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.

 

The Season has Begun

Sunshine, blue skies and well above average temps have us thinking spring fishing - photo by Wolf Creek Angler

Sunshine, blue skies and well above average temps have us thinking spring fishing – photo by Wolf Creek Angler

It’s been an exciting week at Wolf Creek Angler with the launch of our new web site yesterday and nice weather which has brought out the anglers and kept us busy in the shop. Our available lodging has been full all week and people have been in buying flies and gear and shuttles and renting boats and making it feel like the season has begun.
There were plenty of days in the teens and 20’s over the last month or two that I have to be honest, were more than a little lonely in the shop so it’s just nice to see people around again. It must be that even those who aren’t fishing are thinking about fishing because the phones have been busy with people booking their dates for spring and summer and it’s already shaping up to be a great season.
I even got to get out and fish a couple of times myself earlier in the week. It had been too long and it was great to hook into some fish again but being out there and enjoying the sunshine and the river and hanging out with a couple of WCA guides has got me recharged and ready for the season. Bring on spring! We’re enjoying temps near 50 today with abundant sunshine and it looks like its going to be nice all weekend and on into next week so get out here and fish. We will have lodging available again starting Monday but expect it will fill for most of the week so don’t wait too long to book.
As I mentioned we are very excited about the new web site and we hope you will take a minute and check it out. One of the cool things on it is our Instagram feed which you will see at the bottom of all of the pages. We encourage you to tag us in your fish pics #wolfcreekangler which will allow us to see your pics and to share them on our feed.
Spring shipments are starting to trickle in and while we haven’t been able to bring in everything we want to offer you we are definitely headed in the right direction and we’re excited to have some great new products on the way from Nautilus Reels, Outdoor Research, Smith Optics, Strike Foundry and more. Don’t hesitate to let us know what products you would like to see at Wolf Creek Angler.
We hope to see you in the shop this weekend. Plenty of pink stuff, firebeads in assorted flavors and Rainbow Warriors for everyone.

Missouri River Fishing Report, January 20th – guest blog from Wolf Creek Angler Guide Extraordinaire Jim Murray

Evening falls on a perfect January day on the Missouri - photo by Wolf Creek Angler

Evening falls on a perfect January day on the Missouri – photo by Wolf Creek Angler

Well the moon, the sun, the stars, and our schedules finally aligned and Jason and I were able to get out on the river and do some fishing. We couldn’t have asked for better conditions, as we were greeted with temps in the thirties, a little bit of sun, and very little W. A perfect January day.

A polar leech stripped SLOW is producing - photo by Wolf Creek Angler

A polar leech stripped SLOW is producing – photo by Wolf Creek Angler

With prime conditions, we headed into our day with high expectations, and the river did not disappoint. Nymphing was the name of the game yesterday, although Jason caught this sweet brown slow stripping a Polar Leech streamer. Did I mention a slow retrieve? S-L-O-W. Do it and be rewarded!

Hot flies included: Rainbow Warrior, Rainbow Czech, Pink Lightning Bug, Pink Scud, (notice a trend), Wire Worm, and a black Zebra Midge. We ran deep leash rigs and found them in the slow, deep runs, although we did manage to pull a couple out of some faster “summertime” runs as well.

All in all, the Missouri is fishing great, and figures to only get better as winter turns to Spring. Pick a day with some decent weather and get out here!

WCA is open Wed-Sat during the winter for all your Missouri River needs. Lodging available seven days a week. Stop in for a cup of the best coffee in Wolf Creek and say Hi!

Pink anything deep and slow - they are where they're supposed to be - photo by Wolf Creek Angler

Pink anything deep and slow – they are where they’re supposed to be – photo by Wolf Creek Angler

January Thaw

Launches are snowy and icy, use extreme caution.

Launches are snowy and icy, use extreme caution.

