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John and Mark spent some real quality time with about 60 youngsters from the Helena School District Monday and Wednesday helping them learn, at least a piece, the art of Fly Fishing.
Grade 3 Peak Guru Jamie A. beckoned John and Mark to attend and lend a hand in the education portion. We couldn’t say no. Teaching kids about the outdoors, and primarily the art of angling is near and dear to our hearts.
Why not learn fly fishing while growing up in central Montana. I understand there are a few fishing opportunities in this great state of angling. The greatest state of fishing in the Union. No doubt!
The students were all part of the PEAK Program in Helena. The Gifted and Talented Peak Program kids are full of energy and questions. We enjoyed hanging out and teaching this group casting, know tying, and fly fishing techniques on the Little Blackfoot River @ Kading Campground.
The kids also learned about Invertebrates while digging around on the stream bottom and seining the river gravel. Fun times. Definitely.
Learning about one of the many cool facets of the flyfishing life while at school. Really cool. I don’t remember that kind of field trip? Do you?
It does. Angler and soon to be fly fishing prophet Shelly is roaming around America on one hell of a fishing journey. If her arm isn’t sore or in fantastic shape when 2014 rolls into view…
Yep, a colossal fishing trip. This mid-60 year old, or young, gal is having a ball fishing 52 rivers in 52 weeks. Quite a task, and quite a dream.
52 Rivers includes the Missouri River
She was referred to us from Headhunters friends throughout the Universe and we are glad she came for a visit. I think she is pretty stoked too. While she has fished some great rivers already, and has many more to come, we think this may be one of here favorites. Not that we have a bias, one way or the other.
Fishing with Jared Edens, one of the Wizards, Wednesday and Squeeky, who is not a wizard…he’s a hair farmer, on Tuesday kept Shelley pretty busy. Nymphs long and short with some dry fly fishing tossed in for good measure allowed Shelley to see all the wonderful colors of the Missouri. Canyon on day one and the lower river on day two left her wanting more. I think?
She has many more fish to fry on her lengthy river/fishing trip and we wish Shelley all the best and safe travels.
I’m sure she will hook a few more fish on the way. Best wishes from all of us here on the Missouri River…see you down the road, and down the river Shelley!
52 Rivers. Fly-fishing a river a week for the next 52 weeks. Sharing my journey, following my passion, hoping to inspire others, and highlighting issues that affect this most valuable resource.
52 Rivers Author Shelley Walchak
My past professional life has been as a librarian. During this time I have been intimately involved with books – reading them, reviewing them, referring them, discussing them and organizing them. What I haven’t done is publish one. It is time to do that.
During my time as a school librarian I learned the value of storytelling, both from the experts in the field and in my own experiences. I believe that stories are integral to our survival because they help us to experiment with our emotions and strategize on the challenges we face in life.
I plan on telling a lot of stories over the next year. My stories will be about my experiences in traveling to 52 rivers in seven states. They will be about my passion for fly fishing, the outdoors, traveling, people, challenges, joys, and fears. You will see me take leaps and stumble although I have learned something valuable. In the end, my stories are meant to give you the courage and inspiration to pursue your own path to a more passionate life.
For me, I can only expect what every day will give me.
Really good fishing these days folks.
On any stretch of river you may find Caddis, Yellow Sally’s, a few remaining March Browns, BWO’s, Midges…keep the dry fly rod at the ready because you will need it.
Montana Fishing Report | Missouri River
Nymphing is heating up too, at least the fly selections have moved from Pink or Firebead only. Now you can use a PMD nymph, Yellow Sally, caddis, March Brown, midge…whatever you like to dangle subsurface is usually a good idea.
Anglers really spread out throughout the water from the dam to Cascade. Have fun out there, it is really fantastic.
Fish can be found not only on the soft sides but on the hard banks int he afternoons too. Anywhere you find bugs on the surface, you can find dish sub-surface…if you dig that sort of thing.
Flows are up at 4120cfs and should creep higher as we get closer to June. The water temps are magical at 54F. Honest. That is a great temp and the fish are damn happy.
Light winds and overcast skies will greet you on your next fly fishing journey to the Mo. Look for rising fish all day if you wish, they are out there…all you gotta do is find them. BWO Spinners can fool them, cripples too. How about the almighty Buzzball or a Half Dun Hatching. Emergers is a another bug you should have in your box.
June will be the month to be here this year folks. July is always great, so we need not talk about that. And, July is booked, save for a few days near the end of the month. Plan your June trip today and get in on some really sick PMD hatches with the ubiquitous caddis riverwide. You like dry fly angling? Yah, we thought so!
Lodging for the summer is dwindling if that is something you are interested in. Call Julie, Sara, or Ninch at the shop to get it squared away. Then, dream until your Missouri River Fly Fishing Dream Trip arrives.
