Why not fish the Blackfoot River on your next Missouri River trip? Many traveling anglers fish/stay for 3-5 days fishing only the Missouri River. While the Missouri is the crown jewel of Montana, the best technical dry fly fishery on earth, you may as well jump over the Continental Divide and visit the Blackfoot River too!
Or, why not fish the Blackfoot on your summer visit exclusively? Food for thought? Maybe, and why would you do that? A change of pace, discovering new water, or just to mix up your fishing routine.
Fish the Blackfoot River this year
Many of you know the Blackfoot as just one more of Montana’s fantastic Blue Ribbon rivers. It is a great freestone that runs about many, many miles from the west divide to the college town of Missoula.
We are graced on our staff a couple of fly fishing guides who cut their teeth fishing and guiding in the Missoula area. Peter and Nick are both really familiar with the Blackfoot and enjoy popping over for a day or two or three to their old stomping grounds. Kurt is also well versed on the Blackfoot River putting in lots of time on the oars across the divide.
So while the Blackfoot River is not our bread and butter, it is certainly worth the short drive to a resource where you not only catch several species of trout, you can toss bigger, bushier, floating flies that any angler with aging eyes can see!!
A Freestone River with fantastic scenery
Expect to fish in a beautiful canyon with big tall pines on a classic freestone. Riffle, runs, and pools hold rainbow, cutthroat, brown, cut-bow, and bull trout. While the numbers per mile do not replicate the Missouri’s overwhelming populations, there are plenty of fish in the Blackfoot River. Dry fly fishing is the preferred method over here for most of the season, nymphing and streamer fishing are both very productive.
The reason we like to fish the Blackfoot River is the opportunity to throw huge floating flies like the Chubby Chernoble, Salmon Fly Patterns. Anything with foam and tons of deer hair lashed onto the hook shank. Yep, flies you can see!
Blackfoot River has lots of Hatches
Hatches include the aforementioned Salmon Fly and stoneflies, Drakes, Sallies, Spruce Moths, Mahogany’s Trico’s, tons of caddis, PMD’s, grasshoppers, ants and a few that we certainly don’t have on the Missouri River near Craig. The fishing is not nearly as technical or difficult as the Missouri River. If you like casting at banks, cliff lines, beautiful seam lines with large attractor flies coupled with outstanding scenery you will love the Blackfoot River.
If you like the nymph game you will be relieved that large PT’s Hare’s Ear’s, and Prince nymphs are the norm here. Lots of split and double beaded stones suspended below a bobber will net you several fish out of those great long rambling riffles.
Dries, nymphs, and streamers too
Those of you who are into big articulated steamers and flies as long as your arm, then you too will like the Blackfoot River. Get out of the boat and explore deeper tailouts with your favorite beastly streamer flies.
We start fishing the Blackfoot River just as run-off is receding generally around the middle of June. If we have lower water years a few guys sneak over earlier in the month. By the time July arrives we should be able to fish it during your Missouri River stay or just book a Blackfoot only trip. The Blackfoot fishes well into the fall as well. You may enjoy this under fished resource nearly any period of the fishing season.
You may like to try the Blackfoot River out this year. Add it on to your fly fishing trip to the Missouri River or make it a stand alone trip. Call the shop if you need additional information about this wonderfully scenic & fishy resource just across the divide.
A short video shot and edited last year by Scumliner. The Missouri River Spring Season is upon us and we are so excited to kick off a new year. The Midges have arrived which is enough to get our heart rate up.
Next is the Blue Winged Olive emergence…keep it tuned here for that Missouri River spring hatch event.
All dry fly action from some of the Headhunters staffers. Both shop and guide staff participated in this dry fly bonanza. The Missouri River Spring Season is upon us!
Ed Note: It’s happening right now and getting better. Dry fly fishing is why most come to the Missouri River. In the spring though? Yes, the spring midge hatch is pretty special. Its good now…it’ll be incredible in a few weeks.
