Here is a much needed Missouri River fishing report! It has already been an incredibly crazy year here on the MO. We had a very mild January and spent a lot of time with some quality winter fishing…then February came in with some serious winter force. Once we were able to claim a few of our boat ramps back from the considerable amount of lower elevation snow, we took to the river and the fish were happy to see our flies. In April we saw our cfs on the MO climb to the mid 11,000s and it took the fish some time to adjust. Early May is upon us, the water temps are in the mid 40s, the weather is all over the place, midges are still present, and BWOs have started to show. Our current flows are in the low 10,000cfs range here below Holter.
The nymph game is still the most dominant technique to get steady production on a fish at the end of your line. Steel worms in size 4 or 6 as a lead fly, Caviar Scuds or Tungsten Firebead sows in size 14 or 16 also as a lead fly, then trail an unweight size 14 Tailwater sow, a 14 or 16 Cotton Candy sow….these have been some of the most productive fly patterns in our boats the last few days. I’ve mixed in a red zebra midge in a few of the locations on the river, pink lightning bugs, love bugs, and now mayfly patterns in the afternoon. For your mayfly patterns; the micro may, two-bit hooker, panty dropper, radiation baetis, military may, and psycho may are all patterns to gravitate towards. Hug tight to the inside bends and keep those indicators fairly close to you. As the BWOs become more dominant, start searching in those foam lines near the swirly water, the trout will begin to line up for that more buffet style action!
The dry fly game is difficult right now with the current flows, but not entirely impossible. You’ll have to really look for the softer water with bugs present to find some noses, and that type of soft water is few and far between. If you do find some noses, don’t overthink it, a simple parachute adams will probably get the eat, but throwing specific BWO dries with a sprout baetis emerger or a snowshoe emerger behind your lead dry fly will also get the eat. Just keep in mind, finding a nose right now is a bonus, I wouldn’t make dry fly fishing your primary technique on the MO right now.
Streamer fishing is also present, but like the dry fly fishing, you have to target specific water. Kreelex patterns, sparkle minnows, urchin buggers, and Doc’s Articulator patterns should all turn fish right now.
Just keep casting away out there….our temps continue to rise and with that the fishing keeps getting better and better. If you are near either of our shops, be sure to stop in and say hello!