As the last of the run-off is flowing into the Missouri the river may not be fishing as many of us had hoped, but in contradiction many smaller streams in the Craig and Helena areas are beginning to drop in CFS and increase in clarity. This can be exciting for those who have been waiting to fish some of their secret small streams and hopefully start tossing some larger dry flies while wading these streams. both the Dearborn and Little Prickly Pear have been clearing up and becoming closer to becoming fishable with dries. Above is a picture of the Dearborn, taken on my float yesterday, the visibility was about a foot and a half and even better than that today. Taylor is doing a two day float hopefully picking up a few fish and enjoying the beautiful scenery.
The flows of the Missouri River have increased immensely over the past few days, rising nearly 3,500 CFS in three days. What exactly has this done to the fishing? Well the answer is not too grim, while the river was on the rise the fish were a bit tougher to catch due to the milkiness, or loss of clarity that occurred during that time period. But, on a positive note, the flow has been rather steady since yesterday around noon. With a flow of 11,100 CFS today, our shuttle crew has seen many boats hooked up with fish, leading the Cross Currents team to believe that although the fishing was on the tough side yesterday, it has continued to produce as the water returns an unclouded state. With this being said, nymph rigs will need to be lengthened an addition six inches to a foot and the amount of weight should be increased to get the fly down in this speedier current. It can be effective to use a heavier first fly such as a wire worm for this purpose.
Streamers were producing best yesterday in the evening when little else seemed to be working. Most hits occurred close to the bank in slow moving water and when the streamer was swung off the bank and into the quicker current closer to the middle of the river. These hits were on very flashy white, olive or black patterns such as Sparkle Minnows, Darth Zonkers, or just a large Crystal Bugger. Good luck on the water leave comments telling us about how your days were on the river.