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Fly Fishing On The Missouri River In
The Missouri River is formed by the waters of the
Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin Rivers. It is a huge river,
even in drought years. During the wet years when there
is a heavy snow pack, the Missouri River is a giant. It is
probably the only stream in Montana where a drought
year possibly provides an advantage to anglers. Dams
along the upper part of the Missouri keep the water cool
and provide its excellent trout fishing. Fly fishing the
Missouri River isn't exactly for beginners. It can test the
skills of the best anglers, but it can pay big dividends.
The big river flows through wide-open country. Except
for the spring runoff, it flows at a rather slow pace. The
runoff is difficult to predict. The rivers water flows from
melting snow from several large mountain ranges, so the
snow pack can drastically change its flows.
The Missouri River starts near the town of Three Forks
Montana. It's a huge river, over seven hundred miles
long. It it damed at many locations. About two-hundred
miles of its total length consist of lakes. For the most
part, the Missouri River flows through valleys. There are
areas of forest and low mountain ranges bordering the
river but its banks mostly consist of agricultural fields
and pastures. There are a few areas that have some
cottonwood trees along the banks but that's about it.
After the Missouri is formed by the confluence of three
rivers, it flows over Totson Dam. This dam does little for
the trout. It's a top water drainage and the warmest
water is what flows over the dam. The next section of
river is approximately twenty miles long before flowing
into the Canyon Ferry Reservoir. Canyon Ferry
Reservoir is a good still water destination. It's a rather
large, wide body of water in a large wide open valley.
From Three Forks to the Canyon Ferry Reservoir trout
exist but are not very plentiful. Given all the water in
other nearby Montana Rivers, we consider this section
hardly worth fishing unless your a local angler and have
lots of time to explore it. Most of the trout found in this
section move out of Canyon Ferry Reservoir at certain
times of the year. Most of the trout are browns and some
very large ones exist, but the fishing opportunities are
only fair at best.
Just below the Canyon Ferry Dam, the Missouri enters
Hauser Lake. The Hauser Dam tailwater provides the
first real stream fly fishing opportunity on the Missouri
River. It's a short section of tailwater, only three miles
long, but well worth the effort it takes to access it. The
Hauser tailwater flows into Holter Lake formed by the
This short section of river is quite wide and the flows are
usually very fast making fishing difficult at times. Most
anglers wade it as opposed to using a drift boat due to
its short length.
Missouri River Montana
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Photo Courtesy of David Knapp Photography
Rainbows and brown trout exist but the
majority are rainbows. The trout average a
large size. Most of the fishing is done just
below the Hauser Dam using streamers.
When the flows are right, anglers fish further
downstream. There are sections of deep,
fast runs and long riffles and dry fly fishing
can be good at times.
In most anglers opinion, the Holter Dam
provides the best fly fishing opportunities on
the Missouri River. It's cold water discharge
provides thirty miles of good, fly fishing
opportunities. The river holds a very good
population of trout. Access is excellent from
the dam to Cascade.
This section is by far the most popular
section to fish, mostly due to the easy
access but also the large trout. They can be
very selective and are often difficult to catch.
Don't expect to fish by yourself. There are
usually plenty of anglers both wading and
drifting the river.
You can catch trout from the Missouri below
Holter Dam year-round.
The weather is cold most winter days in
Montana but the fishing is good because of
the constant water temperature of the
Spring time can be good if you miss the
affects of the runoff.
Fly Fishing Guide to the Missouri
Fly fishing the Missouri River tailwaters is
quite different from fly fishing most trout
streams because the river is very large,
extremely clear and smooth flowing.
The river is full of aquatic plants and
appears to be somewhat like a huge spring
creek. Its trout are large and can be very
selective to hatches. You could call them
picky and you could call the fishing
"technical" fishing. The trout are not easily
fooled but they are plentiful and can be
taken by anglers that are careful with their
presentations. It is a stream where large
trout can be caught on small flies. It is a
stream where dry fly fishing is very good and
for most of the entire year.
Although there are four tailwaters on the
upper portion of the Missouri River, the most
popular and probably the best tailwater is
below Holter Dam near Craig, Montana. The
river can be fished from the bank, waded
and fished from various types of boats
including drift boats, canoes and pontoon
type boats. The stream can be accessed on
both sides of the river below Holter Dam.
The Missouri River has some very large
rainbow trout. They average about 16
inches but we have seen them caught over
20 inches. They claim that they are over
4000 trout per mile and we don't doubt it at
all. All the trout are wild and all of them will
test your skills to the utmost. They can still
be caught provided you do a few things
right. The prove the point, I meet a man on
the Ruby River from Washington D.C., that
claimed he caught large rainbows on
Parachute Adams on the Missouri River. I
didn't know whether or not he was telling the
truth until I ran into him there a week later.
He caught three all over 16 inches while I
watched him fish. I tried it just upstream from
him and couldn't catch the first one. When
he left, I tried it where he was fishing and still
couldn't catch one on the same fly he was
using. It really had me bugged.
The river has few riffles and runs. Most of it
runs smooth and it is of course, normally
very clear.The key is the presentation. Not
just a drag free drift but also, making very
sneaky presentations with a minimum
number of cast.
When the flows are right, some anglers
fish it from tube floats. It's flows are smooth
but sometimes tricky. Good presentations
are a must.
Not far below the dam and bridge, the river
flows through a small, short canyon
section. It flows through a valley below the
short canyon section below the Wolf Creek
Access Sites. The mighty Missouri enters a
wide valley flanked by low elevation
mountain ranges before it reaches the
plains. The Dearborn River enters the
Missouri in this section. The condition of
the water downstream of the Dearborn
confluence often depends on the water
from the Dearborn River.