Daytime temps have been back in the fishable range for the last few days and it looks like this trend is going to hold at least through the first part of next week. There’s been a little traffic around but even so, if you are going to come out and fish you will likely have things pretty much to yourself.
The launches at the dam, Wolf Creek and Craig are not in the best shape so please use caution if you plan to float.
Not much has changed on the bug front. Pink stuff, firebeads, pt’s, rainbow czechs’s etc. fished deep and slow. You can certainly spend some time experimenting to see what’s working best but part of what we like about winter fishing is leaving the rigs alone. The fish are there in that slow deep water and generally aren’t overly selective. The challenge is to put the bugs right in front of them because with water temps holding in the 34 – 36 range, they aren’t going to spend much energy moving for the food train.
Things have been pretty quiet in the canyon as you might expect but a little sunshine and a few ticks up on the thermometer make a world of difference and we expect a few folks will be out and about on the MO this week keeping that dreaded cabin fever at bay. We’ve still got lodging available for the weekend but I expect that will change by tomorrow so don’t wait too long if you want a room in Wolf Creek. The shop is open Wednesday through Saturday from 8 am – 4 pm (or thereabouts) and we’re always open for lodging and guide trips. If you are planning on coming out to fish the MO at Holter Dam or Wolf Creek Bridge remember there is nobody closer. We’ve got everything you need for your day on the water from shuttles to drift boat rentals to cold weather gear to the largest selection of Missouri River flies ever assembled under one roof in Wolf Creek Montana.

Some of our favorite winter nymph patterns. Top - purple lightning bug. 2nd row Rainbow Weight Fly with firebead. 3rd row left to right pink san juan worm, Rainbow Czech, Firebead Soft Hackle Sow Bug, Keller's Payczech Rainbow. 4th Row Firebead Rainbow Czech, Pink Scud, Tungsten Tailwater Sowbug. 5th row Casne's Pinkalicious, Rainbow Warrior, Firebead Pink Ray. 6th row PInk Lightning Bug, Black Tungsten Zebra Midge, Purple Tungsten Zebra Midge. All available at Wolf Creek Angler. Photo - Wolf Creek Angler

Weekend Report

Blue skies and sunshine in Wolf Creek today. photo by Wolf Creek Angler

Blue skies and sunshine in Wolf Creek today. photo by Wolf Creek Angler

 

The MO will be fishable through Sunday before the temps plummet to single digits and below on Sunday night and remain there through Wednesday. High 20’s today and tomorrow with light and variable winds and a chance of snow. We could see several inches of new snow beginning Saturday night and into Sunday. I drove the Holter Dam to Craig stretch this morning and didn’t see a soul. The sun has since started to shine and we’ve had a few brave souls stop in for bugs so you may not have the whole thing to yourself but I would bet crowds will not be a problem.

Nymphing is the game right now. Firebeads, pink stuff, san juan worms, zebra midges, sows and Rainbow Czechs are all producing. We’ve had our best luck in the slow deep winter water the last few times out but fish are being found elsewhere also so fish the water you like with the bugs you like and you should do fine. We haven’t done much with streamers lately but polar leeches in copper and copper/olive continue to be hot sellers, at least by winter standards.

We will definitely be in the shop tomorrow – at least for the morning but will be closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. As long as things start to warm up we will be back in the shop on Wednesday. We’re always open for lodging and guide trips so just give us a call at (406)235-4350 if you are interested in either. We’ve got some great after-Christmas deals now through New Year’s Eve and don’t forget we’re offering one free night of lodging when you book your 2015 guide trip and one night’s lodging by January 1st. Offer excludes the months of June and July. Full day guide trips for $395 while the snow flies.

See you in the shop and on the water.

White Christmas in Wolf Creek. photo by Wolf Creek Angler.

White Christmas in Wolf Creek. photo by Wolf Creek Angler.

 

 

 

Weekend Report

 

Missouri River Winter Fishing Headquarters in Wolf Creek Montana - photo by Wolf Creek Angler

Missouri River Winter Fishing Headquarters in Wolf Creek Montana – photo by Wolf Creek Angler

It’s feeling like spring these last couple of days with temps pushing into the 40’s and it’s supposed to continue through the coming week. Definitely worse ways to spend December days than fishing the Missouri. A little more traffic around today, though not as much as you might think considering.

