Sunny, warmer days lately. Doesn’t help the fishing, but it makes for a beautiful fall day on the river. Winter weather will be back, so get out while you still can! Streamer season is about to hit the MO in full effect. Morning fishing has been slowing down, but as the daytime temps heat up, so does the fishing. Mostly midges in the morning that make their way down river from the Dam to Craig by mid-morning. Caddis start coming out around afternoon along with some scatterings of October caddis. If the conditions are right, we may see the BWOs coming off in the late afternoon until sundown. Water temps are dropping into the 50s and the fish are becoming more active.
Midges, baetis, caddis, sows, and crayfish… these are the patterns you should be looking to right now. As said before, lots of midges at the Dam. I transition into caddis and crayfish patterns from midges if I’m seeing more caddis popping on the banks. The orange zirdle has been a go-to for crayfish patterns. Zebra midges, both back and olive, sow bugs, firebead Ray Charles and love bugs work well for the AM. Try the Czech nymphs and tung darts later in the day trailed by a baetis pattern such as the olive two-bit hooker, olive military may, olive green machine, Mirage nymph, silver lightening bug, and purple lightening bug. The orange zirdle is also a great fly to use above the baetis patterns.
Mornings haven’t been too hot with dry fly action like it was during the trico hatch. But still, get out and look for those early risers. They may not be there one morning, but show up the next. Every day is a new day on the MO. There are fish podding up at the dam eating those morning midges both on top and underneath. So try a dry dropper with a cornfed caddis or a double duck caddis and a zebra midge dropper spaced about a foot apart. Keep that caddis tied on and fish it on the banks and prospect for those browns that like to tuck in close. October caddis patterns have been pulling a few out. Try large orange stimulators, royal stimulators, orange chubbies, or even sofa pillows. In the late afternoon, start looking for BWOs to start coming off the water. My favorite pattern to throw during the BWO hatch is Harrop’s Last Chance Cripple. I also throw the CDC baetis cripple, the flash cripple, the sprout baetis emerger, the CDC baetis dun, CDC indicator comparadun, and the parachute BWO.
It’s a good time to come chuck streamers if you haven’t all season. The weeds have started breaking off and floating downstream opening more fishing areas to swing streamers. Either hit the banks from the boat while you’re drifting or swing them from the banks to through the middle of the river. Break out your switch and spey rods if you haven’t already and come out and swing! You will find eager, hungry fish. Try wooly buggers, the skiddish smolt, sparkle minnow, Kreelex, urchin buggers, Doc’s articulator, the MRS bugger, Galloup’s mini dungeon, and the sculpzilla.
Our location in Craig will be closing on 10/31/18 for the winter season! However, if you would still like to book a guide trip, I (Trip Werrell) will be available throughout the winter as well as a few of our other Guides. We have special, discounted, Winter Rates on our Guide Trips and our Lodging. Feel free to call our shop in Craig (406-235-3433) while it’s still open or at our location in downtown Helena (406-449-2292) to book a float trip, to get advice, or to just chat.