February Blues – Cabin Fever Edition

 

We continue to dream of warmer days as February is rapidly shaping up to be one of the coldest on record with no end in sight.

We’ll see highs in the teens and 20’s for the remainder of the week with lows in the single digits or well below zero most nights.
The only fishing report we’ve heard comes from Holter Lake where the perch fishing has been slow.

Sure we’re tired of the cold and we’re getting a little stir crazy as Cabin Fever persists….ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY. ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY.

ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY

ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY. ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY. ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY.

ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
All work and no play makes jack a dull boy

All work and no play makes jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a Dull Boy. All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All Work and NO play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no Play makes Jack a Dull Boy…

but looking on the bright side, these Missouri River trout have had weeks of peace and quiet with very little harassment from anglers. They’ve been busy burning calories and should be anxious to eat a well-presented fly if things ever warm up.

Look for this to be a phenomenal spring to fish the Missouri.

Summer is booking up nicely as we start to anticipate opening up more lodging for the season. Renovations are close to being complete in the motel and we’re confident you’re going to love what we’ve done with the place.

The shop is FULLY stocked for late winter fishing and spring deliveries are starting to roll in so we are anxious to see some shoppers again and we’d love for you to take advantage of some great deals on winter wear and help us clear the way for spring gear. It’s a win win.

This would also be a great time to gear up for the wading season with a new pair of Simms or Redington waders and boots. We’ve got you covered!

Looking for a boat? We’ve got a couple of great drift boats for sale and they’re priced to move. If you’re in the market for a boat we’ve got a 2013 Clacka Eddy and a 2014 RO Deville, both in great shape. The Clack is my personal guide boat, the RO was one of our rental boats. Give us a call or message us for details.

So what are we doing to get through the winter?

We’re excited to host Tipsy Tying in the shop this Friday evening at 8 pm and there are a couple fishing film events happening in Helena in March starting with the IF4 at Grandstreet Theatre on March 8th followed by two showings of the Montana Fishing Film Fest on March 24th at Lewis and Clark Brewing Company. We hope you join us for them both. If we can’t fish we can at least watch movies about people fishing to bide our time while we wait for spring to arrive.

Late January Report

The 2019 Season is Coming Soon

It’s hard to believe but we’re a week out from closing the books on the first month of 2019. The coming season looms large and the December doldrums have been replaced by days filled with a lot of time on the phone booking and confirming trips and lodging.

Lately we’ve also spent some time shoveling snow which we haven’t had to do much of so far this winter. While we’re keeping a close eye on the snow pack and spending some time on the water battling ice in the guides we know that the season will soon be upon us and winters cold will be but a distant memory. After all, spring is a mere 55 days away. Can you feel it?

I’ve admittedly become less of a fan of winter fishing over the past several years, perhaps I’m getting soft in my old age. But I do love this time of year. There may be snow on the ground and the thermometer may be hanging south of 20 degrees but spending time on the phone much of the day talking with clients about their upcoming fishing plans has a way of transporting you to hot summer days in the rowers seat. As the rooms and the guide days fill in the season begins to take shape, once again shifting gears from contemplating what was to preparing for what’s coming SOON.

Bookings for the prime season are up from last year which means a lot of you have fishing on your minds. If you’re thinking of fishing and staying with us this season it’s probably time to stop thinking about it and make those reservations. It feels like it’s going to be a busy year on the Missouri, especially after we lost a good part of the dry fly season last year due to the high water. There are a lot of folks who skipped last year who’ve already secured their dates for 2019 so don’t let this one get away from you.

There’s so much to do to get things ready for the coming season and not a lot of time left to get things done. Time has run out on putting off winter projects…its go time for property maintenance and also for shop stuff.

The cold weather gear needs to move to make way for spring shipments which will be arriving soon. We’ve already received our big SIMMS wader and boot shipment and while those waders look great hanging in the shop, they’d look even better leaving the shop on you so if you’re in the market for new waders this spring we’d love it if you got them from us.

It’s also time to review preseason orders and make sure we didn’t miss anything.

Rest assured we’ll have everything ready to go come spring. Our major project is completing renovations in the motel which will commence next week. Upon completion of #11 all motel rooms will be fully renovated and while some of you have only ever stayed in the renovated version of the rooms those who have been with us from the start will appreciate what I’m talking about when I say it’s nice to be able to be proud of these motel rooms because I definitely wasn’t prior to the renovations.

Another winter project was getting the WiFi situation figured out. This has been a constant issue and one which we’ve made several attempts to fix. The problem was that the WiFi signal was not reaching the bungalows (#12,#13 and #14). Well, it is now. Mind you we don’t have the fastest internet in Wolf Creek but we have the best that is available to us and now that signal is covering the whole property.

