Missouri River Rainbow with shop dogThe fishing out here on the Missouri has responded well to the interlude of autumn weather we’ve had. In standard Montana fashion, we’ve seen 3 seasons within the last 7 days. We are excited for the week ahead though, as mother nature seems to be giving us a respite from brutal cold. Expect highs in the high 40s/low 50s and the occasional rain/snow shower. Enough about the sky though, let’s get into the fishing.

Dry Fly Fishing: The Pseudos won’t quite leave us alone, but the Baetis are (mercifully) gaining traction. I’ve seen some thick pods of fish slurping away recently. The Baetis have a strong preference for cloudy days with less wind. The fish have been fairly generous recently on top, with the D&D BWO Cripple in #20 being my number one bug. I’m also still chucking the Snowshoe Baetis in 18-20. If you want a change of pace (or own a switch rod) try swinging small emergers through working fish. Caddis are sparse, but the odd fish is still chewing a well-twitched tan bug in 16-18. I like Dell’s Point Caddis, X-Caddis, and the venerable Corn-Fed Caddis for that particular deal. Bigger caddis are great for holding up a dropper, and you never know when a gnarly old brown is going to wallop your #12 orange stimulator. Dry fly prospectors are rolling Adams and Purple Para-Wulffs over flats and runs with some success. Bug activity is concentrated in the afternoons, usually around 1:30. The upper river has been the ticket for better Baetis fishing, but they should be getting stronger in the canyon soon.

Missouri River Drift Boat

Streamer Chucking: The streamer bite has rallied. The fish are colored up and feisty. They are eating in both sunny and cloudy conditions, though the cloud cover usually takes it up a notch. As a general rule, I like flashy fellas such as the Kreelex Minnow in sunshine or mixed cloud/sun. Trout actually tore one of mine apart yesterday on a float trip. Then they kept eating after it started to disintegrate. The cloud cover gives you a chance to upsize your presentation and mess around with different colors. I’ve leaned on Doc’s Articulator to turn some nice fish recently. The fish in the upper river are less bank-oriented than those in the lower. Check out runs with depth, pace, and a mix of gravel/grass. Unweighted streamers over the grass mats can get ’em.

We’re still open here from 8-5 to help you have a great day on the river or book a trip! We’ve got free coffee, fly shop banter, and the best staff around.

2 Responses to Missouri River Fishing Report- 10/16/19
  1. Interested in mid March fishing

    • Dave,

      Thank you for contacting CrossCurrents Fly Shop! Please give our Helena shop a call at (406)449-2292 and we can discuss a mid March fishing trip with you.



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