Despite what it feels like, it is indeed actually the month of April. To many, it doesn’t feel like April at all, and it’s not because of the weather. COVID-19 is to blame for the ghost towns surrounding many of your local fly shops. No shops open to walk in, online or phone orders only, no shuttle services currently running; but Spring is in the air, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the trout are biting, and the world despite what the news media is pumping out, is still turning. So with that said, what’s working on the MO right now?
April is definitely one of the most fun months to fish the Missouri. With her cool water temps still, you can focus on classic winter like water for nymphing. Slow and deep water behind a riffle or the inside bend of curve in the river are great places to target the fish. If you hit a fish in a certain spot, take note, odds are that fish isn’t alone, in fact it is probably far from being alone. Hot nymphs right now are the Caviar Scud in a size 12 or 14 if that is your lead fly, 16 or 18 if that is your bottom fly. Tungsten Firebead Sows, Firebead Rainbow Czechs, the Amex and the Pederson Sow are other great lead fly options. For the bottom bug, use a UV Sow, a Tailwater Sow, or the Cotton Candy(which is a pink sow). Other great bottom bug options are the Cotton Candy (Wilcox) fly which is pretty much a hot pink Little Green Machine, or the Pink Lightning Bug. Since we are indeed approaching a transition period where we will begin to start seeing some mayfly activity in the water as that temp begins to warm up, fly patterns like the Frenchie, Little Green Machine, Two Bit Hooker, Radiation Baetis, and other various mayfly patterns will begin to start working.
If you’re looking for some dry fly action, it is starting to happen. The midge hatches have been great out there and fish are beginning to consistently look up. Cluster Midges, Buzzballs, and Corn Fed Caddis are all great options for working midge hatches. Yes I did say a Corn Fed Caddis, we use that as one of our go to midge clusters for the Missouri River. Try it! You’ll be glad you did. As we get deeper into April and approach May, watch that water temp. As the MO begins to heat up into the 40s we should start seeing some BWO activity, and as it get’s into the mid 40s we should start seeing trout keying in on them.
Streamer action is happening too, but like always it can be hit or miss. Doc’s Articulators, Urchin Buggers, Sparkle Minnows, and Kreelex patterns are all some of our favorites. Shop staff favorite pick is probably the purple Sparkle Minnow, there is just something about purple.
If you’re planning a trip to the MO sometime this year and need some help deciding which flies to get, try our Missouri River Fly Assortment. It will be a collection of all the good bugs for the time period that you’ll be here.
We thank everyone for your online orders during this tough time we are all going through. Chris and I are working hard to get even more fly patterns on our website so you have as many options as possible to order from. We are trying to get the most pertinent for the current conditions patterns up first. Flies, leader and tippet, fly floatant, and split shot are all available online.