As always you can expect continuous improvement at Wolf Creek Angler. It’s our mission to do everything we can to provide you with an excellent experience and one which you’ll hopefully remember for all the right reasons. It won’t happen all at once but we’re chipping away at things and judging by our annual growth and by the vast majority of the feedback we receive our efforts are making a difference.

Weekend Report

Winter Fare at Wolf Creek Angler

Winter Fare at Wolf Creek Angler

We’ve got a nice weekend on tap here on the Missouri River, especially by mid-January standards with temperatures in the high 20’s and to low 30’s, relatively calm winds and a chance for snow showers each day. We are under a winter weather advisory beginning this afternoon at 2 pm and ending tomorrow morning at 11:00 AM. We could see 2-4 inches of new snow tonight.

The fishing could potentially be pretty good on the river and there was a fair amount of traffic headed up the lake again this morning. We’ve got a full house tonight but things open up on Sunday. If you’ve got Monday off for MLK day it wouldn’t be a bad call to book yourself a bungalow for Sunday night and a $400 full day guide trip on Monday. We’re supposed to see temperatures in the 40’s Monday.

Good reports from the past couple of days both from the nymphing set and the streamer guys. The go-to flies have been Pink Sows, Pink Scuds, Pink Lightning Bugs, Pink Amex…..notice a pattern? We’ve also done well with a few firebead patterns. Rainbow Weight Flies, Firebead Sows, Firebead Rays….. there are plenty of bugs that are working well these days, you just have to put them in the right place. With water temperatures in the 33-34 range those fish simply aren’t going to move much so you need to make sure you are putting it right in front of them. Generally you’ll find that where you pick one up you will pick more up as they are congregating in those spots right now.

Hot Head Kreelex, Hot Head Buggers, Polar Leeches in Brown and also Olive/Copper, Sparkle Minnows and Skiddish Smolts are all getting some action on the streamer side. We’ve got all of these and many more including a bunch of new patterns just begging to be fished. Stop by and check out the undisputed best streamer selection in Wolf Creek Montana.

There will definitely be some traffic out there this weekend with the weather being what it is. It’s a great weekend to fish! It’s also a pretty good weekend to watch playoff football with the Chiefs and Pats playing this afternoon and the Packers and  Cardinals tonight. Seahawks and Panthers tomorrow morning followed by Steelers and Broncos tomorrow afternoon. They should all be great games.

Be sure and stop at Wolf Creek Angler if you are coming out to fish. We’re your one stop for everything you need for winter fly fishing on the Missouri. Shuttles, cozy lodging, cold weather gear, closeout deals on St Croix and Echo fly rods, RO Drift Boat Rentals, all the best winter bugs, Kast Steelhead Gloves, great coffee and much more.

The Oasis is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Thursday-Monday so you’ll definitely have a place to eat as well as have a cocktail or two while you watch the football games this weekend.

Fishing the Thaw

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Bins Overflowing with new bugs at Wolf Creek Angler

Busiest day of the year by far this mid-January Wednesday at Wolf Creek Angler. Full house on the lodging side last night and more bugs out the door today than we’ve seen since November.

There’s plenty more where those came from so make sure you swing by on your way to the river and check out the largest selection of winter-specific Missouri River flies ever assembled under one roof in Wolf Creek Montana.

We’ve also done more shuttles in the past two days than we’ve done in the past three weeks combined. It’s not too surprising though considering we’re pushing the 50 degree mark today with partly cloudy skies and some isolated rain showers in the mix. Ridiculously nice weather for winter fishing on the Missouri.

Most are opting for nymphing these days though there are plenty throwing streamers as well. Speaking of streamers, our streamer bin is overflowing with tons of new patterns, some of which have been consistently producing both on the swing and the strip. Stop by on your next trip through and check out our ever-expanding streamer selection.

New to the streamer game? Grab one of our St Croix Bank Robber demo rods and a handful of streamers and give it a go. If you find you like it we can get you set up with a complete package (rod/reel/line) tailored to suit your needs for a great transition season rate. We’re clearing our St Croix inventory to make room for something new and exciting…more on this soon.

I did make it out for a couple of hours yesterday and have a full report as promised.

#10 Casne’s Pinkalicious trailed with a #18 firebead pink soft hackle sow. 6′ give or take from point fly and occasionally from single bb. Slow deep winter water. A couple  whiteys and a couple  trout. The whiteys love the Pinkalicious. Same old story but a solid couple of hours for sure. Some spots which produced very well last season for me have yet to turn on while others which I overlooked in the past seem to be holding plenty of fish. The warm air feels good. The wind keeps things on the chilly side so dress appropriately. The water is cold (33-34) so layer up and have at it. Leaky waders may cut your outing short – they did mine!

