Missouri River Brown Trout
After a week of moderate rain and a spike in output from the powers that be at Holter Dam, the Mo’ is on the drop and shaping up to fish nicely as we enter the heart/heat of June. Deep nymphing is rock-solid (as per usual for the high water of June). PMDs and caddis are hatching on every stretch of the river. The weather is beautiful. Call in sick to your Zoom meetings, hone your reach cast, and hit the water- Montana summer is here.
Dry flies– The PMDs are now daily! We are approaching what should be a phenomenal dry fly period. Your ability to cast and get good drifts has a more direct impact on the fishing than your flies. Flies still matter- for PMDs, we like the trusty Hi-Vis PMD Spinner and the Zelon Cripple. Use a long leader (10’ and longer) for the best results. Caddis are hither and thither depending on the day. When you see ‘em, throw ‘em. The Corn Fed Caddis is our gold standard with a nice CDC body and a super natural color blend. Look for soft banks and flats during breaks in the wind. The fish are rising at 7,000 CFS, and they’re yours for the catching if you put in the time.
Nymphing Nymphing forms the foundation of high-water fishing. No surprise there. Sowbugs, scuds, and wire worms are an obvious for higher, swifter water, but PMD nymphs are a great second bug on any deep nymphing rig. Start your rigs around 7-8’ and target inside bends. Remember, that water is ripping downstream at these flows. Use lots of weight to get your bugs into the zone. BB sized split-shot are flying off the shelves here. Bigger sowbugs in a #12 are a great first fly or as a second fly behind a wire worm. Though worms will work year round, they really shine in high water. For mayfly patterns, PMD Split Case, Frenchies, and Gold Lightning Bugs will check the box and get it done. We like PMD Nymphs in #14-18 depending on the depth and time of day.
Streamers Streamer fishing means hitting the river on cloudy and often wet days, which means much smaller traffic at the ramp and on the river. Who doesn’t want to catch a gnarly ol’ brown on big bugs with the river to themselves? A little rain is a small price to pay, we think. Target banks with varied retrieves, or swing through tailouts. Don’t disregard the evening streamer bite too. This pattern usually holds up until the river collects some serious grass. Black and olive are my staple evening colors, and yellow is a darn fine choice for the daytime.
DEARBORN RIVER: Darn near done for the year unless we get some more rain. There’s a few inside gravel bars with some nice fish that like Sparkle Minnows.
SMITH RIVER:  Is in great shape for nymphing and streamers. We’ve got several Rental Rafts currently on there now.  We’ll have more intel when they get off but you can be assured, your best friend on the Smith for this time of year is the worm.  The Rubber Leg Nymph is also a tasty fly in the higher flows.  Don’t plan on much/any dry fly action until the river drops more. Streamers dead drifted down seams is another good way to find fish right now.  You can make sure you get the right flies for what’s happening by ordering one of our custom Smith River Fly Assortments that we put together for your trip!
BLACKFOOT RIVER:  Not quite yet, but soon. Patience is a virtue.
We’re here every day of the week from 7-7 with the latest intel, bad fly-fishing jokes, and free coffee in the shop. See you out here!

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