Shop is open at 7am and open late til 8pm the front end of the week and 9pm on weekends. So, get on out here and get on some trout yo! We will see you here for the river’s best fly selection, the most knowledgeable staff, the freshest guides, and the best damn free Folger’s perked coffee int he canyon.
A terrific short story. A feel good one at that. Thanks to all the people in this story. All of them, truly great folks. We need more of this activity and behavior from folks. Give. It’s good.
John and Phil visited Headhunters here on the Missouri this last week. A true treat for us to get to know these two individuals.
Project Healing Waters Erie PA Missouri River Excursion
Here is how this whole deal got started. Yeti Coolers, Simms, Headhunters Fly Shop, and Craig Trout Camp put together a month long Facebook Photo Contest last year. Submit your ‘Best Fish Picture’ for a chance to win A Yeti Cooler, a boatload of SImms gear including the world’s best American Made waders etc, a couple nights @ Craig Trout Camp and a guided trip from Headhunters Fly Shop on the Missouri River. A ton of submissions were filed through and voted on…Kevin Hospodar of Hatches Magazine was the winner.
Thanks to Kevin Hospodar who set the wheels rolling on this trip and created something quite special. Really quite amazing.
You see, Kevin already had waders, a cooler, and wanted to pay it forward, so to speak. So Kevin parlayed his winnings into dollars on Ebay having decided to use those dollars towards a donation to the Erie PA Chapter of PHW.
Then Kevin contacted us at Headhunters to see if we could help in any way to make this a bigger trip, for the soldiers in Erie PA. We gladly fell quickly into step. Carroll & Margaret Jenkins discounted the lodging, Carroll a PHW Montana Board Member as well, and the grand plan started to take shape.
Kevin Hospodar and Skip Hughes of the Erie PA Chapter of Project Healing Waters masterminded the rest of the plan and this trip was born.
They should’ve named Montana, ‘Awesome.’
A great quite from John during the week
Check out the Erie PA PHW Facebook page for more on this fantastic trip!
Thanks a ton to all who participated including our most gracious guests Phil and John. We had a ball and the entire community met and loves these fellas. They seemed to get around this tiny fishing ‘burb of 44 residents with ease meeting friends at every non-paved dirt corner.
Phil had not trout fished in quite some time. So, he was fresh while John is an avid trout angler. These two meshed perfectly. Throughout the 4 days fishing we had some really fantastic fishing. The Missouri River can produce. No kidding.
John caught several fish on the dry fly and they both murdered them on the nymph.
Then, after only 4 days of fly fishing…Phil cast, hooked, and landed his 1st fish on a dry fly with Headhunters Guide Peter Skidmore. A testament to Phil’s attention, fortitude, and learning ability.
We’ll miss you guys. Come see us again fella’s. Rest easy knowing the Missouri River will always have your back. We do too.
This will put a smile on my face for a long time…
Phil’s quote of the week
June is coming. Not until we endure a couple more weeks of this fantastic May. Scumliner and Ninch love this month. Why? Because it rules, that’s why. Lots of dry fly action around the river for the remainder for the month. Lots. Then June arrives.
June has lots of dry fly action too. Could be my favorite month. But then there is April, October,….
Top 10 June Moments
- Dead calm early mornings. Caddis Swarms nightly.
- Blind Caddis fly fishing in canyon.
- PMD’s. Squeeky’s favorite fly.
- Buzzball’s all day long.
- Caddis in you nose, ears, on the water, in your car…
- Warm weather, sun, and green-ness abounds.
- Not too many folks. Yet.
- Dry Flies. Love dry flies.
- Yellow Sally’s. The get rolling and keep on rolling. Better hatches the last several years. This year? Gotta be here to know.
- You drifting down the Missouri River.
Come out and make your own June memories. Enjoy a Top 10 June Moment. Or several. Check them off as you go…
Drift away at work today with an image of our great Montana trout sucking on your fly.
It’s all about energy. Obviously, any living creature has to make more from the calories in food than the effort it takes to find and catch it. You couldn’t afford to walk a mile if the only thing at the end was a peanut. Trout can’t afford to fight fast water for midges.
So, if you want to find fish, it’s critical to keep this energy model in mind.
Trout Feeding Efficiency Model
During the winter, there’s not much food available. Besides the occasional scud and sow bug that can’t be relied on, the only hatches are midges. Damn small midges at that. So the trout end up in places where they will expend very little energy – hugging the bottom in deep slow water holes where there’s very little current to fight and just enough flow to bring them some food. If there’s a big midge hatch, it may be worth it for them to try for a few extra calories by hitting some clusters on the surface in relatively slow slicks and scum lines.
