think everyone is ready for some nicer weather.
In spite of insane March Brown madness these past weeks in addition to some solid streamer days and off the charts nymphing more days than not, traffic has been somewhat light so while we’ve been loving the fishing this spring on a personal level we’re ready for business to blow up which it looks like it’s about to.

The assumption is that the bright skies ahead may put a damper on the dry fly fishing but regardless, PMD’s and Caddis await and it won’t be long before we’re in the summer dry fly groove on the MO.

Following the weekend rain event we’re seeing traffic concentrated at the dam again with Little Prickly Pear and the Dearborn dumping mud. We’re finally looking at a relatively precipitation free extended forecast but the warmer temps will obviously keep runoff moving.

Snowpack remains in the 120 percent of average range for the Missouri main stem and right around 100 percent for the Upper Clark Fork and Sun, Teton and Marias drainages. The Madison, Gallatin and Smith drainages are all in good shape at close to 140 percent of average while the Flathead is trending in the 80 percent range with only the Kootenai running low at 50 percent of average.

What’s this mean for your Missouri River late spring and early summer fishing plans? We’re expecting flows to hold in the 8,000 CFS range for the remainder of May and into early June. The Dearborn is dropping so look for things to clear over the course of the week and look for traffic to steadily increase from here on out.

Runoff will soon push much of Montana’s fly fishing traffic to the Missouri so if you’re headed here expect to have some company.
We do have limited availability on lodging and guides for the next two weeks so it’s the perfect opportunity to get out and enjoy great fishing and great weather on the Missouri.

We are your one-stop shop on the way to the MO with lodging; guides; shuttle service; lunches; Simms boots, waders and sportswear; rods from Loop, Echo and Redington; reels from Lamson, Ross, Nautilus and Echo; sun protection; lines, leaders and tippet from Rio; optics from Smith and Suncloud and don’t forget….we have the largest selection of flies ever assembled under one roof in Wolf Creek Montana. And these aren’t cheap shop ties, these are the real deal highest quality bugs money can buy from Umpqua, MFC, Solitude and YFG.

You’ve found your new Go To on the MO and need go no further than Wolf Creek. If you’re starting at the dam or Wolf Creek and coming from anywhere other than Great Falls then why would you add 15 miles to your trip by driving to Craig for shuttles and provisions and then driving back to the dam or Wolf Creek to launch. There’s absolutely no need to do that because we’ve got everything right here that you’re driving to Craig to buy.

We love Craig too but we want to save you the time, the money and the hassle.

We sincerely hope you’ll make Wolf Creek Angler your first stop on your next trip to the Missouri.

Spring Fishing Heating Up

It’s been a cold and wet spring in Montana but don’t  despair.

While most of us are more than ready for warmer weather and sunshine, these cool, cloudy spring days have delivered some phenomenal fishing on the Missouri.

We’re often asked “When is the best time to fish the Missouri” and there are many factors that figure in to the answer to this question but I will say that when you’re considering the fishing above all else, you’d be hard pressed to find a better time to be here than RIGHT NOW!

Nymphing is always an option and is generally the most consistent means of bringing fish to hand however when we’re blessed with cold, cloudy days like what we’ve been experiencing since late last week, your options multiply rapidly.

In my opinion there is no better time to fish streamers on the Missouri than April and May and as of about a week ago the dry fly fishing has really started to pick up as well with an abundance of baetis and also March browns sending our hungry trout into a feeding frenzy.

There are many who love the technical challenge of perfectly presenting tiny dry flies to finicky trout and there are plenty of opportunities to do this throughout the season. If, however, the challenges of feeding educated fish aren’t all that appealing to you but you love to catch fish on dry flies then this is your time!

These first weeks of dry fly fishing are the time when almost anyone can catch fish on dry flies on the MO. The fish are hungry and happy and not overly discerning when it comes to choosing which bugs to eat so if you put your bug somewhere in the general vicinity of their feeding lane and it looks something like what they are eating, then you stand a pretty decent chance of hooking up. You’ll still have the challenge of hooking, playing and landing that fish but presentation is not quite so critical.

You’ve got the best of everything happening now. Dry Fly fishing, Streamer fishing, nymphing….ALL OPTIONS AVAILABLE though I will say that once they key on those meaty March Browns then you better be ready to become a DFO.

