With the arrival of Fall in Montana, the Missouri River is feeling the cooler temps at night, which is cranking the heat up on the fishing! There is excellent dry fly, nymph, and streamer fishing from Holter Dam all the way down to Cascade.
The most productive method to catch a lot of fish is by far nymphing. Wire worms and San Juan worms are working extremely well, try these flies in shallow runs and on flats, only a couple feet from your indicator to the first fly. Other flies that are working well are sowbugs, zebra midges, military mays, lovebugs, czech nymphs, and superflash pheasant tails. The fish are eating well, so if you go through a fishy run that you would have expected to catch a fish, you better change things up! We like to change the depth before we change a fly, sometimes all it takes is shallowing up or getting that fly a little deeper that makes the difference. There are a lot of insects on the river right now, just yesterday we floated through two great clouds of mayflies with caddis mixed in, so a variety of small slender mayfly patterns will work, don’t get stuck on just one pattern!
Wind or no wind, you can still find a lot of fish showing us noses, slurping up bugs! Watch the banks as you float the river for pods and check slower side channels for actively feeding fish. Small baetis cdc dry fly patterns have been working well, and if you trail some sort of emerger pattern closely off the back you’ll increase your takes, a sprout baetis or an RS2 are great choices.
Fly List: #6-8 Wire Worms, #10-12 San Juan Worms, #18 Military May, #18-20 Lovebug, #18-20 Zebra Midge, #16 Czech Nymph, #16 Superflash Pheasant Tail, #18 Sowbugs. #18-20 CDC Parachute BWO, #18-20 CDC Baetis Dun,#18-20 Parachute Adams, #20 Sprout Baetis Emerger, #20-22 RS2