If variety is the spice of life, the MO is plenty spicy right now. The upper river is flowing clean and is more crowded. The lower river below the Dearborn is dirty and has fewer boats going over it. That being said, there are fish being caught all up and down the system right now. Just make sure you’re willing to adjust to whatever the MO throws your way.
Dry fly fishing is fair to good with better days ahead. The bugs have largely been out in the afternoons and evenings. There are still Baetis mayflies around, and those continue to get attention from rising fish. If you get a refusal on a standard dry (Hi Vis Spinners, Flash Cripples and D&D Cripples are good), go to a CDC or Sprout Emerger in an 18. Caddis are in the mix as well, and a Corn Fed Caddis in 16 or 18 has put some nice trout in the net recently. A few March Browns are hanging around, but the big event we’re all looking forward to is the PMD hatch. They should be getting here soon, so keep your eyes out in the coming days!
The nymph game strongly depends on water clarity. Downstream, that means Zirdles and worms in the off-color water. Chuck ’em at the bank, especially behind rocks, sticks, and anything else that breaks up the current. See the picture below for those results.
Fish have started to spread out across different water types, but don’t neglect inside bends and slower pools. Above the Dearborn, the nymph game is defined by sowbugs and Baetis nymphs. Tailwater Sows, Rainbow Sows, and Cotton Candies represent the standard sow to a T. Try ‘em in a 14 or even a 16. Baetis nymphs are running smaller, with most folks throwing a 16-20 off the back of a sow.
Folks flinging freakishly big flies are finding a fair few willing eaters. Alternatively, that means the streamer bite has been decent. The hot streamer colors remain olive, white, and black. The Doc’s Articulator come in all of those colors and has turned up some gorgeous slabs of Missouri River butter recently. Huck ’em at the bank in low light. It’s ok to move them quickly now that we’re at 52 degrees water temp.
We’re open 7-7 out here in Craig every day of the week, and open 9-6 Tuesday through Friday in Helena. The Helena shop opens at 8 AM Saturday morning. We’ve got free coffee and friendly shop folks at both spots. See you on the water soon!