The water downstream of Cascade
becomes marginal trout water because the
river slows down, widens out and become
warmer in the Summer. The rainbows
gradually disappear but the browns exist a
few more miles downstream.
You can also spot trout eating and often
rising to the surface. If you will take the time
to skim the surface and see what they are
eating, you can usually match it and catch
plenty of trout.
The Trico hatch runs for a long time and is
one of the largest ones we have ever seen
on any stream. It is a tough hatch to fish, but
fish can be taken once you get everything
down right. When that happens, nothing
could be more rewarding. We have taken a
couple close to 18 inch rainbows on the
Trico hatch using 7x tippet and #20 flies.
That is something else.
One thing that can frustrate you, is that you
can be wading along maybe thirty feet from
the bank, and start spotting rising fish out in
the middle of the river. When you work you
way near enough to reach them, you can
turn around and see risers behind you rising
where you left from. That means one thing.
You have spooked the trout with your
presentations or you are using the wrong fly.
All of the river below Holter Dam isn't like a
huge spring creek. There is a section of
rough, fast water with large rocks and
boulders. There are some riffles and runs in
other places, so the entire river is actually
The section below the dam, where the water
is smooth, has a gravel bottom and
averages from one to three feet deep. The
large trout are often very shallow, so you
don't have to wade out in the stream very
far. In fact, that may be a big mistake.
Trout can also be caught on streamers and
nymphs. Anglers also use scuds, San Juan
worms and caddis larvae imitations. The
river also has plenty of brown trout that
range from 12 to 24 inches. Often streamers
and nymphs work best for them.
Missouri River Hatches and Trout
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and
nymphs, not guess work. We base fly
suggestions on imitating the most plentiful
and most available insects and other foods
at the particular time you are fishing. Unlike
the generic fly shop trout flies, we have
specific imitations of all the insects in the
Missouri River and in all stages of life that
are applicable to fishing. If you want to fish
better, more realistic trout flies, have a
much higher degree of success, give us a
call. We not only will help you with
selections, you will learn why, after trying
Perfect Flies, 92% of the thousands of our
customers will use nothing else.
If I had to pick one aquatic insect to imitate
the entire year on the Missouri River, it
would be the Blue-winged Olives. Of course
there are several different species of them
that hatch for most of the year. They
usually start around the middle of March
and last until about middle of June. Some
species are bi-brooded and will hatch again
in the Fall. Other species, along with the
bi-brooded species, start again about the
first of September and hatch until the
middle of November.
Western Green Drakes hatch from about
the middle of May through June, but the
hatch is usually sparse. The Little Western
Green Drakes, or Flavs, hatch during July
and August, but it is also a sparse hatch.
Pale Morning Duns hatch from about the
middle of June to the middle of August.
These hatches can be fairly good and
consistent. From about the first of
September into the first week or two of
October, you will find a few Mahogany
One of the better hatches that occurs on
the Missouri River are the Tricos. They
start about the first of July and last through
the month of August. These hatches can
be very prolific.
There are many species of caddisflies that
hatch on the Missouri. Probably the most
plentiful species are those called Spotted
Sedges. They hatch during the months of
June and July. You also have a Little Black
Caddis, or Brachycentrus hatch that occurs
in May and again, during from the middle of
July through August. The first hatch is
usually called the Mother's Day Hatch.
Little Short-horned Sedges, which are
the saddle cased caddis, hatch from
about the first of June through July. In
October and November, you will find
hatches of October Caddis. This can be
a very good hatch to fish on the Missouri
Green Sedges hatch from about the first
of July through September. Imitations of
their larva stage of life, called Rock
Worms, can be a good fly to use anytime
of the year.
Scuds and Sowbugs are very plentiful
and fish can be caught using imitations of
both just about anytime of the year. Our
Perfect Fly imitations are the best you
can buy along with just about any other
insect you will find on the river. Crayfish
are also plentiful. Imitations of them will
catch the large brown and large rainbow
There are also plenty of the various
species of baitfish and sculpin in the
river. Streamers that imitate them are
effective anytime during the season, but
are most effective when it is near dark or
very early in the morning. They also work
good if the water has any color to it, but
that is rather rare.
Terrestrials are very important starting
about the first of July and lasting through
September. Grasshoppers are very
abundant because the river is
surrounded by hay fields in most areas.
Hoppers are very, very plentiful. Ants and
beetles also work at times, so don't forget
As alway, we recommend our "Perfect
Flies". Simply put, they are the best flies
you can buy. They are not only the most
realistic imitations of the insects, they are
the most effective in catching trout. If you
haven't already done so, we hope you
will give them a try.
The cool water releases keep the fishing in
great shape through the summer months.
Fall is an excellent time to fish the
Thumbnails: Click to enlarge
Thumbnails: Click to enlarge
Headlines: Trout are being
caught in good numbers. There
are some good hatches taking
place. The stream can be waded
along the banks in a few places.
Drift boats and even float tubers
are catching trout. Keep up with
the latest info by clicking on the
above link to our weekly updated
Missouri River Map
01/05/16 The Big Missouri is in great shape compared to its lower end hundreds of miles
downstream in Missouri. Stream levels are actually good in Montana. You can catch trout all
winter long due to the constant water temperature of the tailwater discharge. We
recommend fishing near the dam in the coldest weather. Midges and Winter stoneflies are
the main insects yu should be imitating.
