Lower River Fishing Report – Ice

Probably not the best stretch to float today, unless you happen to own one of these.

In all seriousness, cold winters like we’re experiencing bring lots of ice to the Cascade stretch of the Missouri River. This winter is no exception. Floating below Prewitt – definitely below Cascade – would not be possible today. Slivers of open water run through the ice, and huge ice jams often form in the corners.

We’re often asked if the Missouri River freezes up in the winter (yes) and does it freeze all the way to Holter Dam (no). The river tends to freeze up pretty solid below Pelican Point. Large amounts of ice and some ice jams can be found up to the Mt. Palace area. When it’s really cold – like today – you’ll find substantial shelf ice up to Craig. It’s still floatable, but really?

While I’ve seen some incredibly dramatic Ice Jams during the winter, the scouring effects can be just as amazing. After a bitter cold winter, it’s not uncommon to see huge areas of fine gravel completely scoured of all vegetation and insect life. Large shallow flats and side channels are where you see this effect the most. It should be no surprise that some of these areas will be void of fish until later in the summer, and I’ve see areas that seemed to hold very few fish for a year after a big ice scour.

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