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.

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!

Prime Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some suggestions for your dry fly  arsenal….

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

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

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

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

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

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

Near Perfect Water Conditions

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

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

 

 

 

Mid June Missouri River Fishing Report

pmd2
Hard to believe, but according to the calendar it’s June 15th. The season is flying by as it does and we’re about to settle into prime dry fly time on the Missouri River. PMD’s and Caddis are in abundance depending on the day and you should be able to piece together a full day of dry fly action if that’s your thing. Best bet is still going to be below Craig but you should be able to find bugs and fish eating them wherever you go. If you happen upon a PMD event try your various PMD spinner patterns or just a standard parachute Adams coupled with a cripple or an emerger. On the caddis side we’re still liking the CDC Grey/Tan Caddis Emerger or a Cornfed Caddis paired with an Outrigger or an X Caddis. And speaking of Outriggers, it’s the time of year to keep a handfull of Outrigger Sallys in your box and at the ready.

Nymphing has been good most days and while things can always get weird out there we’ve been having some downright stellar days from the dam to Craig. Tailwater sows in #16 and #18 and Firebead softhackle sows have been far and away the most effective bugs but we’ve been getting them on zebra midges and various PMD nymphs as well including the PMD Magic Fly, Hogan’s PMD Military May, Light Peep Shows, Split-Case PMD’s and Wondernymphs. Further down stream it’s weight flies, Tung Darts and Czechs in tandem with LGM’s, Micromays, S & M’s and the aforementioned PMD stuff. How about streamers you ask? Not much to report on that front. The hardcore streamer guys are throwing them and catching some fish but if you’re on the fence about how best to work the depths our recommendation would be to concentrate on the nymphing game and save your streamers for the fall.

Flows are back down to 4600 keeping the wade anglers happy and the weather looks great for the week ahead with partly sunny skies and highs near 80 daily. Our lodging is booked solid from here on out into late July though there are the occasional vacancies so give us a call if you are making last minute plans to visit the Missouri this summer. We’ve got expert guides at the ready, anxious to show you what an amazing fishery we have here on the MO. Stop by the shop for everything you need for your day on the water. Shuttles, Drift Boats, Sun Protection, fishing licenses, Guide Wear from Kast Extreme Fishing Gear, walls full of tools and accessories, the best coffee in Wolf Creek (according to many),the largest selection of Missouri River flies ever assembled under one roof in Wolf Creek MT and much, much more.