Category Archives: Missouri

Missouri River mid June

missouri river rainbow bitterroot river guidesAs hard as it is to peel yourself away from the Salmonfly craze of the mountain rivers, you are always glad you did when you are standing at the Wolf Creek boat ramp at sunrise.  Gulpers and sippers work the greasy water, while pelicans and seagulls flop and squawk on the goose shit covered islands.  Bugs are already peeling off the river, their obvious dun forms gliding lazily into a twenty inch rainbow’s mouth.  Ah, the Mo!  Back Home.

missouri river rainbow bitterroot river guidesDon and I have fished this river many times together, probably more than any other river.  We just keep coming back; or at least Don keeps calling me and booking trips, so I’m all in as long as he is!  You never know what you are going to find on the Mo, maybe nothing. This is a tough river: definitely not for the beginner if you have any hopes of seriously throwing a dry fly.  That takes a different beast.  Patience and precision are absolute virtues on the Mo, and the more you have the more you unlock the river.  Untouchable fish start to become possible, and eventually even predictable.  But I better watch what I say lest the Mo Gods punish me next time with howling winds and frog water.

missouri river rainbow bitterroot river guidesThis trip goes down as an all time epic Missouri foray.  Three days we gave it hell: first boat in every morning, and on our favorite haunts while the water was still fresh and the fish just starting to move.  We search out flats where the river shallows up to knee deep or less, some of them football fields in size.  When the hatch gets cranking, PMDs in this case, fish move onto the flats to feed where the bugs are most plentiful and accessible.  A cautious eye will find pods of feeding fish, sometimes almost indiscernible in the rippled water.

missouri river rainbow bitterroot river guidesThis is when it gets glorious on the Mo.  Slipping out of the boat and into the flat on foot, risers eventually surround you.  Some are untouchable because of the angle, and some are just too far to get an effective drift.  But once again, patience and precision are the name of the game.  A well placed, mended, and drifted bug has every chance of bringing home a twenty inch rainbow on that long piece of 5x terminating a fourteen foot leader.  Anything less than perfect, you might as well throw rocks at them.

Early Season Wrap Up

Bitterroot RainbowWhat a great Skwala and March Brown season we’ve had here in the Bitterroot Valley!  Our weather and river levels remained perfect from the first week of March until this last week of April, and the bugs and fish responded with solid daily hatches and heavy topwater feeding.  Can’t say I threw any nymphs this whole season.

Bitterroot River GUidesWhich is probably about to change, as the Bitterroot is starting to bump up with the coming of May.  Soon the Skwalas will fade away from the spotlight, and caddis will replace our coveted stoneflies.  As the Bitterroot rises, fishing can be much less consistent, and downright tough if the river has just bumped any significant amount.  Nymphing and streamers become our new staple to deal with the heavy flows; trout hunker down and feed subsurface on all the food blasting through the water column.

Bitterroot River GUidesSo thank you to all the brave souls who fished the early hatches with Bitterroot River Guides.  We saw tremendous fishing this year, and we were able to pull off every trip on a single dry fly.  Each day had high points where the fishing was red hot, especially around two o’clock on the mayfly hatch, and the Skwalas hatched consistently throughout every day I was on the river, bringing up good fish.

Bitterroot River GUidesWe’ll see how runoff shapes up this year: it’s not looking like a whopper snowpack so we should be throwing a line through the whole season.  The Missouri is fishing excellent right now, and will continue to just get better as summertime approaches.  Being controlled by Holter dam, the Mo keeps in good shape throughout runoff with Blue Wings and Caddis hatching profusely.  The Big Hole also fishes well through the runoff, mainly the upper third of the river, as this is the time to hunt big browns with streamers.  Get in touch with us and let’s go fishing!

Fall Days on the Missouri

The time has finally come to Montana: Fall.  River bottoms are full of color, elk are bugling in the mountains, and big browns are sipping Baetis and Pseudos on the Missouri.  The hot long days of summer are far behind us now, replaced by cool calm days and low angled sunlight.  No hurries this time of season; things are on a slower pace and the fishing is always good somewhere.  Especially the Mo.