Things are melting rapidly but there is plenty of shelf ice around yet so please use caution out there. Boat traffic is increasing so the ramps are definitely getting used but some pre-drift recon or a quick call to the shop to check ramp conditions is always advisable and if you don’t have four-wheel drive maybe leave the boat home for another time.

Continued above average temps tomorrow with a high near 40 and a 50% chance of snow showers. Sounds like a streamer day to me. Colder as we head into the weekend with temps closer to average in the high 20’s and low 30’s. Monday looks nice with temps back near 40. Three-day weekend for some with MLK Day on Monday. Why not spend it fishing the Missouri. $99 lodging and $400 guide trips all winter long. Give us a call and book yours today.

 

 

Cold Weekend Outlook

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Snowy and cold this weekend on the Missouri although not nearly as cold as what they had been calling for a few days ago. We’ll see highs in the mid 20’s tomorrow and close to 30 on Sunday with partly sunny skies….maybe not ideal conditions but certainly fishable.

Night time temps in the single digits will keep things icy. Slush will be a constant irritation. Watch that shelf ice and be on the lookout for icebergs on the move when you’re wading.

We wouldn’t recommend floating the river this weekend with wind chill values as low as -10 but if you decide to do it please use extreme caution at the ramps as they can definitely be on the sketchy side in these weather conditions. Four-Wheel drive is a must.

Things are going to warm up next week with highs near 40 on Wednesday and Thursday. If you feel a couple of sick days coming on give us a call and book yourself a cozy bungalow for a night or two. $99 gets you a room for three with a full kitchen. Don’t feel like cooking? The Oasis Bar and Grill is serving breakfast, lunch and dinner Thursday – Monday from 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM.

Looking for a guide? $400 gets you a full day float trip on the MO with one of our expert professional guides, a hot lunch, plenty of solitude and the chance to discover what an awesome winter fishery the Missouri can be. Book it today – if you don’t like what you’re seeing weather wise come game time you are free to bail. We will be out there weather permitting – you may as well be out there with us.

Need shuttles, winter bugs, hats, gloves, hand warmers, cold weather gear or anything else for a cold day on the water? Wolf Creek Angler is your Missouri River Winter Fly-Fishing headquarters. Stay with us, shop with us, fish with us. With 99% of the winter fishing taking place between Holter Dam and Craig, Wolf Creek is the place to be, just minutes from the dam and Wolf Creek Bridge.

Pay us a visit and find out why Wolf Creek is rapidly becoming the nexus of winter fly-fishing on the Missouri River. People from around the state and beyond choose Wolf Creek when they are looking for a winter fly-fishing fix. With the only restaurant and the only gas station/convenience store between Helena and Cascade and a first-rate Missouri River fly shop with comfortable and affordable lodging just minutes from Holter Dam and Wolf Creek Bridge, the choice is clear. Wolf Creek Angler, Uncle Joe’s Oasis Bar and Grill and The Canyon Store provide everything you need from flies to food to fuel to night life. Keep an eye on the weather and when you see a break come discover for yourself all that Wolf Creek has to offer.

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Everything you need in Wolf Creek Montana

 

 

Mid Week Missouri River Fishing Report

Enjoying a brief January Thaw on the Missouri - Photo by Wolf Creek Angler

Enjoying a brief January Thaw on the Missouri – Photo by Wolf Creek Angler

It’s been a nice couple of days here on the Missouri by January standards and the river has been predictably busier with people taking advantage of warmer temps, calm winds and sunshine.

Cold and snow return tomorrow. Highs in the teens and night-time lows in the single or negative digits through the weekend with an 80% chance of snow tomorrow and a good chance of snow each day through Saturday. Sunday looks to be mostly sunny and cold and it looks like things warm up heading into next week.

I couldn’t resist the pull yesterday. Having not been out for quite a while it was a great day to do the Wolf Creek to Craig float and hit all the reliable winter runs.

No big changes to report. Slow water, anything pink and firebeads! Pink Amex, firebead pink soft hackle sow and pink lightning bugs all drew a favorable response.

There were quite a few midges on the water yesterday though I only saw a couple of sporadic rises but it won’t be long before there are swarms of midges and fish keying on them so it’s never a bad idea to have your dry-fly rig at the ready.

