Missouri River


When you fish with one of our guides on the Missouri River, you can focus on having fun. You won’t have to occupy your mind with …is this the right fly?   … am I in the right spot?   …am I making the right presentation?  Our Guides work hard to ensure that the answers to those questions are: “YES!”

CrossCurrents Fly Shop is Outfitter owned and operated by Chris Strainer veteran Missouri, Smith and Blackfoot River Guide since 1997.

  1. Full Day Float
          Full Day Float     

    • Full Day is  $500 for 2 angler;  $450 for 1 angler
    • A Full Day is 7-10 hours long.
    • Includes snacks, non-alcoholic drinks and a delicious streamside lunch.
    • Your guide provides all the tippet and flies used.
    • Includes transportation to and from your lodging (some restrictions on transportation may apply).
    • CrossCurrents is also happy to furnish Orvis rods, reels and waders if you don’t have any or want to leave your gear at home.
    • Fishing License NOT included. Montana Fishing Licenses and other quality gear can be purchased at CrossCurrents Fly Shop.
  2. Half Day Float
         Half Day Float      

    • Half Day Cost is  $400 for 2 angler;  $400 for 1 angler
    • A Half Day is 4 hours long.
    • Includes snacks and non-alcoholic drinks (lunch NOT provided).
    • Your Guide provides all the tippet and flies used.
    • Includes transportation to and from your lodging (some restrictions on transportation may apply).
    • CrossCurrents is also happy to furnish Orvis rods, reels and waders if you don’t have any or want to leave your gear at home.
    • Fishing License NOT included. Montana Fishing Licenses and other quality gear can be purchased at CrossCurrents Fly Shop.
  3. Spring Special
         Spring Special   

    • MO SPRING SPECIAL  February – April only
    • $350 for 1-2 anglers
    • Includes snacks, non-alcoholic drinks and a delicious streamside lunch.
    • Your guide provides all the tippet and flies used.
    • Includes transportation to and from your lodging (some restrictions on transportation may apply).
    • CrossCurrents is also happy to furnish Orvis rods, reels and waders if you don’t have any or want to leave your gear at home.
    • Fishing License NOT included. Montana Fishing Licenses and other quality gear can be purchased at CrossCurrents Fly Shop.
  4. Land of the Giants
            Land of the Giants   

    • Land Of the Giants (“LOG”) is $625 for 1-2 anglers for a Full or Half Day
    • Includes snacks, non-alcoholic drinks and a delicious streamside lunch.
    • Your guide provides all the tippet and flies used.
    • Includes transportation to and from your lodging (some restrictions on transportation may apply).
    • CrossCurrents is also happy to furnish Orvis rods, reels and waders if you don’t have any or want to leave your gear at home.
    • Fishing License NOT included. Montana Fishing Licenses and other quality gear can be purchased at CrossCurrents Fly Shop.
  5. Other Info & Policies

    Gratuity for Your Guide:   We get a lot of questions about gratuity for the guides. All guides typically receive gratuities for their hard work on the water, and depend on them as part of their income. Typical gratuity for a guide runs between $75 and $125 per day (about 15% to 25%). However, the decision is yours, and you should tip what you feel is appropriate.

    Third Angler or non-angler in Boat:  A standard Guide Day is for 1 or 2 anglers per Guide but we try to be flexible and can sometimes accommodate 3 anglers per Guide.  However, we only have a few guides that can handle 3 clients (due to boat size and/or willingness) so please give us a good amount of lead time to ensure that we can book those Guides.  We charge a $230/person for three clients per Guide.  This is only available for the Missouri River however, and at higher water levels (above 6,300 cfs) we cannot accommodate 3 clients per Guide in a boat due to safety reasons.  Keep in mind that with 4 people in a boat (3 Clients, 1 Guide), each person’s fishing time is greatly diminished.  We strongly encourage the use of another Guide for the third person or find a fourth angler.

    Reservation/Deposit/Cancellation/Refund Policy:
    Guided trips require a 50% deposit that is collected and applied on a per guide day basis. Your guide day(s) will not be confirmed until deposits are received. If cancellations are made more than 30 days before your reservation, a full refund of your deposit less a $25 per guide day reserved service charge will be returned to you.  If cancellations are made between 8 and 30 days of your reserved date(s) your deposit will be applied to a future trip later that year or the following season or for retail purchases of anything in our stores or the Orvis catalog.  If cancellations are made within 8 days of your reserved date(s) the entire deposit will be forfeited and a portion of that will be used to pay to the scheduled guide(s) in lieu of lost wages and expenses incurred.  SPECIAL JULY CANCELLATION POLICY:  There are no refunds or transfers of any kind for reservation made for the month of July if cancellations or changes are made within 30 days of the July reservation. We do not issue cash refunds for cancellations made within 30 days of your reservation.  We operate in all safe weather and water conditions, therefore inclement weather or water or non-desirable fishing conditions are not reasons to cancel or receive a refund.  Often times “bad weather” is the best fishing weather!  Please keep this in mind.  Failure to show or failure to cancel in a timely manner will result in you being liable for the entire cost of the reservation and our resultant collection of that amount from you.  All reservations are secured with a valid credit card.  Please be certain of your dates to avoid complications and service charges.  If we are unable to provide your reserved guide service due to unforeseen events, your entire deposit will be refunded. Travel insurance is recommended on extended trips. Some examples include: Travel Guard, Allianz, and Travel Insured International(CrossCurrents has no affiliation to any of these companies.  We are just providing these names and links for your convenience.)