01/12/16 The river is in as good of shape as it ever gets this time of the new year. Fish near
the dam. The further you get downstream, the colder the water will be. It is about 39 degrees
at the bottom discharge. Midges and Winter stonefly nymphs will work good. So with the
White Belly sculpin streamer since the skies will be cloudy about all the time.
01/26/16 The weather isn't as cold ad one would expect. This makes little difference to the
trout in the tailwater of Holter Dam but it does to the guys in a drift boat or wading. The flows
are good by the way, and little change is expected in them. Winter stoneflies are hatching
and of course, midges is the staple. When it is cloudy, try the Brown Sculpin streamer. It is
getting some of the big ones.
02/02/16 Stream levels are good and the weather not bad, just normal wintertime weather.
Some snow is in the forecast but that just means there is some cloud cover and good midge
hatches. Both Cream midges and red or blood midges are hatching. Winter stoneflies are
also hatching. Fish as near the dam as legal and for the first two miles downstream for the
02/16/16 It feels like spring but it is really still smack in the middle of Winter. It makes it nice
on those who enjoy getting out on the big river. Midges are hatching good and we got one
report recently of some trout caught on the surface feeding on midges. Both reds and
creams are hatching. There are still some winter stoneflies but in the fast, shallower water.
02/23/16 We are still recommending fishing near the dam, because the water is still colder
downstream in spite of the nice warm weather taking place. Midges, both cream and reds, or
blood midges, are hatching. Winter stoneflies are hatching in some sections. The weather
should remain good until at least this weekend.
03/01/16 The weather is very warm for the first day of March. It tends to melt snow along the
banks and in the little tributaries and creeks that feed the middle and lower sections. This
stains the water some, but for the most part, it remains clear. Midges, little Blue-winged
olives and winter stoneflies are hatching. Sculpin streamer are good flies to use in the
03/15/16 The big river is back to normal. Actually, it hasn't changed much, just the weather
which has little effect on the fish. Midges, blood or red, and cream midges are hatching, and
providing the best opportunity for anglers. The discharges and stream levels remain in good
shape, and we still think the best location is near the Holter dam tailwater discharge.
04/02/16 The mighty Missouri is in great shape for the end of the month of March. The
weather forecast for the coming week has little rain or snow and warm temperatures. It is a
great time to be out on the water. Big trout will be eating little tiny bugs. Midges and little
BWOs are the main insects you will need to imitate. Sculpin streamers will catch big trout
under low light conditions.
04/19/16 Discharges and stream levels are good and the weather getting much warmer. The
water is warming a little but mostly in the middle and lower sections of the river. Midges and
little Blue-winged olives are still the main insects to imitate. Little Black Caddis should start
hatching very soon.
05/03/16 The nice warm weather of last week is over and things are returning back to a
more normal weather pattern on the Missouri. The weather has little to no effect on the
water close to the dams at the two tailwaters. It does affect it some in the lower reaches of
the tailwater. This is going to be the situation until the end of runoff. Midges and little BWOs,
will continue to be the only insects hatching.
05/17/16 The big Missouri is flowing high and strong. The discharges below Holter are stong
and likely to remain that way for some time to lower the lakes. There was a lot of melting
snow from early season runoff in the watershed. There is a lot of rain in the forecat this
week, and the discharges are likely to remain heavy. The water is slightly stained. Little
Black Caddis are hatching in the lower river.
05/31/16 The river is high and dirty, with Spring runoff in all its tributaries and headwaters. In
addition, to add insult to injury, it is raining every day. The runoff and high water levels will
likely continue for the next several days. At this time there is little to no fly fishing opportunity
on the Missouri. Keep checking back with us and we will be letting you know as soon as
06/14/16 From the looks of the discharges, you would think the runoff is over, but it isn't. We
do think it will end earlier than normal this year. It started earlier than normal. The river is in
good shape and one of our customers caught some nice bows this past week. Streamers
and nymph rigs are working. The water is stained in some areas.
06/20/16 The Missouri is in good shape in all sections. The water below Holter Dam is
producing some big rainbows for one of our customers. He is using the Brown Sculpin
streamers. Hatches should really pick up this coming week. The water levels are down and
the water mostly clear. There are a lot of caddis hatching, including Green Sedges and
Spotted Sedges. There are some little short-horned sedges as well.
06/27/16 Low discharge have provided anglers some very good opportunities to catch trout
this past week. There will be some good cloud cover this coming week as the forecast is
calling for rain every day but tomorrow. The caddisfly egg laying activity in the late afternoon
is providing some good action. Pale Morning duns are hatching in the lower end of the river
07/05/16 The river continues to be in very good shape for this time of the year. The
discharges from the dams have been low and stream levels are allowing anglers some
opportunity to wade in some places. There are a lot of insects hatching and the weather
forecast for the coming week looks great. Our customers reported catching some very nice
rainbows this past week. It is a great time to be fishing the Missouri.
07/12/16 The Missouri is in good shape in all sections. The discharges at the dams and
resulting stream levels are good. There is a chance of rain everyday for the next week, but it
will mostly be scattered showers and some thunderstorms. This could change the levels, so
be sure to check them. Lot of insects are hatching with the main ones being the Pale
Morning duns and Spotted sedges.
07/19/16 Our customers are sending in some good reports. They are catching plenty of
rainbows and some rather large. There are lot of insects hatching including three species of
caddisflies, and lot of Pale Morning duns. The best time to fish is late in the day but few
anglers are doing so. Most are stopping way to early.
