Welcome to your Missouri River Fishing Report from Craig, Montana

Flows below Holter Dam: 6810 CFS (median 6450) // Water Temp: about 51F

The rains are back in #CraigAmerica! True to form, this spring has been totally crazy weather-wise here in Montana. Last week we had amazing 75 degree temps with blue bird sunny skies and now we’re back down to 60 degrees with a lot of thunderstorm action, including rain. We’ve been doing this dance for a couple months! On the weather front, it looks like we’ll see a lot of rainy days over the next week. We’re not complaining though, because all the moisture will keep the river flowing through the summer. In addition to the wacky weather, we have seen the flows bump up a bit in the last few days. Right now the river is pumping 6810 cubic feet of water per second, that’s up from 5,000 last week. Does it affect the fishing? Yes, wading fishing is now becoming more difficult. Flows coming in from Toston have slowed and so has its release with a current discharge of 8930 CFS (median 9930).


The temps have been consistently rising over the past two weeks, with 51 degree water currently running out of Holter Dam. That is perfect for this time of year! We have started to see caddis hatching down river from Mid Canon already. But caddis aren’t known for digging the cold and rainy weather so it may be a while until they hatch river wide. Luckily, we have plenty of other bugs hatching en masse to keep us satisfied.

Here’s what’s been happening in each of the angling techniques:

Dries: For the die hard dry fly guys, things have been a little tougher than we’re used to this time of year. We attribute most of that to the finicky weather. There is light at the end of tunnel because Blue-Winged Olives love cloudy weather and we’re supposed to be seeing a lot of that in the coming weeks. As far as patterns go, we like to keep it simple: Purple Haze and Olive HI-Vis Spinners in 16 and 18. In addition to BWOs, March Brown have been coming off consistently. If you’ve never fished March Brown dries on the MO, you have got to come out and experience it! It’s one of the only times throughout the year that we see fish rising to size 14 and 12 Parachute patterns. It’s epic!

Nymphs:  If you’ve got the dry fly blues, do not be hesitant to get into the nymphing game – it’s been exceptional as of late. The most successful guides are running wire worms with either a scud pattern or smaller beadhead nymph trailed behind. We do sell a couple different varieties of worms and scuds, but we tend to prefer our worms with a hot bead in the middle and our scuds with a hot bead on the head. Come into our Helena or Craig locations and we can show you exactly what we’re throwing and our new special nymph rigs we have been tying up this season.

Streamers: For those who like to fish big ugly streamers, things have been inconsistent at best. But we should start to see better fishing with streamers as we get more consistent cloudy days over the next week. We did have two members of our staff out fishing streamers down low in the Prewett Creek to Pelican Point stretch of the river with some success. If you’re fishing from a boat, definitely focus on the bank water and any shallow runs dropping off into deeper buckets. If you are a walk wader, strip your flies through riffle water about two-four feet in depth and you should find some willing fish.

Give us a call in Craig to get the most recent river reports from our staff. And if you’re interested in fishing some of those small streams that opened up on Saturday the 21st, call our Helena staff and they’ll give you all the info you need.

~Happy Spring Fishing

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