Missouri River Report :) [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Missouri River Report :)

04-28-2006, 10:04 PM
Just got back from Monatana this morning and some of the best trout fishing i have ever experienced. More and bigger trout than i have ever seen in any river. I stayed with Joe Bloomquist at Missouri River Lodge. Top notch outfit for sure. Joe runs a great lodge and the guides working for him were great.
Friday was our first day fishing the missouri river. I had never seen it before but had hear a lot of the fish that it holds. I was in a boat with a newbie to fly fishing and not 200 yards into the float he hooks a 20+ inch brown. Probably more like 22 or 23 but we never got a better look at him than when he jumped next the boat. A lack of experience cost him that one fish, but he quickly picked it up. I on the other hand couldnt hook a fish to save my life, and went fishless all morning. Mainly nymphing san juan worms and pink scuds. I also stripped some buggers for a little bit but only turned 3 fish before lunch. After lunch there was a light hatch of BWOs and i managed to get my first brown on the surface. The rest of the day my nymphing skills improved and we ended up with 10 or 12 fish to the boat total. Not a hot day but better than some for sure, and every fish was between 17 and 21 inches. All nice big browns.
The next morning we switched boats around and there were two of us that could cast this time Where as day 1 had been sunny and warm with a little wind, day two was more overcast and really windy. we were in the canyon for the first mile of the float throwing woolly buggers off rock walls and just hammering the fish. We probably hooked 8 or 9 a piece in the first 300-400 yards of the float. It was fantastic. Again mainly browns but we also got a couple rainbows that either didnt go into the tribs to spawn or didnt spawn at all. The wind was very tough in the afternoon and our guide worked his butt off to get us down to the take out. Rowing against the wind and waves that were splashing over the bow of the boat. All the time we were picthing buggers(when safe to do so) and catching fish. It was probably blowing 30+ but it sure didnt affect the fish
I only fished a 1/2 day on day 3 and we floated the top stretch of the day 2 float. Pitching buggers again with great success. It is a lot of fun to watch the big browns explode from the rocks to hammer one of these buggers getting twitched and stripped off the shore.
The final day i fished, i went with Joe to try the waters below the dam. This is mainly a nymph show for the fish that have moved up out of the lake to spawn in behind the dam. These fish are huge. Our average fish up there was 23 inches. And we caught tons of them, including a 31" fish. This was bigger than some of the steelhead i caught this fall and on a 5 wt rod. simply amazing fishing.
Had a great time and would highly reccomend anyone to go fish the Missouri. Its a great river and has a lot of fish and a lot of bugs. Joe runs a great place and it was phenomenal fishing... I can't wait to go back....

John Desjardins
04-29-2006, 07:53 PM
Sounds like a great trip.

04-29-2006, 10:06 PM
I'm glad you enjoyed our beautiful state. The Mo can be an amazing fishery in the spring - one of the best springtime opportunities in the state. It can also be amazingly fickle depending on water flow/dam releases, and it sounds like you hit it right! It is definitely one of those rivers where hiring a guide will greatly increase your odds until you get to know the river. Even when a person thinks they know it, it can still be very humbling. But it is always beautiful, particularly in the canyon.
Congrats on a successful trip!

04-29-2006, 10:55 PM

There is no way we would have done much at all without a guide. I would have been completely lost without the guides I had. Mike Niles and Joe Bloomquist worked their a$$es off to get us into fish. They were awesome.

04-30-2006, 10:09 PM
mugsy- I think i would put a cloudy day in the spring on the MO up against just about anything in terms of fun fishing... I just loved watching those big browns attack wooly buggers :) :)

05-01-2006, 04:31 AM
Try it in Sept when the olives are on the water. I used to fish the Mo a lot but haven't in years. Time to get back there soon. FishHawk

05-01-2006, 11:11 PM
Nice bow'!!! Looking at the bank line, the water flow must have been pretty healthy! I haven't been on the Missouri yet this year, but I know a few locals who have been practically skunked fishing this spring with the high level of dam releases. You are right on about the cloudy day. Sunlight is a huge factor on all of the major rivers in SW Montana, and big buggers are the go-to fly in tough water conditions. FishHawk, I have been frustrated so often watching the top of the water infested with hatches, the fish going nuts and me getting skunked, that I lose patience and just give up and go back to nymphs - working them on the swing with a little lift. I love to fish drys, but a guy can only take so much humiliation...........maybe I need to hire a guide to clue me in!

05-02-2006, 04:07 AM
The flies to try in the Fall are the Lighting Bug and the Ray Charles. The Mo is a great nymphing river. Forget the dries and swing those nymphs. Also, if your after the big fish try a large Kiwi Muddler close to the bank. Hang on !!! I got spooled trying that and will never forget that fish. FishHawk

05-02-2006, 09:18 AM
mugsy- In talking to the guides there that have been doing it for 10+ years, this is how big the river is supposed to be and everyone just got used to fishing it at half this size during the lack of water.
I did get a few fish to come up to the surface but they all ate an emerger as opposed to a true dry. maybe try fishing more emergers with a WD40 dropper and see what happens :)

fish- whats a kiwi muddler?

05-02-2006, 09:55 AM
kiwi muddler is a recent copy of my original steelhead rat ;)


Who knows which came first, same general idea although I believe the attention I pay to the tail makes all the difference in action.

05-02-2006, 11:23 AM
so basically its just a bunny leech with a spun deer hair haed?

The best bugger we used was black with a griz hackle and a little bit of flash in the tail. All the flies were heavily weighted with tungston cone heads to get deep quick.

05-02-2006, 08:19 PM
As the saying goes; if you're not losing buggers to the bank or the bottom, you're probably not fishing them in the right spot! When my wife asked why I needed so many flys and I told her this, she said I must be the worlds best caster! Of course I didn't tell her about all the trees on the banks that I have decorated!

05-09-2006, 10:05 PM
As was mentioned, the pictures show the Missouri in its usuall, normal flow for this time of year. I spent 6 years living in Cascade, MT, which allowed me to fish it180 days/year or more for each of those 6 years. The Missouri is suprisingly productive of rather large browns in October-December (provided a sustained cold spell doesn't descend from the artic). That is when I used to bring out the 9 weight and toss huge sculpin imitations on sinking lines.

Also, early in the year (late March through early May) a simple black and white nymph on a #10 2xl hook is most productive. This fly is composed of: tail=nat. guinea; body=black dubbing; hackle=guinea.

As the water warms and you get into summer, the Missouri's weed growth makes nymphing a challenge, not to mention how often woolly buggers get fowled in the weeds.

06-23-2006, 10:48 AM
I was stationed in the USAF at Malmstrom Air Force Base. I fly fished the MO from Holter to Pelican Point extensively for years and loved every minute of it! I especially loved it during the winter. I caught most of my big fish from October to March. Normally, I had the entire river to myself at that time of the year. Most of my big fish were caught on large sculpins that I tied on No4-6 bass bug hooks. Boy do I miss that! I also miss flyfishing for pike at Tiber and Pishkun! Now I am in Michigan (home) having a great time fishing for smallies and largemouth.

06-25-2006, 08:48 AM
Also, on the MO, had pretty good success with crayfish immitations near dark during the summer months-lot of weeds though.