Give us a call  or  send us an e-mail  and we will by happy to arrange your trip of a lifetime on the The Mighty Missouri! 

The biggest and most easily accessed river in the Helena area is the Missouri River.  Three reservoirs in a row make this tailwater fishery unique in that the water flow and temperature is relatively constant from day to day. Amazingly fertile, with prolific hatches of mayflies, caddis flies, and midges, the Missouri is a 365 day river.  Sometimes called “A giant spring creek”, the ‘MO’ is a trout factory! You’ll see fish rising just about every day of the year.  Take a float trip down the Missouri River and you’ll know why it made such a powerful impression on Lewis and Clark during their great expedition. During the summer, caddis and mayfly hatches are so prolific that it looks as though there is a mini blizzard over the river.  If you have the chance check out the video trialer showcasing the Missouri River, Sipping Dry.

Live Weather and Webcam for the Missouri:  RWIS at the Gary Cooper Bridge

The Missouri River is known for its excellent dry fly fishing, but it’s also amazing when fished with emergers or small bead-heads as a dropper behind a dry fly. In the Spring and Fall the ‘Mo’ fishes fantastically with Baetis and Midges for dries and Big, Ugly Streamers. That’s when some very big fish are caught!

Even though the Missouri River has one of the highest trout populations in the West it certainly doesn’t mean the fish are easy to catch.  These are wild trout and in the smooth, clear water they are very much on guard for predators, including anglers, and suspicious looking flies.  Trout also change their habits and locations at different dam-released flows, weather, time of day and seasons of the year.  A great way to ensure the best success is to hire one of our experienced guides.  They know where the trout hang out and what they eat and can get you to the fish and help you make the right presentation.
  1. Dry Flies for the Missouri River
    Dries:

    • #12-#20 Parachute Adams
    • #12-#18 Tan/Brown Elk Hair Caddis
    • #12-#18 CDC Elk Hair Caddis
    • #16-#22 Parachute BWO/Baetis
    • #16-#20 Parachute PMD
    • #16-#20 Comparaduns & Hackle Stacker (BWO, PMD)
    • #18-#24 Sprout Emergers (BWO, PMD, Midge, Trico)
    • #6-#12 Hopper Patterns (Stalcup’s, Streambank, DeBruin’s, Parachute)
    • #6-#14 Parachute Madam-X [aka PMX] (Peacock, Royal, Yellow)
    • #12-#18 Ants & Beetles  (Blooms Parachute, Two-Tone)
    • #18-#24 Trico Spinners
    • #18-#24 Midge Patterns (Griffith’s Gnat, Harrops CDC Midge Adults, etc.)
  2. Nymph Flies for the Missouri River
    Nymphs:

    • #16-#18 Lightning Bugs (Silver, Gold, Purple)
    • #16-#18 Pink Lightning Bug
    • #16-#20 Mirage Nymph
    • #12-#18 Scuds (Pink, Tan, Olive, Grey, Orange)
    • #12-#18 Firebead flies (Czech, Rays, Scuds)
    • #14-#18 MFG Nymph
    • #16-#20 Tungsten Flash Bug
    • #16-#20 Superflash Pheasant Tails
    • #16-#20 Pheasant Tail (B/H, Tungsten, standard, Flashback)
    • #10-#18 Hare’s Ear (B/H, Tungsten, standard, Flashback)
    • #12-#18 Soft Hackles (Ray Charles, PT, Hare’s Ear, Peacock)
    • #14-#20 Copper John (Red, Copper)
    • #6-#12 San Juan Worms (Steel Worms, Red, Brown)
    • #18-#22 Zebra Midge
  3. Streamer Flies for the Missouri River
     Streamers:

    • #2-#10 Beach Head Girddle Buggers (Black, Brown, JJ Specials)
    • #6 Flash Fry Zonkers (White, Brown/Yellow)
    • #4 Hickman’s Skiddish Smolt
    • #6 Shiela’s Sculpin
    • #4-#6 Conehead Bow River Bugger (Black, White)
    • #2-#8 Conehead Kiwi Muddler
  1. Missouri River SHUTTLES
    If you’re floating the river, the most convenient service you can get is a vehicle shuttle.  Let us know where you’re putting in and where you’re taking out and we’ll move your vehicle to the take out while you are on the river so all you have to do when you’re done is back the trailer up, load the boat and drive away.  Quick, easy, convenient and cheaper than driving two vehicles to the river.  No advanced reservation is needed, just call or stop by to arrange your shuttle with CrossCurrents.  We also run shuttles for the Dearborn River during it’s brief but wonderful float season.

