Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Gear and Trout Flies for the Missouri River, Montana
The Missouri River has some very big rainbow trout. Although the ideal, all-around fly line
would probably be a 5 weight, floating fly line, many anglers would prefer other sizes for some
applications. We think anything less could present problems in dealing with some of its huge
trout. For nymphs and streamers, a 6 weight fly line would be better than the 5 weight. You
may also want to use a sinking tip line for the streamers.
You would want a fly rod to handle each of the above line sizes. The five weight rod would be
ideal at a length of nine feet. We think a medium to medium fast action would be best for it but
that is a matter of preference. You want to be able to cast in the strong afternoon wind that
blows most every day of the Summer on the Missouri River.
The six weight rod should have a slightly stiffer tip to handle larger nymphs and streamers. It
should be nine feet in length in a medium to medium fast action.
The reels for the 5 and 6 weight lines should both have good drags. The drags should be
smooth and adjust to fine increments. You don't want to hook one of the Missouri River's huge
trout and end up with a broken tippet because you had a less than adequate fly reel. When
you are fishing midges, for example, a light tippet is necessary and the drag must be smooth to
You should be using at least a nine foot leader anywhere on the river. That length would
probably be the best all around length. If you fish the Trico and other hatches that require long
leaders, you may want to use a 12 foot leader. If you fish streamers, you may want a short
leader. Make sure you have leaders in sizes ranging from 0X for streamers, up to 7X for
midges and other small flies.
You should also have plenty of extra tippet in sizes ranging from 0X to 7X.
Waders are necessary just about anywhere you fish the Missouri River. We prefer the
breathable type but you may need neoprene waders if you are fishing during the winter.
Felt soles would be our choice. The new rubber soles may work well. They have at other
similar waters where we've tried them.
The use of a wading staff would be an optional accessory. The current can run strong at times.
You probably shouldn't be fishing the Missouri River without a landing net. You would have a
better chance of landing its larger trout with one.
We always recommend our "Perfect Fly" trout flies. We have specific imitations of every
important insect that exist on the Missouri River. Our scuds have proven to work great on this
river. It is best to use the hatch chart and select the flies to use for the period of time you will
be fishing. If you haven't already done so, we hope you will give our Perfect Flies a try. Will feel
sure that you will be glad you did.
Missouri River, Montana
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