Missouri River Fishing Report for late January 2018. What a crazy month (as they all tend to be). Starting off with some serious winter weather and much needed snow. Then a couple of significant “January Thaws” as Aldo Leopold used to write about so eloquently. Those thaws (which we are just getting out of one today) have made for some wonderful weather for fishing the Missouri. The fishing on the MO has been good to excellent on most days. Not much (or any) dry fly action yet but really good on the winter nymph stuff and slowly swinging streamers!
The MO is in a wonderful Winter fishing mode as the water temps are now in the low 30’s. So that means slower streamer presentations and getting your nymphs in a bit deeper and slower water than when the water temps were in the 40’s and warmer. There are a few weeds on the bottom but they don’t bother swinging deep or nymphing deep. The other beauties of winter fishing is the simple fly selection and solitude. You don’t need a whole cadre of bugs in your box. Just a simple fly puck with about 2-4 nymph patterns and 1-2 streamer patterns. The trout are eating scud/sowbug stuff or will grab a streamer as it slowly swims by their face. There are lots of midges out so it’s with having a couple midge nymphs and some dries with you in case/when they decide to eat on top. (Dry fly fishing is not something to plan on but consider it a wonderful bonus if it happens)
Here’s the bugs to put in your box:
Nymphs: #16-#18 Firebead Rays, #12-#16 Caviar Scud, #16-#18 Pink Lightning Bug, #6 Wire Worm. (We’ve been using the Wire Worm as the first fly so we don’t need to add any or much weight on the leader. We’ve also used a #12 Caviar Scud as our lead fly along or a #12-#14 Rainbow Sowbug or Czech and a small split shot on our cool Thingamabobber Nymph Rig.)
Streamers: We’ve been fishing smallish patterns (#6-#8) like just plain Buggers (Black, Olive), Jim’s AOF Bugger, and even some smaller articulated Steelhead patterns like a Pick-Yer-Pocket or Burnt Chicken (see photos for proof of past performance which is no guarantee of future success -just wanted to say that. I know the fly works so if you’re not catching fish, just remember, it’s not the fly!). You gotta fish the streamer deeper and slower so a VersiLeader is a must.
The thaw we had last week, allowed for our first Guide Trip of 2018! A local angler, Harper, had a buddy, Corey, come in town from DC and they decided to get out and fish. Someone was smiling down on them for sure because the day they picked was the warmest day of the month reaching the mid-50’s and not much wind! (It was warmer here than where Ben’s parents are wintering in Lousiana -where they are trying to get out of arctic temps and snow!) Our Guide, Taylor, pulled his boat from storage and was ready for the day. They crushed it on nymphs and got a few on streamers and Harper and Corey couldn’t stop smiling when they got back to the shop at the end of the day!
Got some fun stuff happening this Winter. The 2018 F3T will be held in Helena at the Grandstreet Theater. Get tickets like NOW as they will sell out and won’t be available at the door. We are selling them in our Helena store so call (406-449-2292) or stop by ASAP. You can also check out more info on it at Pat Barnes TU website or their Facebook Page. Also, open tying on Saturdays in our Helena shop. Larry, Ben and Chris are there to tell lies, twist up some flies and sip gourmet coffee (from Firetower Coffee Roasters) and intake empty calories on donuts and cookies. It seems the nastier the weather, the more peeps show up to tie flies! So come down if you just want to be social or if you want to learn something from the folks at CrossCurrents Fly Shop. If you don’t know how to tie flies, than sign up for one of our Beginner Fly Tying Classes and we’ll get you going on this fun and rewarding activity. (Not sure why we get so excited to fool a primitive creature like a fish on some small art and craft creation that we make but it sure is cool!)
Okay, I gotta throw in a little shameless plug for some sale merchandise. We need to move this stuff out to make room for the new stuff -that’s already coming through our doors! Check out our SALE page on our website for great clearance prices on things like 40% off H2 Fly Rods, Men’s and Women’s Silver Sonic Waders, Mirage Reels, CFO Reels, Clearwater Spey Rods, Fly Line, Raingear and more. Check it out. We’ve also got some of the new 2018 goodies so check that out too.
Good fishing everyone!