22 May 2020
May 22, 2020
THANK YOU to all Veterans who served this country and gave ALL for our FREEDOM and LIBERTY!! Please remember those who gave us the freedom to enjoy a long weekend -it’s not just one more day to have a vacation or a BBQ. Please take time to pause and humbly remember those who died for our freedom and their families. Often the meaning of Memorial Day gets washed over as another day of vacation and BBQ’s and the “start of summer” but it’s much more than that.
BIG NEWS for Non-Residents traveling to Montana to fish!! Starting June 1st, WELCOME! No 14-day quarantine required! (Unless you are not feeling well or have been around someone that may have exposed you to Covid-19! -Then stay home, stay safe, recover if needed and postpone your trip.). Our Guides are raring to show you how awesome the fishing is here on the MO and other rivers (once runoff abates) Call, or click to inquire about booking a Guide Day or a Rental Boat or some Lodging here on the MO.
Well folks, the recent rains have changed conditions on the river. The water levels have crept up here throughout the week, and we anticipate higher water here in the days ahead. The Dearborn has blown out and is sending in a torrent of mud. It did crest yesterday, and looks to be on the drop this weekend barring more rain. At press time it was running at 1660 CFS, so the lower river is out of the fishing equation for a few days. Expect a busy upper river on this holiday weekend. Expect runoff to really get going next week, when we see some daytime temperatures above 80.
Dry flies– The bump in flows these past few days has messed with the dry fly game somewhat. If the water stabilizes, look for fish to continue eating Baetis. I suspect that the March Browns are not going to grace us with their presence too much longer, so keep your eyes peeled for your last few opportunities on the bigger bug. Deploy long leaders with standard Baetis fare on the business end of your tippet. Keep your eyes out for fish working in the afternoon and evening. If it’s nice and cloudy, they will rise earlier in the day.
Nymphing– Nymphing is certainly the main game in town right now. With fishing traffic concentrated in the upper river, the classic nymph runs are getting a workout. Sowbugs are a staple bug, and a great starting point for figuring out the nymph bite on any given day. Hot bead bugs are still a valid play, especially up by the dam. I’d start around 6’ deep with two sows and adjust from there. Mix in Baetis patterns and worms. Throw the dirt snake below the Little Prickly Pear. That tiny tributary is kicking in some dirty water, but the river below it is fishable. Rocking a wire worm as a lead fly is a good way to add some serious weight to your rig. The shortleash bite has been a great option later on in the day. Target dry fly flats, seams, and riffles. Double down on your go-to Baetis patterns for this deal.
Streamers– The streamer bite has been good under the right conditions. Lots of fish are starting to move to the banks, which increases your shot of crossing paths with a big, cantankerous brown trout. I’ve been really liking flashier patterns of late, and I’d pay special attention to the tailouts of seams off of the banks. Kreelexes, Articulators, and flies of that ilk will move some larger trout.
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: We are shuttling some folks this weekend, but it’s a pleasure float right now. Wait for it to drop if you want to fish. Call us in Craig (406-235-3433) to arrange your shuttle and get updates on the water levels. The flows are at a level where your rowing skills need be good to navigate the river and you should be wearing your PFD for safety. You also should not go on this river without a Rescue Throw Bag! (We do sell a variety of PFD’s and Rescue Throw Bags in our Craig store.) Three critical safety items you need on the river: 1- Your Brain! (plan ahead, know what to do in an emergency You shouldn’t drive under the influence and you shouldn’t boat under the influence). 2- Wearing a proper PFD! 3- Have handy and know how to use a Rescue Throw Bag!
SMITH RIVER: Fishing Report for the Smith River. Well… It’s super floatable and did we mention that the canyon is one of the most beautiful places on earth?!! Cause the water is big and brown. The flow did jump up but it’s crested and is on the drop now. It will be very challenging to catch fish in the main stem now but not impossible. Short leash a Turd and Worm under a 1″ Thingamabobber Nymph Rig or 1″ Air-Lock and throw that tight to the soft banks and inside seams and you should find a hungry fish looking for those tasty bites. When I say Short Leash, I mean short -a foot to a max of 2′ from bobber to first bug -and DO NOT use any split shot while you are floating and fishing. (Add a BB or 3/0 Split Shot and slide that bobber up to about 4′-6′ deep when you get out and wade fish those soft, inside bends.) This is also good with a Bugger and a Worm. Use 0X Tippet on the first fly and 1X Tippet on the second fly. Those fish aren’t leader shy. 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! The one good thing about these higher flows is you won’t have to worry about dragging your raft or getting stuck on rocks anywhere on the float. You’ll cruise right over top of them. Since the fishing will be on the tough side, just try to sit back and relax and enjoy the scenery, wildlife and your float-mates (maybe they are the wildlife!).
BLACKFOOT RIVER: Gargantuan. Massive. Avoid for safety’s sake. Leave it to the crazy kayakers for now.
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