Yesterday’s cloud cover had me thinking we were in for the PERFECT streamer day but alas the trout had something else in mind. We boated a few but the action was painfully slow. Seeing a few random rises we put away the streamer rig opting instead to throw a dry fly blind at those same streamer banks. First cast, first eat with more to follow.

You’ll usually get a few days like this in the early part of the season where you can skate a #14 Parachute Adams along the bank or in the vicinity of rising fish and get plenty of eats but enjoy it while it lasts for soon these fish will get smart and will laugh at your heavy tippets, your random patterns and your poor presentations.

With more of the same ahead in the forecast this would be a great time to take advantage of the situation and treat yourself to some of the best (and least challenging) fishing you’ll find on the Missouri all season long.

Traffic is moderate but spread fairly evenly and if you look hard enough for an underutilized section of water or plan your launch time accurately you can often have the thing to yourself.

Lodging is steady but we do have plenty of openings for these next 10 days both for guides and rooms. We’ve also got plenty of rental boat availability as well. Two weeks from now this won’t be the case as we’re about to embark on PRIME TIME, regardless of the weather.

Sooner or later it’s got to warm up but in the meantime we’ve got you covered with plenty of cold weather remnants priced to move and since wet wading may not be an option for a while why not treat yourself to a new pair of Simms waders and/or wading boots. We stock G3’s, Freestones and Tributaries and we’re happy to order anything we don’t have.

Got flies? We do! Come explore the endless options at Wolf Creek Angler. We have the biggest and best selection of Missouri River flies ever assembled under one roof in Wolf Creek Montana.

We are your one stop shop for everything you need when fishing the Missouri. Guides, Lodging, lunches, Shuttles, bugs, rods, reels, fishing licenses, ice, drift boat and equipment rentals, cold weather gear, hot weather gear, rain and wading gear, sun protection, packs, tools accessories….ANYTHING and EVERYTHING you need for your time on the water.

Save yourself the trip down the road and the hassle of the crowds…we’ve got you covered. Once you discover what you’ve been missing we’re confident you’ll make Wolf Creek Angler your go-to fly shack on the MO.

Weekend Outlook

If you’ve been waiting for spring to take hold it looks like this is the weekend it’s going to happen.

The warm-up is underway and while we may see some scattered showers and thunderstorms today it looks like we’re in for a gorgeous Mother’s Day weekend with plenty of sunshine and highs reaching into the 70’s tomorrow and near 80 on Sunday and Monday.

We’re expecting a VERY BUSY weekend on the MO.

Blue Wing Olives and March Browns are popping and these past couple of days we’ve actually had the opportunity to target a few rising fish. The water is still on the chilly side at 44 degrees but with the warm up underway we’re expecting the fishing to heat up this weekend. We may even start to see some Caddis soon if we’re lucky so be prepared.

Nymphing will continue to be where the numbers are at but dry fly season is upon us so bring your dry fly rigs and your A Game and get back to hunting heads on the MO. It’s been too long! Sprout Baetis, Olive Para Adams, Flash Cripples, Wilcox’s Micromay BWO and Quigley’s Film Critic are all good calls. We’re stocked up with more BWO patterns than you can shake a stick at and we’ve also got plenty of options for your March Brown and Caddis offerings.

If you’re going to stick with nymphing keep rolling the tailwater sows, pill poppers, Yum Yums, Firebead Rays, Cotton Candies, Pederson’s Sow, Soft Hackle Sow etc but you’d do well to mix in some baetis nymphs like LGM’s, Psycho Mays, Redemptions, Radiation Baetis, LB’s, PT’s, Split Case BWO’s, Olive 2 bits….I could go on and on. And don’t forget the weight flies, Tung Darts, UV Czech Caddis etc as Caddis pupae will soon be in the mix. You might even want to try the Zirdle…just sayin’.

Streamer fishing has FINALLY started to heat up. These next two to three weeks could be PRIME TIME. Fish your favorites, get em’ deep and give them some life. Strip fast with plenty of pauses, both short strips and long and make them irresistible with plenty of aggressive twitches.
Sure you might prefer a little less sun but from the WCA eternal optimist perspective you couldn’t ask for much better conditions than what we’re going to see this weekend.

