Missouri River Fishing Report: It’s Spring on a high snow pack year so the MO is flowing heavy -more than twice the normal CFS. It’s at 12,400 cfs today when “normally” (whatever that means these days) it’s at 5,500. They (the Dam people) are calling for 12,900 by this weekend. The water out of the dam is clear with just a few, small weeds from the lake drift by every once in a while. Great fishing up there on long leaders. The main tribs- Little Prickly Pear and Dearborn are cranking right now and puking lots of muddy water and debris. It’s not bad below LPPC as the mud hangs tight to river-left for a few miles and really only mixes river-wide right at Craig. Most of us are fishing river-right.
The Dearborn is pumping out at over 1500 cfs and most people are staying above that river -so the Dearborn Ramp is a busy take out. It’s not that you can’t catch fish below the Dearborn, it’s just that it’s a bit tougher and the water is definitely off-color when it mixes river-wide at Mid-Cannon. Though this doesn’t seem like ideal water for fishing, there are still plenty of fish being brought to net. Visibility in the water is low so you really have to put the flies in close proximity to the fish. Using flashy visible flies is always a good choice, as well as flies using hotspots (hot orange or pink beadheads, thread or dubbing). Use one of our Thingamabobber Nymph Rigs and add 6′ of 2X off of that, then 1′ of 3X off of the 2X. Tie on your heavy bug (Wire Worm, Tungsten Bead fly) on the 3X. Then tie 15″ of 4X off of the first fly and tie on your dropper bug (#14-#18 Tailwater Sowbug both w/ and w/o a bead, Firebead Caviar Scud, Lightning Bug, Superflash PT, Green Machine, etc.) Fish this set up in the slower, deeper, inside bends. You’ll want to add 1, 2 or even 3 BB Split Shot on the 2X above the knot. Set your depth between 7′ and 10′. Not the easiest to cast but she fishes!
Water: 12,400cfs (normally 5500). Clear from Dam a few miles down from Little Prickly Pear. Stained from just above Craig to just above Mid-Cannon. Muddy from Mid-Cannon down.
Weather: Clouds for the second half of this week with better chance for rain on Saturday. Winds have been totally manageable and are out of the South.
Hatches: Midges (mega amounts of midges!!), Beatis (tons when the clouds are overhead), very few March Browns
Report by: -Aaron Loomis -Chris Strainer
DEARBORN RIVER Report: It’s very muddy with lots of debris and has been on the rise this week. At 1500cfs and rising, that makes for hazardous floating conditions. We do not recommend floating it this week or weekend unless it starts to drop. Remember too, that it’s CLOSED TO FISHING until the 3rd Saturday in May (the 19th -that Craig Caddis Fest day!!) When you float it, bring lots of layers in dry bags, GOOD rain gear and a VERY GOOD Repair Kit. There’s lots of new woody debris in that river and that poses a higher puncture hazard than normal. FYI- We do run shuttles on the Dearborn as well as the Missouri. This year’s price from Hwy 287 to Mid-Cannon is $60.
SMITH RIVER Report: Last week when the river hit about a grand and then dropped to 700 it fished very well. It’s been on the rise for the past 6 days and is now at a level that makes for quick floating and difficult stopping. (Smith River Streamflow) The fishing will be poop for a while until the flows start to drop again. I’ve been on the Smith at higher flows than this (over 3000cfs!) and we only tried fishing at the mouth of Tenderfoot. After that, we just made it into a float trip. One year I launched at 1100 but it was dropping a bit everyday and it fished great! The Smith fishes very tough on the rise. At flows in this range and rising, you need to be careful of debris and trees getting swept into the current. Beaver chewed wood and whole trees don’t play well with inflatables. I would still go at this flow but know that it will a float trip rather than a fishing trip. You’ll need to plan ahead when you want to stop and it’s often a team effort to pull ashore and tie off. Be very careful where you drop an anchor!
Our other Online Fishing Report on Orvis.com: Missouri River Fishing Report