The Missouri River is ideal for learning different approaches of fly fishing; nymphing, fishing dry flies, or throwing streamers are all acceptable productive tactics. Here at CrossCurrents, we like to “Over prepare, then go with the Flow”. Not only can we advise what to have in your boat, we will also discuss observing the water and even touch base on having the proper layers so you’re prepared for whatever the Montana weather brings.
Lets talk nymphing. Having the option to fish two flies at a time seems unreal! However, after becoming familiar with casting a nymph set up, you may find yourself with a bent rod when you least expect it. A heavier fly, followed by a dropper fly seems to work best. An easy way to set up your nymph rod is by pairing it with one of our pre-made nymph rigs. See my “Alexia’s Pick” from the last newsletter that talks specifically about the nymph rig here.
When it comes to dry fly fishing on the Missouri, we stick with the two fly method, but our presentations may vary depending on the situations presented to us. If we see a pod of noses that looks entirely to be noses, we’ll run two straight up dry flies. If we see a mix of noses and tails, then we’ll throw a dry as the top fly, with an emerger trailing closely behind (anywhere from 6″-12″). The Missouri can be a buffet to trout, so we can have anywhere from one type of bug to multiple types of bugs hatching at the same time; because of this, we are able to throw caddis and baetis at the same time or any other pattern that represents what the trout are seeing. Dry fly fishing can be a very fun time out here, but it can be frustrating as well when you’re trying to crack the code on what the fish are eating.
As far as streamers go, we use a variety of techniques to get trout to feed. We use everything from two-handed rods when swinging streamers while wade fishing, to single-handed rods when stripping from a boat. Water conditions will dictate how we present our fly. If it’s low water, weight may not be needed; but, if it’s higher flows or maybe we are just trying to probe some deeper water, we will either use more of a weighted streamer or add a weighted versitip to our set up, just be ready to adapt to any situation presented to you.
It’s April, so thinking about our wardrobe on the river is an absolute must; we’re still in fleece pants, two under layers, our waders and wading jackets. A buff helps to have the option to cover your ears over your hat, and protect your face from the wind. Never forget your sunglasses for safety, as well as to see into the water. Bring gloves, in fact, bring several pairs of gloves just in case your primary pair gets wet. Have an extra jacket close, the weather changes unexpectedly here in Montana and having an extra layer can mean a world of difference. There’s nothing wrong with bringing more layers, as you can always peel them off.
We can help push you in the right direction at CrossCurrents by recommending a variety of options whether its nymphs, dry flies, or streamers. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone while fishing the Missouri. This is a great river to learn the different techniques for single-handers and two-handers. Be sure to check out our fishing report in this newsletter or stop by either of our fly shops for the most recent news on which flies or presentations are working best. When staging your boat, and rigging rods for a day out on the Missouri have a nymph rod rigged. Have a streamer rod rigged. Bring your different fly boxes-nymphs, dries, and streamers. Before launching take a moment to walk out on the launch and look around. What bugs do you see? What bugs are on the surface? Do you see Midges? Noses? Hows the wind? Take everything into consideration, but always-“Over prepare, then go with the flow!”