Monday Morning Missouri River Water Update & Fishing Report
Montana’s Missouri River Water Update
Yes indeed Mother Mo is treating us to above average water this spring.
High? No. That is the question we and every other fly fishing professional gets numerous times a day when the water is above average for any period. And then of course wondering what it will be like when the angler in question arrives in somewhat beautiful downtown Craig Montana.
The river is the draw here, I think.
The same questions flood in when we experience lower than average river flows.
Our answer is generally…“Well, we don’t know.” Because we don’t. Nobody does. And that is the honest answer.
We can see the water/snow water equivelent on the ground, speak with the dam operators, attend water meetings, amongst other factions and put together a guess. But the one thing we cannot control is Mother Nature.
She has the final card hidden up her sleeve.
My latest guess after speaking with a couple other longtime outfitters last night at a UMOWA meeting, and postulating, and drinking…is still 14K. Other stated it could be much higher this spin, into June, or even July. Peak flows in 2011 were at 23,500cfs coming from Holter. Peak inflows were much higher at 35,000cfs slowing into Canyon Ferry.
All agree, including many scientists, water flow smarties, professionals if you will; that we will be just fine unless it rains more than average. The other factor that does play a big role is the way the snow comes off of the hills, mountains, valleys.
If it rains and is 55F overnight for a week we will see mayhem. If the nightly temps stay in the 40F range and spring just slowly creeps in, or comes to us packaged in a neat and normal fashion we may see nothing too alarming.
But, that is pure, maybe somewhat educated, speculation from this daily fly fishing blogger.
The fact is right now we are fishing flows at 7600cfs. Will we see higher? Most certainly yes.
Missouri River Fishing Report
The fish are spread out. But an uptick in the bite as I believe the fish have settled after the unsettled water events of last week. SO it sure seemed like many of the boats were having good success and the bank anglers finding them as well.
The wade fishing is tough at this level. Flows over 6K present problems. Flows over 7K become extremely difficult. Flows at 8K we start to preach safety. No need to take a swim this spring. The water is way too cold!
Boats are the way to access some really quite good wade fishing in the center of the river for those swingers. Our island sets get pretty good with the current lines and lanes shaping up for the Trout Spey gang.
Headhunters has rental boats. And a killer fly selection procured by Ninch for the spring angler.
PINK is still killer. Sows too. I had a “B” and a couple 6’s on the other day. Worked well. You may want to be aware fo changing depths and move your bobber accordingly. I am quite conscious of the changing subsurface topography and will adjust when needed. Remember you gotta touch the bottom to get the fly int he face of those fish glued to the bottom. I have a couple nymph rods ready for two differing depths and switch often. Or just move your bobber. But, one can have different bugs on each as well.
Worms. BWO nymphs. Midge nymphs. March Brown nymphs. Soon some Mother’s Day Caddis nymphs too. Get those forthcoming hatches in your brain. The nymphs are active well before we see the dun.
A couple fish up too. You gotta commit. Slack backwaters and soft insides in sorta shallow water. Have not seen one adult BWO. Coming later the month. Big clusters will get it done. A couple reports of stacking a few in back eddies. Aggressive takes, not smart trout. Our favorite kind.
Fishing from the top to the bottom. Not many in the Cascade reach. You have to know that one to do well during this inflated flow period.
The streamer fishers are having tough time. Not much action at all. But lots of fellers out there doing it. If you don’t like deep nymphing you chuck and duck towards the banks or across center river bars.
Swingers hit and miss too. Depends on the bite. I understand the tough weather days really lit up for the trout spey anglers.
Headhunters has all you need in this area. And others too. The fishy fly shop. All of the staff fishes and we have not become the shop with the busiest professional guide staff by accident. Nope. Integrity, quality of product and customer service are concepts that we take very seriously.
Headhunters has the answers.
Shop open daily @ 8am. Adipose rental boats. A fleet of demo/rental rods. Rental waders by SIMMS. Lodging with over 30 rooms, cabins, houses, riverfront properties at your disposal. Shuttle service. Free coffee. Friendly faces.
See you soon at Headhunters of Craig. Call if you have water questions. We’ll guess right along with you!