07/26/16 The river is in good shape in all sections. The flows and discharges are good and
allow for wading in many places. The hatches are still going strong, especially the Pale
Morning Duns, Spotted and Green Sedges, little Yellow stoneflies and others. The area is
surrounded by a lot of hay fields and that means a lot of grass hoppers. Terrestrials will
soon be a big factor.
08/02/16 This is one of the better destinations at this time. Many Montana streams have
Hoot Owl restrictions in place meaning you cannot fish after 2:00 PM. The Missouri's
tailwaters remain cool during the summer. There are lots of Pale Morning duns and two
species of caddisflies hatching. Customers are sending in some very good reports.
08/09/16 The Missouri is one of the best destinations in Montana at this time, due to the low
water and high temperatures of the freestone streams. The section below Holter is the best
bet and in good shape. Discharges and stream levels are normal and there are plenty of
PMDs and caddisflies hatching. Terrestrials are also working good.
09/23/16 The section below Holter dam is one of the best destinations you could select at
this time of the season. The water is in good shape, with good discharge and stream levels.
There are some very large rainbows being caught and some from the surface. Anglers are
wading, fishing from tube floats and drift boats of all types. Fish the upper section of the
09/30/16 he big river below Holter is in great shape and our customers are catching some
big rainbows. There are Mahogany duns, Blue-winged olive olives, October caddis and
other insects hatching. They are also doing good with sculpin streamers early and late.
Hopper fished close to the banks along the hayfield is also catching a lot of trout. It is a
great time to be fishing the river.
10/12/16 Few anglers are fishing and conditions are excellent. The warm weather and cloud
cover is ideal for some big Blue-winged olive and Mahogany dun hatches. October caddis
are still hatching as well. The Brown sculpin will get the big pre-spawn brown trout as well as
some of the 18 inch rainbows as well.
10/19/16 The discharges from Holter are low and the stream lvels just a little below normal.
There is rain forecast for a couple of day during the coming week. This past week was very
good. Our customers caught some very large brown and rainbow trout. Streamers,
Blue-winged olive nymphs, hoppers and beetles were used. Few anglers are fishing and
conditions are great.
10/27/16 It doesn't get any better in the Fall than it is right now, yet few anglers are fishing. I
guess it is hunting and football season that keeps the numbers down but those that are
fishing are catching lots of trout. Some, especially the pre-spawn brown trout, are big.
Blue-winged olive hatches are huge and bring trout to the surface to feed each afternoon.
11/03/16 The river is flowing high and strong but clear and in good shape otherwise. There
is no rain in the forecast this coming week. Sculpin streamers have been catching some big
brown and rainbow trout lately. There are some very good Blue-winged olive hatches taking
place. Midges are beginning to hatch good as well.
11/10/16 Few anglers are fishing but they should be. The discharges and levels are still a
little high and fast but those fishing are catching some nice trout and plenty of them.
Hatches of Blue-winged olives are taking place along with Cream Midges. Sculpin streamers,
like our Olive or Black Matuka or Brown sculpin streamer are good for the larger trout.
11/17/16 The river levels are great, thanks to low discharges. The weather is turning colder
but that will affect the fishing in the upper part of the tailwater very little. Blue-winged olives
and Cream and red midges are hatching good. It is as good as it gets at this time of the year.
11/24/16 The river is in good shape. Blue-winged olives and midges, both creams and reds
or blood midges, are hatching. Sculpin streamers like the Matukas and our Brown and White
Belly sculpin are catching the larger trout. Fish the upper section of the tailwater, The lower
down stream you fish, the colder the water is..
12/01/16 The big river is in good shape and our customers sent in some good reports this
past week. The preferred section to fish is the upper part within a couple miles of the
tailwater. The water is a little warmer there. The middle and lower sections in near the high
thirties. Midges are hatching good. Winter stoneflies and Black flies are hatching.
12/07/16 The high temperature this coming week will be about 23 degrees. The water will be
around 42 degrees. There is a chance of snow everyday for the coming week. You can
catch trout. Midges, creams and reds, are hatching good. Just make certain you don't fall in
and get wet. That could be deadly. Keep and extra set of dry clothes with you.
12/14/16 Just when you thought it couldn't get any colder, it did. The weather is going to be
extremely cold. The water temperature will be in the high thirties near the dam and it is
possible to catch trout. We think it is a little dangerous to do so and don't recommend it.
12/21/16 The discharges are down very low and of course that helps when the water is as
cold as it is. The average water temperature is only about 34 to 36 and that makes it tough
to catch trout. Cream and Red or blood midges are hatching and you can catch trout on
imitations of them. Fish the larva and pupa in tandem for the best results.
12/28/16 The tailwater below Holter is still producing some trout for the few anglers willing to
brave the cold. The water temperatujre is staying in the mid thirties making it tough to catch
them, but midges will do it. Creams and Reds, or blood midges are hatching. Fish the larva
and pupa in tandem for the best results. Fish the Winter stonefly nymph near the banks late
in the day.
01/04/17 The discharges and stream levels are about normal for this time of the season and
the river is in good shape. Midges, mostly creams and reds, or blood midges, are hatching.
Fish the larva and pupa imitations in tandem, with the larva the bottom fly and the pupa
about 16 inches above it. This tandem rig works great under and indicator. Winter stoneflies
and Black flies are also hatching.
01/18/17 Midges, creams and reds, or blood midges are still the most important insects to
imitate. They are best fished with the larva and pupa rigged in tandem. Place the pupa
about 16 inches above the larva. This can be fished under a strike indicator. Winter
stoneflies and some Black Flies. Fish the midge larva and pupa in tandem for the best
01/25/17 The discharges and stream levels below Holter remain about the same. Fish the
uppermost section of the river. The water downstream is much colder. Midges and Winter
stoneflies are the most important insects to imitate. Fish the Cream and Red midges, with
the larva and pupa in tandem.
