Missouri River Dry Fly Fishing

The MO is low (3280 cfs) and warm (mid 60s), with the best fishing happening early in the day. The river is still under hoot owl restrictions so please fight fish hard, get ‘em in quickly and then leave them in the water. That being said, there is the usual late summer dry fly action. Fish are still up and eating Tricos and a smattering of terrestrials.

Nymphing: You can either throw junky flies or get somewhat technical and nymph a small Trico pattern. Small, dark, and dense nymphs are the go to if you’re looking to fish an 18 or a 20. You can also mix in the odd Pheasant Tail or Frenchie on some days. Otherwise, little Green Machines, Zebra Midges and such are getting eaten, especially in the relatively weed-free water below the dam. Elsewhere, grass is certainly an issue. That doesn’t mean you can’t fish down lower, but be prepared to pick off river cabbage if you go subsurface. And make sure you bring some crayfish patterns.

Dry flies: The Trico fish are still out there, but they won’t always eat your Trico spinner. If they’re being picky, try an ant or a beetle fished with a good reach cast. Maybe a caddis? Twitch one sporadically in the fast stuff. A good drift will win the day right now. The Missouri ain’t exactly a secret, and the trout here have seen more flies than you have at this point. On the other end of the dry fly spectrum, the hopper bite as been decent. The fish are looking for them fairly early in the morning if you throw it in the right water. Look for roiled, swirling riffles with a gravel bottom.

Other bulletins: Looks like the hoot owl restrictions have reduced angler traffic, but please be mindful of the health of the fishery. Stop at 2 PM, if not before. Sunscreen and sun protection are key this time of year. Bring plenty of water and be ready for some smoky haze out there. A Buff is a great idea. Fight, handle, and release fish as quickly as possible. Use a no-touch, quick-release tool for removing flies, like the Snively “No Spook” or a Ketchum Release. Shop hours are 6-6 for a while. Free coffee and semi-intelligent shop banter guaranteed

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