We are really enjoying the atypically low flows right now. With the MO at around 4900 cfs (normally around 5800), the dry fly bite has been picking up significantly, and the cloudy days of late have resulted in some banner sessions. Weather dictates how many fish will be up, but a few devoted anglers are finding rising fish under all conditions. If you’re planning a trip, pray for rain -or at least clouds. If you’re planning a trip here in the next few days, the forecast looks highly favorable through early next week. If you’re not planning a trip (and you live in the area), shake free from your obligations and hit the river.  We have plenty of Guides raring to take out resident anglers!
Missouri River Brown Trout

Schools always in session when Principal Cooley is on the boat!

Dry flies The Baetis continues to be the headline bug, with March Browns factoring in a good deal in the afternoon and evening. While fish keyed in on the smaller mayfly can be head-scratching to cast to, the trout eating March Browns are operating off of their baser instincts. Roll a confidence bug (mine include the Copper/Purple Haze) over their snouts and watch some of the bigger fish move out of their way to chow it. Heck, I’ve even started using brown Ausable Wulff in a #14 for the sake of durability and visibility. The BWO hatch is not quite as simple, which keeps things interesting. Mix in duns, emergers, and cripples on fish that are keyed in on the little flies. I really like a two fly set-up for the sake of visibility. This bite has been best in low light, so having a larger fly in front is very helpful.
March Brown and Baetis Dun

Lots of sailboats on the MO right now!

Nymphing Nymphing continues to be solid and the way to rack up a body count -should one be inclined to fishing gluttony.  (One of the seven deadly fly fishing sins -unless you’ve been cooped up for 2 months and you’re ready to battle some trout! -Just remember to treat them well, #keepfishwet and use a Snively No-Touch No-Spook Hook Release Tool -whoa! We spun a shameless sales pitch in the middle of our fishing report!)  In all seriousness, Nymphing in the AM before the noses start showing in the PM.  Put on a pair of Firebead flies (Caviar Scud, Pederson Sow, Firebead Czech, Firebead Rays, Firebead Sowbug) and/or a Sowbug or Lightning Bug and drop them 4’-7’ deep below a bobber and split shot until the early afternoon. (Okay, you can call it an Indicator.  FYI- we now have Airlocks back in stock!!!  -Another shameless plug -but they’ve been more scarce for the past year than toilet paper in April!)  When you start to see some bugs hatching, switch over to a lighter, short-leash rig (no weight, Pinch-On Indicator 2’-4’ from your flies).  Use Baetis and March Brown type nymphs, preferable with a tungsten bead but NO split shot.  Pyscho May, Radiation Baetis, Two-Bit Hooker, Green Machine, Pheasant Tail, etc.  Size 14 for the March Brown, size 18 for the Baetis.
Missouri River Rainbow Trout

Mama Cooley is all smiles on the Missouri!

Streamers The big bug bite has been a touch sporadic of late, with no one pattern dominating the streamer scene. I’m always partial to yellow or olive bugs like a mini dungeon or a Doc’s Articulator. As a general rule, this is a cloud cover game, with the bite typically shutting down during periods of bright sun. As the water temperature heats up to 50 the fish are getting more active on the faster banks. Look for hard ledges with some current. One of my favorite casts out of the boat is actually slightly upstream and parallel to the bank. This shows the fly to all of the fish holding along a given drop off, and can cover more fishy water than pulling your streamer off of the bank at a perpendicular angle.
If you want to make sure you’ve got the right ammo for your day(s) on the MO, just order one of our custom Missouri River Fly Assortments and use the Coupon Code – freepickup -and we’ll put together the exact flies you need for your exact days on the water and pick them up here in our Craig store.  You’ll save money and time and practice good social distancing by just making a quick swing into the shop and pick up your bag of goodies.
DEARBORN RIVER:  Today is the opener to actually fish on the Dearborn -and most other small streams in Montana.  I would toss a #10 or #12 Chubby or a Rubber Leg Nymph and a Worm.  You’ll tell us how the fishing is ‘cause no one has fished it to date.  We are running Shuttles for those wanting to float the Dearborn.  Call us in Craig (406-235-3433) and arrange your shuttle. You call, we haul!
SMITH RIVER:  Is in great shape for Nymphing and Streamers.  We’ve got several Rental Rafts currently on there now.  We’ll have more intel when they get off but you can be assured, your best friend on the Smith for this time of year is the Worm!  The Rubber Leg Nymph is also a tasty fly in this higher flows.  Don’t plan on much/any dry fly action until the river drops more.  Those are tough fish, so don’t think with a foot, give or take, of visibility, that you won’t be able to catch fish.  They are used to off-color water.  Put that fly in front of them and they’ll eat.  Streamers dead drifted down seams is another good way to find fish right now.  You can make sure you get the right flies for what’s happening by ordering one of our custom Smith River Fly Assortments that we put together for your trip!
BLACKFOOT RIVER:  It’s a whitewater gig over there right now.  Big and muddy.  Be patient and you will be rewarded when it’s time!
More shameless promo:  Use Coupon Code:  maywarmsale  to get 25% Off your purchase of most of our Outerwear in our webstore!  Coupon expires on May 31, 2020.
Tight Lines Everyone!
Hoffman, Strainer, Fields & the CCFS Team

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