We really believe we are ahead of the curve this year and the midge fishing is already fantastic. Not everyday, but often enough to keep our interest level high.
Look for overcast days with light winds. That is the key to your dry fly fishing success. Read the daily weather reports or just give us a shout at the shop 877-DRY-FLYS for up to the minute hatch reports. We’ll give you a good idea on how the wind is treating us on the river.
Midge patterns that work well for us for the Missouri River Spring Season include Griffith’s Gnats, Cluster Midges, Matt’s Pink Wing, Renegade, Parachute Adams, Zebra Midges, WD-40′s, Newman’s Own Midge, Dominick’s Reneball, Purple Haze. Stop in to our downtown Craig fly shop for recommendations from our fishy staff. These folks actually fish the river…lots.
We love the Missouri River Spring Season…
So do the trout.
Missouri River Spring Season
Our annual, and incredibly popular “Missouri River Spring Special”, is here again. In fact, bookings are strong and if you would like to plan a trip to the Missouri River for some early season fishing, we suggest you do it now.
The Spring Special runs from March 15 through April 30. During this time, all guide trips are $300 (reg. $495), and are the same as our regular full-day trip which includes lunch, beverages, all flies and tackle, and equipment of you need it.
At these prices you shouldn’t care, but many of our customers have experienced some of the best fishing of the season – including dry fly fishing – during the last 2 seasons. You can expect great streamer and nymph fishing, but heavy midge hatches on many days bring fish to the surface. Unlike many western tail-waters, our fish really key up on Clusters, and the most productive patterns are often large #12-14 cluster patterns. By large, we mean easy to see!
You can also expect to see some Skwala Stoneflies, and possibly some BWO and March Brown hatches towards the end of April.
Nymph fishing is the typical. Pink scuds, midge and BWO nymphs fished 4-6 feet deep. You will catch fish and plenty of them.
Streamer fishing is very popular, and many anglers hit the lower sections and stick to it for the best success.
Discounted lodging is also available at The Craig Trout Camp. The popular Rainbow and Brown Cabins are $100/night (occupancy 2), the Sutton Place is $200 (occupancy 4), and the Craig House is $350/night (occupancy 6).
New for this year we have additional discounted lodging available to accommodate everyone who participates in our Spring Special:
The Beach House in Craig – $250/night – reg. $350 (occupancy 4)
The Missouri River Trout House – $250/night – reg. $350 (occupancy 4)
The Stickney House – $350 – reg. $450 (occupancy 6)
The bottom line is that you can get a guided trip and lodging for 2 people – plus enough cash left over for meals and a few cocktails for the same as just a guided trip during the summer! Your only other expenditures will be your MT fishing license and a gratuity for your guide.
Call the shop ASAP to make your reservations at 1-877-379-3597.
Yes, Spey/Switch Casting Clinic V.4 coming at you March 2nd on the Missouri River. Headhunters Fly Shop is sponsoring this free casting clinic for those of you interested in learning another fly fishing skill.
2 Handed rods are coming to a river near you and the Missouri River Education Specialists @ Headhunters Fly Shop and Guide Service are here to help. You have to give us a shout at the shop 406-235-3447 if you would like to sign up for this free spey casting clinic.
Spey/Switch Clinic March 2nd
24 spots are available for this very popular instructional clinic. Available to you are many different 2 handed rods. Orvis, Echo, and Sage 2 handed spey/switch rods will be strung up and ready to cast for the March 2nd class.
An indoor session lets you become more familiar with the terminology of this foreign topic before the outdoor casting session. Donuts, coffee, and education for all of you attending.
Class begins at 9am and ending about 3pm. A Saturday clinic that you will certainly enjoy. Sign up today if the 2 handed spey game interests you. A Missouri River technique that you can certainly employ this spring, summer, and fall. Truly a fun time for all!
The next big fly fishing event in Montana? Missouri River Spring Hatches.