Flows are holding at around 9,000 CFS and are projected to continue to drop throughout the month of May. The latest Intel from the Bureau of Reclamation has us likely holding around 7500 CFS for the months of May and June. Max probable has us at 10,000 in May with a peak just over 12K in June and minimum probability has us at 6500 CFS this month and down to 4000 in June. Looking beyond June we’ll likely see flows holding somewhere in the 5,000 CFS range for the remainder of the summer season. Sounds good to us.

Snow pack is still holding around 100 percent throughout much of the region. A little higher in the Yellowstone drainage and right around 90 percent for the Missouri main stem. Now as we’ve made clear in the past precipitation is the X factor when predicting spring flows. Should we see a bunch of rain then all bets are off but from where we sit conditions seem favorable for a damn good water year. Not too high, not too low. The wade anglers would of course like to see those flows in the minimum probable range but if we do see flows in the 6-7K range as is being predicted there will be plenty of wade fishing opportunities.

We’ve got limited lodging available through the weekend and into next week though things are filling fast so don’t wait too long to make your plans.

We’ve got guides available most days and we’ve also got Adipose Drift boat rentals if you prefer to do it yourself.

Missouri River fly fishing trips make the perfect Mother’s Day present (depending on the mom) and we’ve also got plenty of other gift ideas from Simms waders, boots and sportswear to packs, tools, accessories and of course….flies.

We’d be more than happy to assemble an assortment of Missouri River bugs for mom. Through this weekend we’ll throw in a free WCA fly box when you purchase three dozen flies or more.

We wish all the moms out there a Happy Mother’s Day and we hope to see moms and dads and kids alike on the MO this fine weekend.

Springtime in the Rockies

Frozen Pipes in April?

Ahhhh…..May in Montana. Singing birds, sunshine, greening grass, budding trees, freezing temps, frozen pipes, broken plumbing…it’s springtime in the Rockies.

Following some moderately mild spring weather in mid-April, winter returned last Sunday. You never know when the weather will turn but you’d think by late April we’d be done with the risk of frozen plumbing. Not so this year.

We dipped back down into the teens last night but it appears as though a warm-up is underway and with any luck the nervous nights spent worrying about frozen plumbing are behind us for the season.

We’ll see temperatures back in the 50’s for the next couple of days, 60’s by the end of the week and up to 70 by Sunday. More importantly, overnight lows will be hanging in the high 30’s and low 40’s. Good for slowing snow melt and for maintaining water in its liquid form.

Fishing has been fair though not as consistent as we expect it to be this time of year.

Status quo fishing report with the best fishing still happening from the dam to Wolf Creek Bridge. Nothing much new to report on the nymphing scene. Tailwater sows still ruling the day with Pill Poppers, Bubble Yums, Pederson’s Sow, Yum Yums, UV Crush, Caviar Scud, Rainbow Czech, Pink Amex, Firebead Sows, Cotton Candies and the like all finding their targets. I mentioned last week that it might not be a bad idea to start mixing in some BWO nymphs and it bears repeating. LGM’s, S & M’s, Psycho Mays, Radiation Baetis, BWO Magic Flies, and 2 Bits should all be in the mix.

Dry Fly fishing? Coming soon. Widespread reports of BWO’s making an appearance. We like Sprout Baetis, MicroMay BWO, and Olive Para Adams etc trailed with a cripple or an emerger. Film Critics, Flash Cripples, and DOA Cripple Baetis should all get it done. Surface activity has been sporadic at best but it’s only going to get better so keep your dry fly rod rigged and ready….be prepared.

Streamer fishing has been tough, I’m not going to lie. We’ve been working extremely hard at it without much to show for our efforts. Some are discouraged. I am not. Keep at it. Sooner or later it’ll happen. Or not. Try different colors, different sizes, switch up your retrieve. It’s hard work but the payoff is so worth it when it happens.

Good news from the Bureau of Reclamation this morning, it looks like flows are going to drop by around 1000 cfs tomorrow. It might make fishing weird for a day or two but we’re optimistic that things are about to come into fine shape. Water temps are holding in the 43 degree range and should start to increase over the next couple of weeks. Snow pack is average to slightly above so with the current weather pattern of mild days and cool nights continuing we’re cautiously optimistic that things are about to get really good.