As promised I did manage to get out on Thursday for a quick solo run from Wolf Creek to Craig. Aside from four wade anglers I saw not a soul. I ran a bunch of winter bugs to see if I could find anything that was RED HOT. The closest I came was the firebead   wire worm which got the majority of the eats but I did coax a few into taking a pink lightning bug and also had a couple takes on the rainbow czech. Each of these and many more available now at Wolf Creek Angler.

All in all it was a pretty productive couple of hours. I spoke with the wade guys Thursday night who were staying with us and they also did well with the firebead wire worms. The wire worm craze was apparently short-lived however as the same guys fished the same water on Friday morning and didn’t get a single take on the worm. They loaded up on rainbow czechs and I didn’t see them again for what it’s worth.Bottom line – winter fishing is on. Winter bugs, winter water, winter techniques are all coming into play right now. The weather couldn’t be better.

The largest selection of flies ever assembled under one roof in Wolf Creek Montana - photo by Stefan McLeod

The largest selection of flies ever assembled under one roof in Wolf Creek Montana – photo by Stefan McLeod

We are full through Monday but will have vacancies during the week and into next weekend.Great deals on all kinds of great fly fishing gear now through Christmas Eve and don’t forget WCA gift cards good for anything we sell! Why not treat yourself to an early Christmas present and book a guide trip this week while the weather is nice. Winter special rates of $395 for a full day while the snow flies! Rooms for under a hundred bucks a night.

Now through January 1st book a guide trip and a night’s lodging for next season and we’ll throw in a second night’s lodging for free.  Our normal winter hours are 8 am – 4 pm Wednesday – Saturday but if we’re seeing 40’s all week you will find us here every day but Sunday. Fishing Dam to Craig? Remember you need go no further than Wolf Creek. We’ve got you covered with winter bugs, shuttles, RO drift boat rentals, rooms and much much more.

Hope to see you around the shop and on the water this week.

Go Griz!

Welcome December!

The Christmas Season has arrived. Shop Wolf Creek Angler for all the fly fishers on your list.

The Christmas Season has arrived. Shop Wolf Creek Angler for all the fly fishers on your list.

Another month in the books as we approach the end of 2014. November dragged on a bit with some extreme cold spells which kept folks off the river but which kept us busy trying to keep the water flowing at Wolf Creek Angler.

The break in the action gave us time to get out and do some non-fishing related things as well. I was happy to shoot a mule deer early in the month and even happier that Fred was still here at that time to come out and help me drag it! I attended my first “Brawl of the Wild” in Missoula a couple of weekends back and had a great time watching the Griz beat up on the Cats and was back there last weekend to watch Montana roll to victory in the first round of the FCS playoffs. Fun stuff!

The BWO’s we thought might show up in November didn’t but the nymphing certainly had its moments and the streamer bite was respectable depending on the day. I was only on the water a handful of days in November doing a couple of guide days and one or two days on my own. For the most part I was pretty content to enjoy the view of the river from the comfort of my warm vehicle as I drove the corridor taking pictures of winter’s beauty. It’s looking like another warm up towards the end of this week so I will make it a point to get out there and get you a first hand report of what’s happening. Judging by the bugs we’ve been selling the winter game is on. Pink is in and with the water temps now down in the 38 degree range it’s time to start working the slow deep runs and getting your bugs down to the fish. The colder that water gets the less likely the fish are to move so it is critical to put the bugs right in front of them and to check every slight stop/drop of the indicator as the strikes tend to get pretty subtle this time of year.

Thank you to everyone who came out for our Black Friday Sale. We will continue to have great deals on all kinds of gear through Christmas Eve. Sonic Pro Waders from Redington, St Croix Bank Robber and High Stick Drifter rods, cold-weather gear from Outdoor Research, Fishpond Nomad boat nets, awesome WCA SIMMS logo gear, all kinds of tools and accessories and of course, the largest fly selection ever assembled under one roof in Wolf Creek Montana. We’ve got something for all of the fishy folks on your list.

Wolf Creek Angler Gift Cards are available in any amount, are re-loadable and can be used on EVERYTHING.

Wolf Creek Angler Gift Cards are available in any amount, are re-loadable and can be used on EVERYTHING.