We wait all winter long for the spring to arrive here on the Missouri River. The thought, the dream, the anticipation of Spring Hatches get us through those short and dark days of Montana Winters.
When do the Missouri River Spring Hatches start?
The first big Spring Hatches occur in mid February. Enough midge are present to get our Missouri river Trout start looking up. Sipping, slashing, and hungry fish are cruising eddy’s, seam-lines, and beaches looking for a good bug! And bugs, the marvelous midges they do find.
While the midges are in full swing the Baetis begin to show. The BWO’s are a Spring Hatch and a Fall Hatch too. We like both! The spring Baetis add tp the excitement and commonly both midges and baetis are hatching at once.
The bugs begin in the morning with the Midges leading the charge. They may hatch all day long. Around noon the BWO’s get moving. The nymphs are moving around subsurface allowing for hungry trout to feed before and after the primary hatch. Fish love to eat on this great river. The Missouri River is a bug factory!
Also present, later in the spring is the March Brown. Does it come in March? No, not really. More like late April. The Baetis are still going strong, the midges are present, and here come the March Browns. Oh, the glory of a spring creek like fishery.
Yes a truly wonderful bug the March Brown. The trout get on these fellas and will move from their lane to feed on them. One of our favorites. Not as strong as the baetis or the midges, but fun nonetheless.
Many anglers find the river in the spring more amenable to their liking as the pressure is less than the heat of the summer. You can achieve all day dry fly fishing as well. It may not be as common as the summer months, but it is still fantastic.
Don’t forget about the Skwala’s. Not so well known Stonefly for us on the Missouri River. Also, the Mother’s Day Caddis. Here on the Missouri you ask? Oh, yah. We got those too.
Call us at the shop @ 406/235-3447 7 days a week for additional information in regards to the hatch schedule and historical hatch cycles. We love to talk trout!
One reason to come is our great Spring Special offered from March 15th thru April 30th. $300 Guide Trips and discounted lodging too. A bargain and a hard time to beat. Come visit us during the quieter spring with unbelievable Spring Hatches.
Want more information and fun from Headhunters Fly Shop?
- Check out our daily Blog and Fishing Report
- Our Facebook Page. Daily fun here too!
- Watch Spring and Summer Videos here on Headhunters TV
The January Spey/Switch Clinic filled up so fast we had to set a date for the next one. It will be held Feb. 9th at Headhunters. Yes, an all day clinic for free. We provide the gear, or you can bring your own if you have it. We like it if you use your own gear, and we can help troubleshoot any problems you might be having with it.
Clinic Full. Call the shop at 1.877.379.3597 or 406.235.3447 to sign up.
Spring Hours as of March 1st, 2013
Open Sunday through Saturday
730AM – 5PM
While other fly shops close down for the winter or run limited hours, we’re here. We’re also fishing, so we know what’s going on. Stop on by to get the report, some coffee or just warm up a bit. We’re also doing shuttles for those looking for an off-season float, and our guides are ready to show you a great day on the water.
We are also booking lodging for you folks 7 days a week. Have questions for our crack booking staff? Call any day as early as you wish and will will point you in the right direction.
After hours? Drop us an email or leave a message and we will touch base with you in the morning.
406-235-3447 or toll-free 877-DRY-FLYS
That we catch Walleye in the Missouri River and occasionally on the fly? During spring and fall, they are particularly aggressive and can be caught on the fly IF you know where they are. Walleye typically take the fly lightly. Even the big ones, and they do get big. Fish up to 10 pounds are not
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Mark and John had a great time helping Simon Perkins film “Sipping Dry” during the 2011 season. Featured in the Fly Fishing Film Tour, it was one of the most popular films in that events. Local guides Brandon Boedecker, Beau Strathman, Mitch Kowalski and Chris Strainer are also featured.
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We do have a couple of other streams around here besides the Missouri River. The Missouri is just so good, it’s hard to justify any other option in the morning. There are time, however, when area freestones and lakes offer a change in scenery, different techniques and occasionally, better
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