Spring special is OVER but spring fishing is just getting started. We’ve got guides at the ready and lodging available most nights so if you’ve been on the fence about doing a spring trip get off the fence and book a trip today. NOW is the TIME!

We are open daily from 7:30 – 5:00 pm for all of your Missouri River fly fishing needs. Shuttles; fishing licenses; Adipose Flow Drift Boat Rentals; waders, boots, outerwear and accessories from SIMMS; packs, tools and accessories from FISHPOND and the largest selection of Missouri River Bugs ever assembled under one roof in Wolf Creek Montana. We are your GO TO, Full Service Fly Shack on the MO.

Big Water April Report

Spring is Streamer Time on the MO’

11,400 CFS and holding. That’s where she’s flowing right now. Out of the comfort zone for wade anglers, perfect for the drift boat brigades.
The dam to Wolf Creek Bridge has been the most consistent bet for the last couple of weeks. Wolf Creek to Craig has had its moments and Craig down has been hit or miss, but mostly miss.

It’s the time of year you need to strike a balance between sharing the best water and actually leaving the good spots to make room for the next wave. There are row arounds that can support quite a few boats. It’s best if you don’t drop anchor in these and it’s also the right thing to do to move on after you’ve caught some fish. How many is enough? It’s subjective for sure, but typically if I’ve run through a busy run a half a dozen times or so and hooked up on every run and the next run doesn’t produce then I’ll move on, especially if there are more boats joining in. Others stay longer and that’s fine but the whole point is to be as considerate as possible. Share the water!

Tailwater sows, Yum Yums, Soft Hackle sows, more tailwater sows, Pill Poppers, Pink Bead Rays, Pederson’s Sows, Firebead Rays….notice the trend? Fly selection is fairly simple right now. Anything sowbug should get it done though you might throw in a Rainbow Czech, an Amex or a worm just to mix it up a bit. We’re still concentrating on the slower, deeper water though we’re starting to pick up fish in more transitional water as well. Take some time and watch what’s happening around you. Take notice of the water the guides are fishing and mimic their behavior. Not sure what they’re using or how they’re using it? Ask them. Most guides are friendly and accessible and more than happy to help you out.

Midges a plenty out there but not much happening on top. We’re still waiting on BWO’s to start. I have heard rumors of a few here and there so it shouldn’t be long now.

The rumors you’ve heard about streamer fishing are true. It’s not that great right now but you can rest assured we’ll continue to do it and you’ll be the first to know when things turn on. We’ve had decent windows of time and/or certain water which produce on some days but we’ve yet to have a day where they were chasing all day. Don’t give up. It’s the best time of the year for streamer fishing….honest. You can always switch back and forth between the nymphing and throwing streamers but I usually opt to stick with streamers no matter what. That being said, it makes perfect sense to nymph the good nymphing runs since you’re right there.

We’re not sure where the flows are headed but we’re hoping they’re dumping in moderately large doses now to ease up on the flows next month. I can’t tell you that’s what’s happening but I hope it is.

We’ve had a few really nice weather days out there with temps actually approaching 80 last Friday but it appears as though winter is about to take another last gasp. Snow is in the forecast beginning on Sunday and running through Tuesday and it looks like it could be a substantial spring snow event with several inches predicted for Sunday and Monday. We’ll see highs in the mid 30’s and overnight lows in the high 20’s but it looks like normal weather will return by the middle of next week. Enjoy these next couple of days of mild weather and come prepared if you’re planning on being here early next week. Dig those winter clothes back out and bring them with you. We can help you with anything you forget. Plenty of hats and gloves and cold weather wear still hanging around at the best prices of the season.

Only five days left to take advantage of our spring special rates. $400 guide trips and $99 premium lodging. Regular season rates go into effect one week from today.

Lodging has hit its stride. It’s great having a crowd around here again. We’re booked solid for the weekend but there are rooms available starting on Sunday (just in time for the snow).

We’ve already implemented our extended spring hours to meet the morning rush. The shop is open daily at 7:30 am and we’ll likely push that to 7 AM at some point in May but for the time being you’ll find us here from 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM daily. We’re open earlier than the rest so make Wolf Creek Angler your first stop on your way to the river for shuttles, bugs and a multitude of other Missouri River essentials.

Mid April on the Missouri

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

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

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

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

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

Last year around this time

2019 – All about the averages

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

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

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

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

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

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