Bill and Ed’s Big Adventures is back in wonderful Craig, MT for another season on the Missouri River. This winter, the river fished very well to all techniques. Low and slow streamer patterns, small midge and pink nymphs, as well as surface midge action were reported as providing excellent days on the water from November through February. Conditions have changed slightly with the raise in flows (currently 6,500cfs). Hatches and other aquatic trout foods remain consistent this time of year. Midges abound and scuds and worms will keep the trout happy until BWOs start swimming around under there. Fish may take some time adjusting to higher flows but you can find them in the same water as usual until more severe changes come about. Success comes to those willing to adjust the depth of their rigs and the speed at which the flies get to the bottom, so reload on split-shot.
Some nymph patterns that have been producing here include:
- Zebra Midges 18-20
- Scuds 12-18
- Wire and SanJuan Worms 10-14
- Pink Lightning Bug 14-18
- Firebead anything 16-20
- Czech Nymphs 14-18
Streamer fishing has producing fair numbers with ranging techniques. This is a popular time to swing buggers on the MO. Twitching baitfish patterns along the bottom of deep holes will pick up hungry, pre-spawning bows and some piscivorous browns. I have heard reports of people picking them up with faster strips and big streamers too. There isn’t a magic streamer pattern right now but I recommend white and flashy patterns or any style of bugger. I would definitely recommend using a sinking Versi-Leader to help get your streamer down. They are a super simple way to make a “sink tip” line with your floating fly line for only $10-$15 bucks. If you haven’t seen or used these before, stop by either shop and we’ll show you how easy they are to use.
Good luck on the water! Please comment and let us know what works for you out there.