    Our prices for 2015 will start out the same as last year and start at only $19.  The attached Shuttle Price Chart may fluctuate upward during the season because fuel will be going back up to crazy levels again.  However, we think you’ll find CrossCurrents to be reasonably priced, punctual and friendly to boot!  YOU CALL, WE HAUL!

    View and Download a .pdf of our Shuttle Price Chart.

  2. Missouri River Streamflow, Weather & Snow Pack Resources
  3. Stream Etiquette

    It used to be that most new fisherman were gradually introduced to the sport of fly fishing by a family member or friend who had a fishing background, and various rules of behavior would be acquired over time and adhered to as a matter of course.  Nowadays, we welcome many adult newcomers to the sport with no tradition to rely on for guidance so stream side misunderstandings can easily arise.

    The rules of stream side behavior are few and easily observed.  Mostly they revolve around common sense, courtesy and consideration of others sharing the stream.

    A section of water belongs to the first fisherman fishing it.  It is inconsiderate to crowd him/her and just “how close” an approach is permissible is an obvious variable.

    A slow moving or stationary fisherman has every right to remain just where he is.  If you are moving, leave the water and walk around him, being certain not to disturb his fishing or the water he might be working.  In a similar vein, a fisherman may be resting a pool or planning his next move.  It is still his water, and you should not jump in without his permission.

    A fisherman working in an upstream direction has the right of way over someone coming downstream.  Wading upstream against the current forces you to move slowly, cover less water and you are approaching the fish from behind.  The fisherman working in a downstream direction covers more river quickly, and has the potential to disturb more water, i.e. careless wading could send silt or debris washing downstream to alarm fish someone is working over.

    Many streams flow through private property.  Recognize access across that land is a privilege, not a right.  Respect private property.  If unsure about access, ask the landowner politely.  On ranch properties, don’t trample crops, disturb livestock, or leave gates open.  Leave no litter at stream side.  In fact, get in the habit of picking up discarded monofilament, cans and other trash, and carry them out to be discarded properly.  [Montana has a wonderful Stream Access Law that allows the public to access rivers and streams if the individual(s) remain within the ordinary high water mark.  Montana is the only Western state in the nation with such a law.  It is under constant attack in the courts by some selfish landowners – mostly out-of-state, absentee landowners – who want their own private trout stream.  Please support organization that actively defend this law, like Montana Trout Unlimited, and do nothing to give the stream access foes ammunition for their cases.  Basically do what was mentioned earlier in this paragraph.]

    Recognize that skilled anglers and/or heavy fishing pressure with excessively liberal limits can greatly reduce the available fish populations in any stream unless voluntary restraint is practiced.  A legal limit is not a quota, let your fishing motto be – “limit your kill, don’t kill your limit.”  Orvis and CrossCurrents encourages a catch and release philosophy of angling, allowing fish to mature, reproduce, and live to challenge other anglers in the future.  [Remember, Montana is unique in that we have not stocked any river or stream with hatchery fish since the late 1960’s.  We rely solely on wild trout to produce more wild trout.  So the fish in the river today have the awesome responsibility of perpetuating the species.  Therefore, it should be our awesome responsibility to protect those wild trout and their habitats so they have the best chance to make lots of strong, healthy fish in future!  A few years ago we outlawed the hunting of big game animals on “game farms” in Montana with the understanding that there is a difference between wild animals and “domesticated” versions of those animals.  We have a fair chase ethic with hunting wild animals – we too should have a fair chase ethic with fishing for wild trout.]

    Multiple recreational uses of streams are common.  We may share the resource with tubes, canoes, drift boats, rafts and other float crafts.  It is the responsibility of the floater to recognize that the wade angler has established a position before the boat floated into view.  The floater should try to pass behind the angler.  If the space doesn’t permit this, the floater should float by quietly and with minimum disturbance.  [Polite communication by both the rower and wader is always a help in this circumstance, thereby avoiding many of the contentious issues that surround the hotly debated “Row vs. Wade” on our rivers!]

    In summary, behave on the stream towards other anglers, as you would like them to behave towards you.  Welcome to the wonderful world of fly fishing and have fun!