MISSOURI RIVER FISHING REPORT: The weather of late has been cooler and cloudier, and the fish have responded in kind. The fishing has been rock solid much of the last week as the caddis and PMD hatches roll and the fish spread out over the gravel runs. The whole river is in play right now, though the smaller fish have done their typical thing and shown up in the canyon in some numbers (not to say there aren’t still some nice trout down there). Blind fishing the dry has entered into the equation, which is a fun way to cover a lot of the shallower, faster edges of the flats. It’s choose your own adventure deal out there right now.
Nymphing: The golden summer standard one-two punch nymph is some kind of caddis pupa to a PMD nymph. Colors on the pupa range from the Purple Weight fly to a gold/green Czech nymph. Most folks are finding success with caddis around #14-16 fished from 4-5’ below the indicator. As the fish continue to wise up, it’s a good idea to try and use the smallest, most sensitive indicator you can. PMD nymphs include all of the usual suspects: Frenchies, Lightning Bugs, MFGs, Two Bit Hookers, and Split Cases. One of those in a 16-18 should do the trick. A final thought on fishing the subsurface fly: don’t be afraid to try different runs in the low water. If there are 6 boats in a line doing one thing, try something else. The river system handles pressure well, but particular areas that get hammered will go quiet in a hurry. Break the rut and be the lone operator out there. If you’ve got gravel, grass, and current, you’re probably fishing at fish.
Dry flies: Pretty strong PMD hatch in the upper river most mornings. The wind will dictate how easy your day will be. The only fly you really and truly need is a Rusty Spinner in an 18, but you can also roll with a Film Critic or other such cripple if you must. I like to keep my fly selection super simple, which shifts my focus to the more important undertaking: getting the right cast and drift. Have you practiced your reach cast lately? You’ll need to bring a good one here this year in the low, clear water. The caddis hatch has been good, especially in the stretch from Mtn Palace to Prewett. Throw a CDC style pattern to prospect, but keep a few floatier ones for twitching and swinging. Honestly, a small Chubby fills that niche as well as anything else.
BLACKFOOT RIVER FISHING REPORT: Many of the staff and our Guides have been floating and fishing the Blackfoot over the past couple of weeks as the flows have dropped (rather quickly!) into floatable and fishing conditions. The big bugs are out! (That would be Salmonflies) but they have peaked and starting to wane. Fish are still looking up for big orange bugs, like Chubbies, so it’s still good right now. You’ll also see Green Drakes, PMDs, Yellow Sallies and Caddis buzzing around on the Big B. A good technique is to fish a big Chubby and drop nymph 1′-3′ behind that. Our top picks for the Blackfoot right now: DRIES: Chubbies (#6-#10 for Salmonflies, #12-#14 for Caddis, Yellow Sallies or just as an attractor). #8-#14 Purple Haze or Parachute Adams, Gould’s Half-Down Salmonfly. NYMPHS: #8-#12 Rubber Leg Nymph, #10-#14 Pheasant Tail, San Juan Worms, #10-#14 Flash-Back Hare’s Ear. STREAMERS: #6-#8 Thin Mint Bugger, Sparkle Minnows, Kreelex Minnows, Rubber Buggers. (Not a very complex fly selection really, just get good drifts very close to objects (like rocks and logs on the shoreline and those mid-river shelf’s and boulders.)
FYI- We do rent rafts and trailers for folks that know how to row and want to float and fish the Blackfoot. (Especially, since the Smith is done for this season!) We have a fleet of 3 AIRE Super Pumas and 2 NRS Otter Dodger XLs that are perfect for maneuvering down the Blackfoot! Give us a call if you are interested in renting a raft -both to rent or to purchase.
Other bulletins: It’s busy out there. Be relaxed, be courteous, and be friendly. As we heat up, please bring plenty of water and sunscreen for the summer weather. Shop is open here to set you up for success everyday from 7-7. We’re out there on the water every day, so swing by for the most up to date info and some top notch customer service.
Good luck out there and enjoy your time on the water!
Report by: Henry Hoffman & Chris Strainer