Can’t decide what to buy them – how about a Wolf Creek Angler gift card good for anything from merchandise to shuttles to lodging to rentals to guide trips.  Our cards are available in any amount and are re-loadable. Now through Christmas Eve purchase a gift card in the amount of $100 or more and receive a second $10 gift card for yourself.

We have a couple of vacancies for the weekend warm-up so give us a call at the shop today to book your room. We are open Wednesday-Saturday 8:00 AM – 4 PM and will usually be found here any day other than Sunday that the temperature is over 30 degrees.  Likewise, we might not be found here any day the temperature is below zero. Call ahead just to make sure. (406)235-4350. Don’t forget winter lodging rates of $99/night and $395 guide trips while the snow flies.

Thursday Report

Dog days of Fall. With Fred back in Michigan for the winter Jake has been spending a lot of time in the shop and on the water with me. He's a great fishing partner though his rowing skills are lacking... photo by Wolf Creek Angler

Dog days of Fall. With Fred back in Michigan for the winter Jake has been spending a lot of time in the shop and on the water with me. He’s a great fishing partner though his rowing skills are lacking… photo by Wolf Creek Angler

The weather couldn’t be better for November fishing on the Missouri. We’re looking at cloudy skies and 40’s for the next couple of days before we drop back to colder temps early next week. It doesn’t appear as though we’re headed back into single digits for a while but this week definitely seems like the favorable weather window. Could be on the breezy side but we’ll definitely take it.

I was out Tuesday looking for fish up and doing some nymphing. No fish up – a few to hand on nymphs – not a great day but certainly nice to be on the water after spending all of last week battling frozen plumbing.

Matt was out on Monday and did pretty well on pink stuff so I ran with that and ended up having most of my hook-ups on a pink lightning bug though the tailwater sow was getting some attention as well.

Streamers would be a good call today. They’re a good call any day. Polar Leeches in olive and copper, Kreelex in brown and gold, Sculpin Sparkle Minnows, Circus Peanuts in tan, Dirty Hippies in brown…the options are limitless. Stop by the shop on your way to the water and we’ll get you set up with everything you need.

I had the Wolf Creek to Craig stretch all to myself on Tuesday but expect some traffic out there for the next few days. We’ve got a full house here for the weekend so I know of at least a few folks who will definitely be out there.

We’re open at 8:00 am for all of your Missouri River fly fishing needs. Bugs, shuttles, drift boat rentals, lodging and much more and we’re right on your way! We’ll be here all day today and tomorrow and will be here to get you going on Saturday morning before we head off to Missoula for the Brawl of the Wild. The shop is closed on Sundays for the winter but we’re always open for lodging and guide trips. We will be closed on Thanksgiving but will see you bright and early on Black Friday with great deals on most everything. Wolf Creek Angler gift cards make the perfect gift and can be used for merchandise, lodging, shuttles and guide trips. Who wouldn’t want a $100 worth of shuttles? We’re happy to send gift cards anywhere in the world so while we’d love to see you in the shop you can save yourself the trip and get all your Christmas shopping done from wherever your are with a call to us at (406)235-4350.

See you in the shop and on the water.

~Jason O.

Wolf Creek Bridge. Cloudy November days are perfect for streamer fishing the Missouri River - photo by Wolf Creek Angler

Wolf Creek Bridge. Cloudy November days are perfect for streamer fishing the Missouri River – photo by Wolf Creek Angler

SECRET SEASON – Wolf Creek may be Montana’s best kept winter fishing secret…

The Missouri River is a year-round fishery - photo by Wolf Creek Angler

The Missouri River is a year-round fishery – photo by Wolf Creek Angler

We’re just a couple days into a bit of a cold snap which has brought with it some much needed winter precipitation but it looks like a warm up underway for the remainder of the week.  It doesn’t take long to grow tired of the cold and while we appreciate the fact that many love Montana for the winter activities it offers, we love to fish. We love to fish any and every month of the year and it just so happens that we have a year-round fishery here on the Missouri River.