01/31/17The river is in good shape below Holter but cold.Fish Cream or Red (blood) midge
larva and pupa in tandem. We now have these pre-rigged for those anglers than have
trouble tying on small flies. If you see midge clusters, or trout swirling near the surface, they
are likely feeding on adult midges. Fish the Cream or red adult pattern.The water is about
36-37 near the dam but gets colder the further downstream you go.
02/08/17 The Holter tailwater is the preferred section of the river to fish during the winter.
Fish midges, creams, reds or light greens with the pupa and larva rigged in tandem. This
setup imitates hatching midges better than individual flies. When it is cloudy, fish sculpin
streamers like our Black Matuka sculpin or Brown sculpin They work good in low light
situations. Fish near the dam.
02/15/17 Fish near the Holter dam for the warmest water. The river gets colder the further
downstream you fish. The levels are okay at the time but be sure to check them. They are
subject to change with the recent upstream rain and snow. Midges, Winter stoneflies and
little BWO nymphs are the flies to use. Sculpin streamers are also working.
02/22/17 The weather is turning cold again with a chance of snow everyday this coming
week. It won't exceed freezing or 32 degrees this week. Fish the upper part of the river near
the Holter dam for the warmest water. Midges are still the most important insects to imitate.
Fish the Cream or Red midges with the larva and pupa rigged in tandem.
93/01/17 The discharges and resulting stream levels are about the same as last week. The
weather is going to be a little warmer. That makes little difference in the water temperature
except the lower part of the tailwater, but it sure makes it more comfortable to fish. Fish near
the Holter Dam for the warmest water, Miidges, Creams and Reds, are still the most
important insects to imitate.
03/08/17 The discharges and stream levels are low and the river in good shape. There is a
chance of snow everyday for the next week. Try fishing the Black Matuka sculpin streamer
or the Brown Sculpin streamer when it is snowing or heavily overcast. Fish midges, Creams,
Reds or light Greens, with the larva and pupa rigged in tandem. We now have these
pre-rigged for those who have trouble tying on small flies.
03/15/17 The river is in good shape and the weather is fantastic. There is some rain and a
little snow in the forecast but that only helps the hatches. Blue-winged olives are hatching as
well as tons of midges. The Cream and Red midges are most plentiful but there are some
light Greens beginning to show up. Fish the larva and pupa imitations rigged in tandem.
03/22/17 Discharges and stream levels are currently in good shape. The weather is going to
be a little warmer this coming week, but it will affect the water below Holter very little. As
much as your probably getting tired of fishing them, Midges will remain the most important
insects to imitate. Sculpin streamers are working great during low light situations.
03/29/17 There is rain or snow in the forecast everyday but one this coming week, but at
least the temperatures are not that low. The water is still in the high thirties to low forties and
midges, especially the reds and Creams, are hatching. Fish the larva and pupa rigged in
tandem for the best results. You may see some surface action from clusters. If that shows
up, fish the adult patterns.
04/04/17 The discharges and stream levels below Holter seems to be in good shape and the
water is gradually, and slowly, getting a little warmer. Midges are still the only aquatic insects
hatching to any extent. There are lots of light Green midges. Sculpin streamers should
continue to work under low light conditions. There is rain or snow forecast everyday for the
next week, so there will be plenty of low light conditions.
04/19/17 The discharges and stream levels are very high due to the runoff from warm
weather in the big watershed of the Missouri. It is likely to continue through the coming days.
All you can do is to keep checking back with us. We will keep you informed. It is possible to
fish the river now from drift boats. We don't think it would likely be very productive.
04/26/17 The water is high and is lightly stained. It can be fished from drift boats at the
current levels. Streamers like the Brown or Black Matuka sculpin streamers should work.
The most important insects are still the Midges, mostly light green and cream. There is a
chance of rain or snow in the forecast everyday this coming week.
05/03/17 The river is still flowing strong and high, too high to wade anywhere but fine for
larger drift boats. Streamers fished in the eddies and soft outer seams of the faster water will
produce some trout. Although most guys are tired of them, midges are still the most
important source of food tor the trout and will still produce the most numbers of fish caught.
05/10/17 Discharges and stream levels are high and likely to be high most of the coming
week. There is rain in the forecast everyday. There is some runoff starting in the
headwaters of the Missouri, which is huge. We expect the levels will be high for the next few
05/17/17 Stream levels are still very high and likely to continue to be high for several days.
The runoff is going on and with three major rivers feeding the Missouri, you can bet it is a
big one. Some guys are still fishing but it is more like dredging. You can catch trout on
streamers if you work hard at it. All you can do is keep checking back with us.
05/24/17 The river continues to be very high from the Spring runoff. This is a wet year and
the water is likely going to be high through June. Fishing is more like dredging than fishing.
The local fly shops push it but it in our opinion, it is not worth a trip from out of town. You can
catch a few fish if your lucky and dredge nymphs all day or swing streamers.
05/31/17 The discharges and stream levels are down from last week, but still very high. The
runoff is still well underway in the watershed. The levels will likely be high for most of the
month of June. You can fish it from a drift boat, but it is more like dredging than fishing. We
don't recommend it as a destination trip under these conditions.
06/07/17 The runoff has increased some the past week. There is a chance of rain everyday
for the coming week. The stream levels are extremely high and likely to be high for most of
the month of June. All you can do is to keep checking back with us. We will keep you
informed as to the status of the runoff. You can send us an email and let us help you plan
that next trip.
