Missouri River Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing Missouri River Montana.

Our home water, the fabled Missouri River near Craig, Montana is arguably the most consistent fishery in the Rocky Mountain West, and productive wild trout fishery in the lower 48, and that's why we love it. The Mo, as the locals call her, is a broad tail-water river and is considered by many to be a true Montana trout fly fishing mecca. This river is best described as a gigantic spring creek where the rainbow trout grow fast and strong, the brown trout become husky and cunning, and the backdrops are just as gorgeous as the fish.

Fishing Seasons and Techniques

The Mo is fishable year-round but March through November is when it produces well and May through October is the primetime season.  We cover all the bases in terms of technique on the Missouri, regularly fishing nymphs, streamers and dryflies. Deep nymphing is definitely the way to keep the action lively and catch more fish, which is especially handy for newer anglers.  We also enjoy tugging streamers to trigger the predator response from our larger trout (and sometimes walleye!), but the dryfly fishing is why people travel from around the world to come to the Missouri River.

The Missouri River will amaze you with its aquatic insect hatches, average fish size, and over-all population of big rainbow trout and brown trout. Arguably, the Missouri River has no equal when it comes to consistently sight fishing dry flies for rising trout. The Missouri River is an insect factory, pumping out hatch after hatch throughout the seasons. 

Insect Hatches

Midges and Blue-winged Olives will hatch from late March through May. Caddis will arrive in early May, leave in June and then come back in July and usually stay through the fall. There is rarely a day on the Missouri where we can't get some trout to eat a caddis, even into late October. The Pale Morning duns arrive in June and this hatch usually corresponds with the end of run-off. Tricos will appear sometime in mid-July to mid-August, and this hatch is stunning in the millions and millions of bugs it produces - every day. The terrestrial is usually in full swing by August first, with grasshoppers, ants and beetles getting gobbled up by big-eyed trout up and down the river. The fall Blue-winged Olive and October Caddis hatches round out the season, and usually send us into winter with a last blast. It is a true insect smorgasbord.

Access and Ability

While the 35 mile section of blue-ribbon Missouri River has lots of public access and excellent wade fishing opportunities, it is considered by most to be a driftboat river, and that's how we fish it. A boat gives you two very important things on the Missouri; access to water and fish you otherwise wouldn't be able to reach, and the ability to be put in the best position to catch those trout. Plus, it puts a lot of the work on your great guide's able shoulders while you get to relax, enjoy the ride, and be ready for the next fish.

You could spend a lifetime or two learning the secrets and nuances of the Missouri River, and there are lots who've tried. It's that good.