We love the summer crowds and the hustle and bustle on and off the river but we also love the solitude afforded us by the colder months. Traffic on the river is minimal but the fishing can be downright spectacular depending on the day. The first time I fished the Missouri was a February day with temps in the high 30’s and lots of sunshine and we had one of the best days of winter fishing I’ve ever had anywhere.

Winter nymphing is nearly always productive on the MO and the late fall and early winter can offer some of the best streamer fishing you will have on this river. Add to this the the ever-present midge hatches offering dry fly fishing opportunities and you have everything you could want no matter what your game.

Well into the winter fishing season, we’ve entered the time of year when nymph selection is a no-brainer. Firebeads, pink anything, sowbugs, lightning bugs…you know the drill. I should spend more time trying different patterns out in the winter but since cold hands are kind of  part of the deal and since one double nymph rig often works for weeks at a time, I usually leave things alone for as long as I can.

Some of our favorite winter nymph patterns. Top - purple lightning bug. 2nd row Rainbow Weight Fly with firebead. 3rd row left to right pink san juan worm, Rainbow Czech, Firebead Soft Hackle Sow Bug, Keller's Payczech Rainbow. 4th Row Firebead Rainbow Czech, Pink Scud, Tungsten Tailwater Sowbug. 5th row Casne's Pinkalicious, Rainbow Warrior, Firebead Pink Ray. 6th row PInk Lightning Bug, Black Tungsten Zebra Midge, Purple Tungsten Zebra Midge. All available at Wolf Creek Angler. Photo - Wolf Creek Angler

Some of our favorite winter nymph patterns. Top – purple lightning bug. 2nd row Rainbow Weight Fly with firebead. 3rd row left to right pink san juan worm, Rainbow Czech, Firebead Soft Hackle Sow Bug, Keller’s Payczech Rainbow, Hot Bead Wire Worm.  4th Row Firebead Rainbow Czech, Pink Scud, Tungsten Tailwater Sowbug. 5th row Casne’s Pinkalicious, Rainbow Warrior, Firebead Pink Ray. 6th row PInk Lightning Bug, Black Tungsten Zebra Midge, Purple Tungsten Zebra Midge. All available at Wolf Creek Angler. Photo – Wolf Creek Angler

Wolf Creek is your year-round Missouri River fishing destination - photo Wolf Creek Angler

Wolf Creek is your year-round Missouri River fishing destination – photo Wolf Creek Angler

 

So where to stay?

There is a common misconception that EVERYTHING shuts down in Craig and Wolf Creek once winter sets in. This is simply not the case. While things are quiet you can still find everything you need from flies to shuttles to boat rentals to lodging to dining…it’s all right here in Wolf Creek. With Shotgun Annie’s open for food and drinks,  The Oasis serving up plenty of strong winter libations,  the only gas station and only grocery store between Helena and Cascade (The Canyon Store) and Wolf Creek Angler, your 12-month full service fly shop, guide service and lodging operation you need go no further than Wolf Creek. And since most of the winter fishing on the Missouri River takes place between Holter Dam and Craig, by staying in Wolf Creek you are just minutes from both the dam and Wolf Creek Bridge launch sights.

Winter really is the secret season on the Missouri and while there are some hardcore anglers who will fish in single digits we prefer 30 and above. Fortunately we see a fair amount of these 30 plus degree days over the course of the winter so watch the weather and find time to come fish the Mighty Mo this winter. We typically fill our weekend lodging up by mid-week when the forecast is for nice weather so keep an eye on the 10-day and don’t wait. We understand that the weather can change quickly and we wouldn’t expect you to fish through a polar vortex so don’t worry about cancellation fees for lodging or guide trips due to cold weather. Book your trips and worry not – we get it! Take advantage of our off-season lodging rates ($99/night) and guide trips for $400 while the snow flies. Better yet, book your winter guide trip and lodging special for just $500. That’s a full day Missouri River guide trip for one or two anglers AND  two night’s premium lodging for just $500. It’s the best deal on the Missouri River Hands Down. Nobody…and I mean NOBODY can touch this one.

 

We look forward to seeing you in Wolf Creek this winter.

The Canyon Store is the only gas station/convenience store between Helena and Cascade and has an awesome Montana Microbrew selection.

Winter Solitude on the MO’