10 Tips for Missouri River Baetis Success

10 Tips for Missouri River Baetis Success

We are all into catching more fish on BWO dries. Actually not true. Some anglers.

Not all anglers are interested in the dry fly. I have often stated to those who believe that everybody should be throwing a dry…and to those folks I always say, “How would you feel, as dry fly guy, a Dry Fly Only guy,  if every angler was seeking dry fly flats. If every angler was standing next to you on the dry fly flat of choice? How would that work out?”. So think about that statement. And re-evaluate before you criticize.

Not so good. Thankfully we enjoy many facets of angling and not everybody want to be DFO. Truly. Honest.

The true majority of anglers on the Mo these days are focused on the nymph. Many anglers that enjoy the Mo are not interested in learning about fly fishing.About evolution, or taking the time, practice, and necessary steps to enjoy all that fly fishing can offer. Nope. I often hear that the most important part of the day is catching fish. Not focused on learning. Nope. So, you dry fly anglers are safe. Totally safe.

But if you are into that sort of thing, the learning, the dry fly, the entirity of the sport, then you can give yourself a leg up, an arm up, a cast up on the rest of the gang. Learn the right thing to do and follow the bugs!

  1. Prepare. Get the rod ready in the morning. Strung up and some sort of BWO attached. An Adams will hold the line nicely. Change when you arrive if need to.
  2. Have a ton of Gink. Dry Fly Shake. Frog’s Fanny. Whatever you may need to get you through the BWO session. I hate running out of the right shit during the heat of the moment. I have several bottles of Tiemco Super Power Fly Floatant in the boat and vest.
  3. Make a game plan. Set your drift for the right water at the right time. If you are a wade feller, you know where you want to be at what specific time.
  4. Follow the game plan. Especially in the boat. Don’t get hung up on some other fish, some other flat…holding a bobber in your hand! Get to the flat and stake it out. Being prepared for action is key. Take off the bobber man!
  5. Practice the cast at home. In your yard. At the park. When the bugs start popping you need to have your “A” game. Not a good time to practice, casting Practice is done at home!. A great time to execute the perfect reach cast and drift!
  6. Missouri River Trout love the fly in the film. Baetis ride in the film. BWO’s lay in the water, not on the water. Fish a pattern that sits in the water.
  7. CDC Flies are awesome. The best flies are the ones you cannot see.
  8. Swing a soft hackle if you are old school. Or if you like to learn a new technique. Or if you want to catch them all.
  9. Get out and stalk them. BWO fish will let you wander close to them. Get out and get in tight. Make short and efficient casts. Catch one at a time. Some anglers, most dudes, try to catch all the trout on every pass. Not very smart. Takes too much time in between casts. Too much line out. Not efficient. Not smart. Those fellers that exhibit this behavior do not catch may at all. But they do waste a ton of time and kinda screw up the fish. But, just my opinion. It is your day. Do what you feel is right. But, if you want to catch more, do it right and stay efficient.
  10. Start out with a new 12′ RIO 9′ 4X leader. And then tie on a 4′ section of 5X tippet. Or something along those lines. Get a good drag free drift and get them. Long leaders are OK. Trust them. Use them. Enjoy them.
  11. Clean your fly line often. I love to clean my line as I am waiting for the action to start. And after the day as well. A clean fly line is the most important piece of the rod/reel/line equation.
  12. Pray for overcast skies. Trout love the gray days. The bugs don’t care. The trout love to wander into skinny waters when they feel comfortable and can feel predator free.
  13. Stalk softly. Approach the fish in stealth mode. You are the predator. Act appropriately.
  14. Fish during the week. Weekends are quite busy here in Craig. Take the day(s) off work and come out.
  15. Enjoy yourself. It is about fun, relaxing, taking your mind away from the stresses at home. Enjoy the day on the water. It is good for your constitution.

There you have it. A few ideas to Marinate your Baetis Brain in today. Putting yourself in successful situations, is my whole deal. Set yourself up for success. Many do not recognize the difference between rising fish that are uncatchable, in a situation that you cannot present the bait properly, and the fish that are achievable. Do it the right way and you will be rewarded. We have about a month of Baetis in front of us so we will see you here in Craig. It’s Monday, it’s October 2022!

We are dreaming of BWO’s coming off today!


10 Tips, Baetis, Technique, Trout Planning
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  • Great great stuff Mark! Thanks for always taking the time in helping all of us improve. Cheers!

  • David Buxbaum
    October 25, 2022 6:52 pm

    Totally agree with the points made – especially about being prepared and a clean fly line that is critical to accurate casts over targets. I always give lines a daily cleaning after a day or two of fishing. The MO offers so much variety of fish catching but dry fly anglers have a vahalla and when conditions are right there is no other river that consistently has big heads in skinny water. Patterns matter but not as much as presentation – meaning good drift and stealth. Great info!

  • 10 tips was a very good read..I have noticed over the years just how many folks are content to take a boat ride and watch a bobber..and that’s okay for them..Everybody wants a to get something different out of the time on the river..I look at fishing like some look at golfing, one will never achieve total excellence and that’s what makes it interesting..thanks again

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