Missouri River Techniques

Dam Tech | Missouri River Techniques

Ever see those fellers at the dam getting the fish and you are not? Ever wonder why that may be? Well, split shot is the first answer to that age old question.

Not any split shot, but the right split shot. The right amount. And, bobber length is dam, damn important as well. Suspending the flies in the right spot is imperative for dam fishing success.

Dam Tech | Missouri River Techniques

Rule #1: If you are not occasionally touching the weeds, or the bottom…consequently fish, you are not deep enough. Also remember that there are a lots of different sizes of split. Try small split, with a  few of them strung out on your line. Get them near the bottom and flirt with it baby.

Split Shot Montana
Use many sizes for success

Rule #2: Move and adjust not only your split, but your bobber too. Move it accordingly to the proper depth. Sometimes short, sometimes long. Light weight with a longer length, and shorter with more split. Experiment. If you are not getting the takes, you can only, move, or adjust.

Rule #3: Go sans split. Tie a dry dropper rig. A Buzzball or Cluster Midge with a black soft hackle running behind it. Short or long. Sight fish those bulging fish in the mid hatch and after the hatch. They are exhibiting that behavior all day long at the dam.

Rule #4: Sight nymph them if you wish. Either with a small pinchy, or not. As the sun gets higher, you can post up and look and your targets. Repeatedly toss that PT at them and wait for the white mouth to open.

Rule #5: Go rogue. Tie on the largest hopper in your box and run it through. Maybe the right time, right fly, right drift…suns and moons align sometimes. Right?

Rule #6: Row your ass off. Dam success means putting the flies across the fish a bunch of times. Repetition and persistence will pay off.

Missouri River Techniques
Dam tails…

Rule #7: The Trico hatches up top are sick right now. Insane, unbelievable, never seen bugs that before, nutty, prolific. All terms used for the hatch right now.

Rule #8: Don’t go up there if you like to be quiet, peaceful, and alone. Every day of the year there are at least a few boats and wade anglers fly fishing that reach. It is not for the timid. Or those who like their space. Dam etiquette is much different than any other spot on the river. Combat Zone is the theme and the definition. Cry Baby Pissy Pants need not go to the dam. Never.

There are lots of great runs on the river, and you can make a solid argument for the dam stretch. The water is cooler this time of year, and there are fewer weeds int eh water column. The late August and early September time frame is the most popular period for the dam. Many anglers are enjoying that run.

But, there is only 33+ more miles of the Missouri River. Discover and love it all. If you fish there a ton, try something new once in a while, and if you have never fished up top? Well…

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1 Comment.

  • Hells yeah, buzzball!  Reneball, renegade, cluster midge…My summer has been filled with catches on these patterns, especially in backcountry streams, rivers, and lakes.  Fish seem to like these patterns anywhere they are hungry.  I even fished an Elk Hair Caddis that the wings had been chewed off.  Minus the elk hair, it looks a lot like the aforementioned patterns.  EHC has been my go-to dry for anywhere but the MO all summer long.   Muchas gracias to HH for supporting Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Montana.  Veterans, look for a fall fishing event sponsored by the Great Falls Chapter of PHWFF, Headhunters Fly Shop, Eagle Mount, and The Big R Fly Shop in Great Falls.

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