06/14/17 The discharges and stream levels are up just a little from last week. We think it is
getting near its peak but it may not be. The runoff can last on into the month of July on wet
years, and this is a wet year with a big snowpack. All you can do is to stay in touch with us..
We will keep you updated as to the statues of the runoff.
06/21/17 The river is still flowing very high from runoff. It is down a little from last week, and
can be fished from a drift boat. If you like there, give it a shot. If you want to choose it as a
destination trip, don't. Wait at least until the first to second week of July. Sure, we know the
locals guides need business and I feel for them. The river is high and not easy to fish at all.
06/29/17 The river is getting into good shape fast. The discharges and stream levels are
way down from the past week. There is no rain in the forecast for the watershed and the
levels should continue to get better. It is still a little high but can be fished from drift boats
successfully. There are lots of insects hatching including PMDs and two types of caddisflies.
07/05/17 The river is at about the same level as last week, with discharges that are still a
little too strong for wading in most places. The river can be fished well from drift boats. Our
customers are reporting some good catches. There are lots of insects hatching but we have
added terrestrials to the fly list as they are becoming important.
07/12/17 The stream is in good condition and we are getting some very good reports. There
are multiple hatches taking place and some are doing well with terrestrial imitations. All
sections of the river are in good shape and producing trout. Anglers are wading, fishing from
float tubes and drift boats of all types.
07/18/17 the river is finally settled down to more normal and stream discharges and flows. It
is giving anglers with small boats and wading anglers some good opportunities. We had two
good reports from customers this past week. There are lots of Pale Morning duns hatching
along with three different species of caddisflies. Conditions should continue to be good this
07/25/17 The big question everyone has is "do they need a guide". The answer is no, you
are not likely to get lost. Yes, I'm joking but no, you do not need a guide and can often catch
more trout without one. There are still plenty of hatches taking place, two species of
caddisfllies, some Pale Morning duns and lots of tricos.
08/02/17 The stream is still in good condition in all sections. The discharges and stream
levels are normal at this time of the season and a lot of trout are being caught. We had two
good reports from customers this past week. Trico hatches are huge but there are other
hatches taking place. Hoppers have begin to work as well.
08/09/17 This is the time of the year most anglers fishing the Missouri want to fish a hopper
imitation, and many a hooper/dropper combination. That works okay at times but should
replace matching the most available insects at the time. Right now that is caddisflies. LIttle
Sister caddisflies have stated to hatch in addition to the Spotted Sedges.
08/17/17 We received two more good reports from customers fishing the river this past
week. Conditions remain good with lots of trout being caught. There are some good hatches
taking place and hopper fishing is also good at this time. The river is lined with lots of hay
fields and they are loaded with hoppers.
08/24/17 There are still some nice hatches taking place. Spinner falls and egg laying caddis
are also heavy he last two hours of daylight. That is the best time to fish. Hoppers are
working fairly well throughout the day. There is little cloud cover and no rain in the forecast.
Stream levels are fine. We received two good reports from the past week.
08/31/17 The river is still in good shape in all sections. There is some smoke in some areas,
so make sure you check that out. The trout below Holter are fairly selective and you will do
far better with specific imitations of the insects as opposed to the generic flies. There are a
lot of hopper around the banks so don't overlook that especially if it is windy.
09/06/17 The stream levels are up some from the past week but still okay. We prefer them a
little lower but you can still catch plenty of trout. There is a lot of smoke in the area, so be
sure to check that out. Hoppers are working very good right now, especially during periods
of high wind.
09/13/17 The discharges and stream levels are down a little from last week. We received
some good reports from customers fishing last week. The weather is turning colder, as most
of you know. This will begin to change some of the hatches some. The cloud cover that will
be around the first part of the coming week should help.
09/20/17 The river is still in good shape with discharges and stream levels that are normal
for this time of the season. We didn't receive any reports from anyone fishing this past week
but conditions were good and should remain good for the coming week. The weather
remains cool with some changes of rain and snow. The cloud cover should be a help.
09/27/17 The river is in good shape with good discharge rates and stream levels. We had
three good reports from customers fishing this past week. There are lots of Little Sister
caddis and Cream midges hatches. There are also a few little blue-winged olives hatching. It
will be turning a littl cooler with rain and snow at the end of this week. That should only
improve the conditions.
10/04/17 The river continues to be in good shape with good discharge rates and stream
levels. There are some very good reports of catches coming in from our customers. Hatches
of Midges and Blue-winged olives are taking place.
10/11/17 The river is in very good shape for mid October. There are some good hatches
taking place - Blue -winged olives and both Cream and Red (blood) midges. We had two
good reports come in from customers fishing this past week.
10/18/17 We received two more good reports from customers fishing the river below Holter
this past week. Midges and Blue-winged olives are haching and they caught some on top.
Sculpin streamers like the Perfect Fly Olive and Black Matuka sculpin, are catching some
10/25/17 The river is still in good shape, with good stream levels. The weather can't decide
to be hot or cold, but the fishing is remaining hot. We had another good report this past
week from a customer that caught several fish larger than the average size. The Black
Matuka sculpin paid off well for him.
11/02/17 The weather is going to be very cold this coming week. The temperature will not
reach the freezing level all week. Water temperature will be down in the middle and lower
sections. Fish the uppermost sections of the river. Midges should still hatch.
11/09/17 Warmer weather is predicted for the coming week but the water temperature is
colder. Midges, creams and reds are hatching. Fish the larva and pupa imitations in tandem
for the best results. This coming week should be a good one.
