Fall Is aKnockin’
With the one month of summer we had this season, the temps are dropping, and the fishing will be popping! Seriously, though. Spring pushed into mid-July before we saw summer briefly creep in during August as we slip into what appears to be the start of our Fall season. The daily highs have been near 75-77 degrees the past few days. The fish love this! So, if you haven’t fished the MO lately or at all this season, get your butt out here! Tricos, caddis, pseudos, midges! Come throw Streamers! Streamers! Streamers!
When/Where To Fish
The mornings are a good bit cooler now that the evenings are dropping into the 40s. There isn’t exactly a need to rush out to the river first thing, but if you wanna be the first boat on the water, don’t hesitate. The early bird still gets the worm. Streamers first thing in the morning are hot anywhere on the river… banks, middle of the river, stripping, swinging, whatever you want. You will be dealing with weeds, though. So don’t get frustrated. Clean them off, and keep casting!
Tricos are still around. The hatch and spinner fall are both later now, but get out earlier if you can just to make sure you pick the float where the bugs are coming off the water. There are pods of feeding fish. Look for them if you are having difficulty hooking into some. That will be your best bet if all you’re finding is picky, spooky trout, which seem to be everywhere in the river now. These fish will humble you, but don’t let them defeat you. Keep trying to find fish in the river that will eat. They are there, too.
Pseudos and caddis are being seen throughout both the upper and lower sections. Expect to see them coming out more in the early afternoons and into the evenings. You will be able to get eats both on top and below. Nymph the banks and shelves were there are drop offs to find feeding trout underwater. Don’t fish too deep. Additional weight and deep rigs may not be necessary. So if you keep pulling up weeds and snagging, you’re probably too deep.
Tricos, pseudos, and caddis on top, as well as the occasional hopper and ant hatch. For the trico hatch, I recommend trying Pearl butt tricos, cluster midges, CDC hi-vis tricos, double wing tricos, CDC tricos, trico bunny dun, CDC adult midge, and the CDC rusty. These have all been working on and off since the trico bomb went off this season. If one fly isn’t working, try a different pattern that has different characteristics, such as one that rides lower like a spent spinner in the foam or an emerger trying to pop through the surface film.
Pseudos are a very small BWO, so small mayfly patterns will work. Try the CDC hi-vis rusty spinner, CDC hi-vis BWO spinner, Purple Haze, Harrop’s Last Chance Cripple BWO, CDC baetis, BWO CDC captive dun, or the classic adams parachute. Again, small mayfly patterns ranging from #18-22. There are some picky fish out there. If you aren’t a great caster and have difficulty pulling off the reach cast, you may want to look for pods of feeding fish instead of singling out a solo sipper. Solo sippers may have you banging your head against the wall. Refusals happen and you may put some risers down. Don’t give up, but cast to fish within your ability.
The caddis are tan and brown ranging in size from #14-18. My favorite patterns are the stocking winged caddis, flambe caddis, the cornfed caddis, tan micro chubby, Harrop’s Palmered caddis brown, double duck caddis, and Harrop’s CDC caddis emerger. Caddis are best fished close to the banks where you may see them congregated in the afternoons and evenings. I’ve heard of a few fish caught lately while skating the caddis. I haven’t tried it yet myself, but it never hurts to try. Changing techniques along with patterns may sometimes be the ticket to catching picky fish that have seen every fly and their mamas this season. Be creative. Surprise the fish, and they may surprise you with an eat.
Hoppers haven’t been off the charts this season, but with a little help from our not-so-much friend, the wind, they may end up in the river. Grasshoppers can be heard on bright, sunny days flapping and fluttering down the banks and into the pastures. Look for grassy banks on windy days to try your luck at hoppers or ants. Ants have been scattered all over the banks this season, and the slow-sipping browns have been loving them! For hoppers, try the Morrish Hopper, More-or-Less Hopper, Charlie Boy Hopper, the Para Hopper, or the Yeti Hopper. Try all sorts of color patterns… pink, orange, purple, olive, tan, brown, etc. Ants are magic! I’ve truly only been throwing one ant pattern this summer. It’s been the parachute ant with the black and tan body. I’m certain other ant patterns will work like the CDC flying ant, the flying ant, the fur ant, or even the CDC water wasp. Give them all a shot before the winter temps move in.
If you haven’t tried our JetFuel dry fly floatant, stop in and purchase a bottle. This is the best liquid floatant to use on CDC flies and any other fly you want to stay floating when it matters!
If the fish aren’t rising or the wind has the hatches everywhere but on the water, try your luck with nymphing. Chasing bobbers has still proven to be productive as long as you keep them shallow. I’m keeping my rigs between 4-5′ from dropper to bobber with little to no weight and 16″ from point fly to the dropper. Nymphs have been all over the board lately, but what’s been working is the Love Bug, Hogan’s brown S&M, little green machines, zebra midges, brown psycho may, Bloom’s tungsten dart, Two Bit Hooker, Darth Baetis, Birds Nests, and LaFontaine’s sparkle pupa. Crayfish are still being spotted throughout the river. Snapping craws and zirdle bugs are as effective as ever. There are definitely more nymphs that will probably be working now as long as they are small mayfly and midge patterns for tricos, pseudos and midges, as well as, your standard MO caddis nymph patterns.
Have we mentioned that zirdle bugs can be fished as a streamer or a nymph? Only a dozen or so times. We will keep repeating ourselves until that fly stops working. Beside the zirdle, I always love throwing the Kreelex minnow, Doc’s Articulator, the Urchin Bugger, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow, the Sculpzilla, Galloup’s Mini Dungeon, and the wooly bugger. Strip ’em, swing ’em, dead drift ’em… chases and eats have started to pick up on streamers. I encourage you to come out here and give it a try!
Come on out to Craig and rent a drift boat or a raft before our season ends in October so you can get a taste of what Missouri River fishing is all about! We will line you up with all the right gear and flies you will need to have a successful day on the water. Give us a shout at either one of our locations to book a guided float trip while the weather is cool and the fishing is hot!
Tight lines, ya’ll!