Only one other boat out there yesterday but plenty of wade anglers around. I like to float if I have time just so I can quickly get from spot to spot. If there is someone fishing the spot I want to fish I just float on past to the next one. The drawback of course is that you are committed and even on the nicer days like we’ve been having, once that sun goes away it gets cold quickly. Even so – if I have the time I would almost always rather float than do the walk/wade thing on the Missouri. The right cold weather clothing, a thermos of coffee, a thermos of hot soup and in extreme cases a propane heater or two go a long way in making your winter float an enjoyable experience.

If you haven’t experienced winter fishing on the MO you really should. We’ve got all the cold weather gear and all the winter nymphs and streamers you need and we’re more than happy to tell you exactly where to go to find the fish.

Keep your eye on the weather and do it yourself or book  a $400 full day float trip some time this winter. Dress appropriately and leave the hot soup,  hot coffee and heaters to us. Better yet, book a cozy bungalow for $99 and do a day with a guide and a day or two on your own.

Our bungalows are fully equipped with kitchens so you can cook your own meals.  If you prefer to eat out, The Oasis is currently serving breakfast, lunch and dinner Thursday – Monday from 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM.

Don’t miss a great opportunity to experience winter solitude on the Missouri.

Bidding Farewell to October

The lure of the Yellowstone - photo by Wolf Creek Angler

The lure of the Yellowstone – photo by Wolf Creek Angler

Fall Brown on the Yellowstone - photo by Wolf Creek Angler

Fall Brown on the Yellowstone – photo by Wolf Creek Angler

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Finally seeing the fall weather we’ve been hoping for these last few days as we close out October and prepare for what could be a very productive November on the Missouri .

Plenty of cloud cover, cooler temps and some precipitation in the forecast. Definitely BWO weather and the Streamer crowd is mobilized and ready for things to heat up out there.

We ventured to the Yellowstone on Thursday with high hopes of epic streamer action and while we had near perfect weather conditions it was a less-than epic day of streamer fishing. We got a fair amount of chases and did manage to boat several nice browns but nothing in the hog class. Regardless, there’s nothing quite like a fall day on the Stone and it’s always a good time hanging around Livingston for a night.

Meanwhile back on the MO it sounds like we had a couple of solid days out there. The winds have returned today and it’s likely going to be breezy all weekend with WSW winds sustained around 20 and gusting over 30. A chance of rain all weekend and perhaps some snow rolling in on Monday.

If you just can’t resist the thought of some windy, rainy days on the river we’ve got a couple of vacancies tonight and tomorrow. Off-Season rates start on Sunday and we’ve got vacancies a plenty from here on out so when the weather settles and you’re ready to hit the water and have miles of river virtually to yourself give us a call and book a room for $99/night + tax. Hordes of unemployed guides wandering around aimlessly as well so come on out and put them to work. We’re expecting a good November…possibly everything October didn’t turn out to be.  There could be some great dry-fly and streamer days ahead and the nymphing will be just fine as we settle into winter fishing mode on the Missouri.

Look no further than Wolf Creek when making your plans for late fall/winter fishing on the Missouri River.  A first-rate, full-service fly shop with great lodging accommodations, two bar/restaurants, the only gas station/convenience store between Helena and Cascade and all within minutes of Holter Dam and Wolf Creek Bridge. There’s NOBODY closer! We hope you make Wolf Creek and WCA your off-season Missouri River Fly Fishing destination.

The shop will close at 4 today for the WCA Staff Appreciation Party.

See you bright and early at 7 AM tomorrow morning.

Missouri River Fishing Report 2/27/15

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Cold and lonely on the Missouri right now. Not near as cold as some other parts of the country but cold enough to shut down the fishing for a while. We’re seeing highs in the 20’s and lows in the single digits for the forseeable future – no surprise for late February/early March in Montana but since we had grown accustomed to temps in the 40’s and 50’s and even into the 60’s over the past month it’s a little bit of a shock to the system.
It’s good for the long- term but we were sure enjoying the fishing and enjoying the business we were doing in the shop. Fishy weather will return soon enough – in the meantime enjoy the Montana winter!
We plan to be open our regular winter hours for the next couple of weeks (Wednesday-Saturday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm) but may opt out depending on what the weather is doing. If you are hardcore enough to fish in below freezing temps and you’re planning on a stop at Wolf Creek Angler give us a call first just to make sure we are around. Whether we’re in the shop or not we are ALWAYS open for lodging and guide trips. If you are planning to fish this weekend remember Saturday is the last day your 2014 fishing license is valid. 2015 licenses available at Wolf Creek Angler.