11/17/17 The river is in good shape below Holter. Discharges and stream levels are normal
and rout are being caught in spite of the cold weather. Midges, blood (red) and Creams are
hatching. Fish the larva and pupa imitations rigged in tandem for the best results. Sculpin
streamers continue to catch the larger trout.
11/24/17 The river is in good shape for this time of the season. Few anglers are fishing.
Midges are the only hatches taking place. The water temperature is a little lower, down to
averaging about 40 degrees. Creams and Red midges will catch trout if you rig the larva and
pupa imitations in tandem. Fish the adults only when you see fish feeding on the surface.
12/01/17 The weather and water temperature is a little colder. Midges are the only hatches
taking place. We recommend fishing the larva and pupa rigged in tandem under a strike
indicator. Sculpin streamers working slowing near the bottom may get some of the larger
12/15/17 We received one good report this past week from a customer fishing the river.
Midges are hatching good. Creams and Reds or blood midges are what you need to be
imitating. Fish the larva and pupa rigged in tandem for the best results.
12/22/17 Discharges are running a little high but it can still be fished. Midges, creams and
reds, or blood midge are hatching along with Winter stoneflies. Sculpin stream usually catch
some large trout under similar conditions.
12/29/17 The weather is very cold but the water coming out of Holter is about 39 degrees.
The further downstream you fish, the colder it gets, so we recommend fishing the upper
section. Midges and winter stoneflies are hatching.
01/05/18 The discharges and stream levels are down and the river in good shape. Midges,
creams and blood midges or red ones are hatching good. Winter stoneflies are hatching.
Fish the nymphs of the Winter Stoneflies near the banks. They crawl out of the water to
01/26/18 Conditions are not bad for the middle of January. Trout are being caught. The
river is still in good shape below Holter. Fish as near the dam as legal. The water will be the
warmest at that point. The middle and lower sections are cold. Midges and Winter stoneflies
02/02/18 Discharges and stream levels remain good. The water is very cold in the middle
and lower sections of the river. Fish as near the dam as legal for the warmest water. It is
about 38 degrees at that point.
02/09/17 The discharges and stream levels are up making it a little tough. Midges are still
hatching very good. Creams, reds or bloods and light greens are plentiful. Winter stoneflies
continue to hatch.
02/23/18 There is still a lot of snow everyday but otherwise, the river is in good shape. It is
running a little high right now, but fine for large drift boats. Fish the upper section near the
dam. The middle and lower river is just too cold with lots of slush ice.
03/02/18 The discharges and stream levels are in good shape. Midges are still the most
important insects to imitate. Creams, reds or bloods and light greens are hatching. Fish the
larva and pupa imitations in tandem.
03/09/18 Discharges and stream levels below Holter are near normal levels. There are some
Winter stoneflies and Skwala stoneflies on the lower end hatching. Midges are very plentiful.
Fish the larva and pupa rigged in tandem for the best results.
03/16/18 The discharges and stream levels are up a little and above normal levels. Midges,
winter and Skwala stoneflies are still the main insects to imitate. The water is gradually
getting a little warmer but still very cold.
03/23/18 The discharges and resulting stream levels below Holter are still high. Melting snow
from the previous week is causing it. The weather is colder again. Midges, cream and light
greens, are the main insects to imitate. There are some Skwala and some Winter stoneflies
03/30/18 The discharges and stream level are a little high than last week, and too high for
safe wading most place. Larger drift boat should have no problem. MIdges, Skwala
stoneflies, little Blue-winged olives and March Browns are the most important insects to
04/06/18 The weather has been and still is very cold. Discharges and stream levels are very
high and everything slowed down to a crawl. You can catch trout on Midges, creams and
Light Greens, when you can stand the weather. Hopefully, this will change soon..
04/13/18 Continued cold weather with a chance of snow about everyday. The discharges
and stream levels are up some. Wading is tough to unsafe most places but drift boats can
still have some opportunity.
04/27/18 The discharges and resulting stream levels are high, too high for good opportunity
in our opinion. It can be fished from larger drift boats but we don't recommend it. Our new
Articulated streamers should work good in the higher flows.
05/05/18 The discharges and stream levels in all sections are very high, too high to wade or
fish for that matter. There is a chance of rain everyday this coming week. All you can do is
to check back with us. We will update the website to keep you informed as to the stream
05/12/18 Discharges and stream levels are very high, or blown out, in all sections of the
river. It is too high to fish anywhere. There are flood warning out everyday for the coming
week. Check back with us. We will keep you informed as to the stream and fishing conditions.
05/19/18 The discharges and resulting stream levels below Holter dam and in other sections
of the Missouri River are very high, too high to fish. The water is stained and we don't think it
is worth the effort to try. All you can do is to stay in touch and we will keep you posted.
There is a chance of rain everyday this coming week..
05/26/18 The river is extremely high from runoff. It is too high to fish in any section at this
time. Runoff is underway and it will be a few days before the river clears and drops.
06/02/18 The river is still extremey high, or blow out as some would call it. It is far too high to
fish. This is the spring runoff time. All you can do is to check back with us. We will keep you
06/09/18 The big river is still big. It is hight, too high to fish in our opinion. The water is
stained and varies with the section. We expect this to last several more days. Stay in touch
with us. We will keep you informed.
06/16/18 The discharges and stream levels are still very high, too high to fish, in our
opinion. Runoff is still underway in the headwaters fof the big river. Stay in touch and we will
keep you informed as to the status of the runoff.