Input must exceed output for all living creatures to survive
If the fish are small, it doesn’t take as many calories for them to chase food, so that’s why you’ll sometimes see nothing but small fish rising. The big boys are below eating pupa in slower water. And, if you do see the big guys on top, it’s in the best water – slow, but in scum lines and eddies that concentrate the small midges.
A big fish’s rise form is different. You usually won’t see that splashy rise that little fish can get away with. Big fish rise very efficiently. Often it’s just a sip. If there’s a lot of food in the drift, they’ll hover, tilt and gulp. Often they’ll concentrate on cripples and emergers in the surface film. That takes less energy. Fewer calories out; more calories in.
Things really get cooking on the Mo when the caddis start popping. These bugs are pretty big and there are lots of them, so the trout can get more calories faster by feeding in faster water. They’ll move into shallow, choppy riffles and runs. Even then, the best fish will set up shop in the best spots.
They love seams where they can sit in relatively slow water and pick bugs out of the faster water that’s bringing them by quickly. They also like the slow water close to the bottom. Even in fast water, the water next to the bottom moves slowly. Big fish sit there and pick off bugs that sweep quickly over them. Drop offs are great.
Some of the best fast water spots of all are the saucer-like depressions in shallow riffles. Big fish sit in these deeper spots in the shallows and many anglers miss these spots. Look for small areas of relatively calm water in the riffle, give it a try and hang on.
The bottom line is that when trout are feeding (and those are the ones you’re looking for), where they are depends on the number and size of the bugs they’re feeding on. Within those areas, look for seams, drop offs, rocks and depressions where they can stay in slow water close to the fast water that’s bringing the food.
Keep the Trout Feeding Efficiency Model in mind not only while dry fly fishing but while nymphing too. The fish are only where the food is.
Good weather for the upcoming week. We like the overcast conditions. The trout do too.
Finishing up from the 7th Annual Craig Caddis Festival yesterday and moving forward to the busy week ahead. The trout are feeding well. The nymphing damn good, the dry fly bite expanding daily, and the streamer fishing is coming on too.
Montana Fishing Report | Missouri River
The recent conditions certainly help the bugger crowd. They are a joyous bunch.
Fishing is fine riverwide with many enjoying a different stretch everyday. Come and try a new reach the next time up? You may like it.
Shoot, try fishing a day where all you do is dry fly fish. Or if you are a staunch DFO feller, try sinking something. You both will learn a ton bout fishing the Missouri. If you are a streamer guy, try live baitin’. Should work. Continual learning is positive.
Look at the water temps and you will see we are nearing the best time of the year. May and June temps are conducive to leaping fish. Trout love 54F-57F. If you cannot make it in June, then come see us in October. I strongly suggest you look at your angling calendar and seriously contemplate getting on the Missouri River June 2013. It is gonna be quite good. Reminiscent of some of the drought years in the early mid 2000′s. Good stuff.
Lots of new flies in the shop if you have not stocked up in a while. Stop in and see Ninch, Thomas, Sara, Jess, or any of the staff and have them recommend a few hot flies.
The Dearborn River is open for fishing and we got flies for your voyage. Shuttles available as well. Swing by on your way to the Dearborn and we will take care of you.
All methods are on the table this week as many are employing the short leash in the afternoon. Deep in the morning. The Dry Fly Coalition can nearly fill the day with headhunting. Creep downstream and locate some sipping trout. Bank anglers are enjoying the lower flows accessing lots of river. It’s WFO man.
Shop open daily 7am til 9pm. We will see you in Craig this week for some Headhunting…
Thanks to Michael White and Nick English of Blue Ribbon Sales, our SIMMS Reps, for BBQ’ing and contributing to the Craig Caddis festival. These guys bring it! Carne Asada on corn torts with a fantastic Pico too. Thanks again Michael and Nick! Appreciate it greatly! So does the Craig Volunteer Fire Department with your generous $500 donation to the silent auction too.
Missouri River Flows
Great Falls Intl Airport, MT
Last Updated on May 23 2013, 8:53 am MDT
Current Conditions: Overcast
Wind: SW at 5mph
Used Drift Boat For Sale
Used 2005 EMR with trailer, Cataract Oars, anchor, new rope, new NRS rowers seat. Trailer just rewired and hubs packed. Used hard but still in good shape. $4000 OBO. Call the shop.
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They’re Just Sayin’
- Richard 45 wt on Headhunters Flyshop Giving Back in Helena MT
- Richard 45 wt on Project Healing Waters Missouri River via Erie PA Excursion
- Murray on Project Healing Waters Missouri River via Erie PA Excursion
- Kevin Hospodar on Project Healing Waters Missouri River via Erie PA Excursion
- Bob Glassen on Trout Feeding Efficiency | How far would you walk for a peanut?