Missouri River fly fishing
Well, we had some nice cool weather but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to stick around. We did see a dip in water temps this week, which has us all excited for fall. However, early next week is going to be a scorcher with highs in the upper 90s. Get on early and get off early on those days. Overall, our fishing conditions have been pretty stable, which makes sense for this time of year. The Trico hatch will give you some heads in the early AM, and after that it’s the usual smattering of hoppers and ants. If you’re a night owl (or you want to avoid the heat) the PM caddis hatch is still pretty good.
Dry flies: The Trico hatch is still driving the dry fly bite before the heat of the day rears its head. Is it as good as it has been some years? Alas, no. Can you still find some very interesting, picky fish to throw a Trico spinner at? Of course. Pearl Butt Spinners and Hi-Vis Spinners are the main deal for this hatch at the moment. Pick mornings without wind and get out there around 7 ish. Look for fish on flats and in seams, but keep in mind they’re not necessarily right on the bank. That concept applies to the hopper fishing also. Be confident rolling the big bugs over some fast mid-river water, especially in the upper river (say, above Stickney and all the way to Holter). 5X tippet for the Trico, 3X for the hopper. Don’t move the Trico at all, but feel free to break that rule with hoppers and other assorted terrestrials.
Nymphing: The nymph bite in the upper river is really good. Black Zebra midges have entered the conversation right around the dam as a serious day-making fly. Elsewhere, the Zirdle bite remains decent in riffles and ripping current. I find myself using the #12 Zirdle as much as the #6 this year. Notably, I’m fishing my rigs without weight just as often as not this time of year. Shallow grass has lots of fish, but is also a real obstacle course if you’ve got a BB split shot in front of your bugs. Do add the weight for the deeper mid-river stuff though. Also mix in: Olive Psycho Mays, Love Bugs, Frenchies, and Pheasant Tails as the fish request.
Streamers: Sheesh, it’s pretty grassy out there for that. Inside bends if you must. Maybe you could get away with it downstream of Pelican if it was cloudy out.
We’ll see you out here at the shop or on the water! Masks in the shop are mandatory per the governor’s orders. We’re open every day from 7-6 and we’re happy to offer some more tips and tactics, or just chat fly fishing any time you stop by or call. The free coffee is getting rave reviews this year, if you need an added incentive.

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