06/23/18 The discharges and stream levels are up from last week and far, too high to fish
anywhere. Runoff is still underway. Check back with us. We will keep you updated.
06/30/18 If you like fishing high, fast water, the Missouri is for you. We don't think it is worth
fishing at the current levels. It should be soon, so keep checking back. We don't guide and
have to stretch the truth.
07/14/18 Discharges and stream levels are down in pretty good shape and wading is
possible in some sections. We are starting to get some good reports. There are lots of
insects hatching and both wading and boat anglers are catching trout.
07/21/18 The discharges and stream levels are still up a little high. There are some areas
that can be waded but few and far between. Drift boats are doing fine and catching trout but
the current is a little high and would be better with lower flows.
08/04/18 Good conditions continue in the middle and upper river below Holter. The
discharges and stream levels are in good shape and wading safe and easy with caution in
some areas. There are some good Pale Morning dun hatches and lots of Spotted sedge
08/25/18 The river is still in god shape with lots of caddis, PMDs, and little Yellow stones
hatching. Trout are being caught in good numbers throughout the system. There are still
plenty of hatching insects and terrestrials are starting to work very good. We received two
good report from this past week.
09/01/18 The river is still in very good shape with okay discharges and stream levels. There
are good hatches taking place and lots of trout being caught. Don't forget the great Hopper
fishing that takes place this month and on into October.
09/15/18 The cooler weather is nice but affects the water temperature very little. Conditions
remain very good. Trout are taking streamers like our Sculpin patterns, crustaceans and
terrestrial imitations as well as flies imitating the hatching insects. The hay fields along the
banks have a lot of hoppers living it them.
10/02/18 Little change has taken place except the weather is a little colder. The tailwater
below Holter is in great shape with lots of trout being caught by a relatively few anglers
fishing. Conditions are excellent. There are still some good hatches and terrestrials and
streamers are working.
10/08/18 Discharges and stream levels remain in good shape. It is mostly locals who are
fishing and they are catching some nice ones. There are still some hatches taking place,
mainly Blue-winged olives and Midges, creams and reds, or the blood midges.
10/27/18 Conditions remain very good. There are still some good hatches, especially
Blue-winged olives. Streamers, our working good as well. The weather for the coming week
looks good and should be a very good week to fish the river.
11/08/18 We continue to get good reports. Stream levels and discharge rates have been
normal and good. There are lots of Blue-winged olives and Cream and Red or blood midges
hatching. Our Sculpin streamers and Articulated streamer patterns are catching som nice
12/04/18 The river is still in good shape for this time of the year. The bottom discharge from
Holter stays about the same temperature year-round. Of course, the further you fish below
the dam, the colder the water will get during the winter. Midges and BWOs are hatching
12/24/18 The river is in good shape. Trout are being caught below Holter. Midges are the
only hatches other than Winter stoneflies. Fish the upper part of the river near the dam
where the water is warmer. The bottom discharge is about 39 degrees. Rig the midge larva
and pupa imitations in tandem for the best results.
01/04/19 The discharges and stream levels are in good shape. Fish near the Holter dam for
the best results. The water is slightly warmer. Midges are the main insects to imitate. Rig the
larva and pupa in tandem.
01/18/19 The river is in good shape for the middle of January. Trout are being caught by the
few fishing. Midges, creams and reds, are hatching. Fish the midge larva and pupa rigged in
tandem for the best results.
02/20/19 Little change has taken place the past week. Midges and winter stoneflies are the
only insects hatching. Fish the midge, creams and reds, with the larva and pupa rigged in
tandem. We now have these pre-rigged in stock.
03/10/19 It is going to be a little warmer this coming week. The cold is more of a factor than
getting the trout to take you midge imitations. It will change soon and conditions improve.
03/24/19 The big river is in good shape considering the cold winter weather that has
occurred. It looks like that is going to change this coming week. It will be much warmer with
no chance of snow or rain. It may help the middle and lower sections of the river get a little
03/31/19 The stream levels are running a little high but oherwise, the river is in good shape.
There is a flood warning out for the next couple of days due to rain in the area. That should
stain up the water some but help more than hurt the conditions. It won't be long before some
pre-runoff hatches take place.
04/14/19 The river is flowing high due to rain and snow runoff. Discharges from Holter are
above normal and the water stained most places. This coming week is going to be wamrer
and we can expect more higher water levels.
04/28/19 The river is flowing high from high discharges. It can be fished from large drift
boats but we don't recommend it. Wait until the levels drops and the water clears. We didn't
receive any reports from anyone fishing this past week.
05/07/19 Discharges from the lakes are running high, too high to fish in our opinion. The
water is stained from melting snow. Check back with us. It should clear up soon.
05/28/19 Stream levels are high due to runoff conditons in some of the streams feeding the
big river. It can still be fished below Holder dam and trout caught but larger drift boats should
06/08/19 The river is in good shape compared to many streams. All the freestones are in
runoff mode and lots of anglers are fishing the Missouri. Levels are a little high most of the
time but larger drift boats are doing well.
06/16/19 Conditions are good especially compared to all the freestone streams in Montana.
There are trout being caught by larger drift boats and some even using float tubes. We
don't suggest it but it can be done at the current levels.
06/25/19 The stream levels are running below normal levels but warmer weather may
incease them this coming week. Lots of insects hatching and good numbers of trout are
being caught. This coming week should be even better.
07/02/19 Discharges and stream levels are down and the river in good shape. Fishing below
Holter is excellent. There are lots of insecfs hatching and trout being caught.
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with a budget for flies and we will select
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