Speaking of licenses – don’t forget deer and elk permit applications are due on March 16th. Everything you need to know is right here;

http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting/licenses/buyApply/newDeadline/

licenses

Weekend Report

Valentine Sky at Holter Dam - photo by Wolf Creek Angler

Valentine Sky at Holter Dam – photo by Wolf Creek Angler

Lots of people out and about and enjoying the 60 degree weather yesterday but from what we’ve been hearing this morning things were on the slow side, at least between Holter Dam and the Dearborn launch. Sounds like a few fish being taken here and there but nothing like the reports from Thursday which was good to great for many and bordering on epic for some. I was not able to get out during the day on Thursday but I did walk in for an hour or so at last light and cleaned up with all but one fish coming on the pink firebead soft hackle sow.
It’s another April-esque weekend with lots of people around, full lodging, a couple of boat rentals out, a decent stack of shuttles to run and lots of bugs going out the door.

The day started on the cloudy side and they are calling for a chance of rain this afternoon but we are currently looking at sunshine and blue skies and 53 degrees. It’s a perfect day to spend on the water with your valentine.

A chance of snow tomorrow but still nice with a high of 43 and calm winds. Snow and a high of 36 for Presidents Day and then back to 40’s and 50’s later next week. You’ve got a couple of weeks left to take advantage of our February special. Book a full day guide trip at the $395 winter rate and get a night’s lodging in one of our bungalows for $59! Our guides have been out on the water getting things dialed in and they are ready to show you what an awesome winter fishery the Missouri can be.  Nymphing has of course been the most effective method of putting fish in the boat but streamers are having their moments as well and there are just enough fish rising to midges on a daily basis to make things interesting for the dry fly guys. Spend a day on the water with one of our expert guides and enjoy the solitude offered by the winter months. Your full day trip includes a delicious hot lunch and hot and cold beverages as well as all the flies and the use of any equipment you may need and transportation to and from the river. Take advantage of this great deal and enjoy the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having all month.

Not looking for a guided trip? That’s ok too – we’ve got rooms available for $99/night, each with it’s own full kitchen and bath. Rooms sleep up to four very comfortably. Wolf Creek is definitely the place to be for winter fishing on the Missouri with the only restaurant and the only gas station/convenience store between Helena and Cascade and since you will likely be fishing somewhere between Holter Dam and Craig this time of year why wouldn’t you stay at Wolf Creek Angler considering that we are closer to Holter Dam and Wolf Creek Bridge than ANYONE? We’ve got plenty of parking space for your boats and our shop has everything you need for fishing the Missouri including shuttles and the largest selection of Missouri River flies ever assembled under one roof in Wolf Creek Montana.

We hope to see you in Wolf Creek soon.

Wolf Creek Angler is your full service Missouri River Fly Shop - photo by Wolf Creek Angler

Wolf Creek Angler is your full service Missouri River Fly Shop – photo by Wolf Creek Angler

 

Friday Fishing Report

 

January Brown - photo by Wolf Creek Angler

January Brown – photo by Wolf Creek Angler

Late January streamer fishing on the MO - photo by Wolf Creek Angler

Late January streamer fishing on the MO – photo by Wolf Creek Angler

Fishing heated up yesterday, especially in the afternoon. It sounds like Holter to Wolf Creek is still on the slow side but nymphing and streamer fishing from Wolf Creek to Craig was as good for us as it’s been in a while.
Firebead soft hackle sow bugs were the nymphing ticket throughout the day, accounting for all but a couple of fish. Casne’s Pinkalicious and the Pink Firebead Sow also saw some action.
The real surprise of the day was the streamer bite. The Polar Leech continues to produce on the slow retrieve. We committed one shift to the streamer which produced three nice browns and a couple of other misses. I haven’t changed that streamer out in two weeks!
Sunny skies and breezy yesterday, just a few other boats around and a handful of wading anglers. Expect more of the same today, maybe with a little less breeziness. It looks like it could potentially be a perfect day to fish the Missouri – especially by January standards. There is snow in the forecast for the next several days with temps in the 30’s and low 40’s. Water temps are still holding at a cold 34 with flows at 4900. It’s shaping up to be a great year for winter fishing on the Missouri.
Lodging available for the weekend and don’t forget our winter special $395 full day guide trips. During the month of February book a guide trip and get a night’s lodging for $59. Our guides are amped up and ready to start putting you on some fish. Winter days on the MO can be awesome. Let us do all the work for you. Full day includes a hot lunch and hot and cold beverages. Worried about the weather? Don’t be. If you book your trip and the day arrives and it’s too cold or too snowy or too windy for your preference you are free to bag it with no cancellation penalty. It’s the nature of winter fishing – we get it!
Don’t forget to check out the Fly Fishing Film Tour in Helena tomorrow night at the Grandstreet Theater at 6pm.