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May Missouri River Fishing Forecast 2024

May Missouri River Fishing Forecast

Today on the Headhunters Fly Shop Blog you get the May Missouri River Fishing Forecast.

What to expect, wish for, and believe for the month ahead.

Things to look forward to in May include…

More Water? Would usually state this in May and this current spring period. This year? Not really We did receive a hit of precipitation this past week and it did add to the snow totals in the hills, where it counts. But will it make a dent in the already tenuous drought conditions? Mid 80th percentile for out drainage. That is OK. Not great. Better than the last time I looked.

The situation is that all of the snow is on the ground for the season. April 15th is the date that the water managers state as the last day they can count on snow. It really is the gauge, the level, the measurement that we look too for the remainder of the year. Into the next year change.

Have we gotten lots and lots of rain after this date that can alter the summer water projections? Sure. And it has happened. 1997 was on e of those years. Started raining on the first week of June and didi not stop until the 3 week of July. July flows over 25K/cfs. That is a bundle. But Mother Nature, in conjunction with Mother Mo, will have to make that happen.

We are currently holding at 3500cfs. Lower than normal, lower than average. Will it change? Probably not. We will be looking at average water levels for the summer and fall period. Looks pretty good and stable.

Missouri River Water tools…

Missouri River May Weather and Water Forecast

May is the second rainiest month of the year. The only one that exceeds May is June. So bring that rain gear as you come to the Mo for some kick ass May fishing. Thunderstorms can sneak up on us when fishing towards a few risers.

Sun also plays a role this month. Sometimes we see temperatures into the 90’s. Yep. Sunscreen is also a good idea this wet and warm month.

Missouri River May Hatch Forecast

Blue Winged Olives

BWO’s through the month.This year into June? Some years the baetis bugs run long. Been around of ra couple weeks now. May 10 days. Some good hatches with fish looking at them, other hatches not so much. Riverside from C arcade south to the dam.

We live on the nymph and sometimes the dry fly with the BWO. Overcast skies keep the bugs on the water much longer than the sunny days but as we have learned from wonderfully insightful Headhunters Blog writers that BWO’s are certainly present even under the high and bright skies

Nymphs are always a good idea for the subsurface baetis. Slender bodied skinny nymphs are definitely popular these days and rightfully so. HH has what you need when fishing the Mo. Your information and stocked fly pattern shop when fishing the Missouri River.

The dry fly is king. Cripples, emerges, and spinners are always a good place to start. Fish then one you love. Or the one that the trout love.

Dry-Dropper is a favored technique as well. An Adams or a Purple Haze with your favorite dropper hung off of the back. Some sort of PT derivation will suffice.

BWO’s are always a part of the May Missouri River Fishing Forecast

March Browns

Close. I bet we see some this week? Seined a few nymphs up last week. Saw lots of BWO nymphs of various sizes. A couple PMD nymphs too. That is coming later this month, maybe. They are out there.

Fish the dry the big dry. Love a sz. 12 March Brown dun pattern. A parachute is great. Cripples are always as good idea on this river. Come by the shop and snap a couple patterns from the bins. Want to scare a few outta the depths too? Yeah, we have those too on the nymph side of the bins. A few great soft hackles too. Swing a March Brown feeder up? Ohh boy, that’ll be something. Get in that canyon and utilize that 2 weight trout spey rod for a charge in your day!

Mother’s Day Caddis

On the horizon. Look for them initially on the lower and move up through the canyon. Not as famous as the Yellowstone or other freestones in this state, but we do get them/have them, and the fish like/love them. Fish the pupa as well here on the Mo for canyon successes.

The lower canyon can be filled with them. The Cascade stretch can be ripe as well. Go out and find these fish. This is allow a short lived event. Don’t blink because you may miss them. I would keep my eyes peeled for the first emergence and capitalize.

X Caddis, Missing Link, Weilenman’s CDC and Elk…or any of the caddis patterns you dig may work. The caddis fish during the spring are real dumb. We like real dumb trout.

How about a caddis pupa or a soft hackle for this treat? Yep. Smart.

Pale Morning Duns

Pale Morning Duns, PMD’s, may come in the back end of the month. Our water temperatures are about average. On a great year they do show before the beginning of June.  It’s far more likely to see our first PMD’s of the season in the first week or two of June. Generally the PMD comes the 4th, 5th, 6th of June and lasts 6-8 weeks. It will come. And it may be the early version, or emergence. You first see them down low.

More on patterns and techniques as we get closer to the PMD dates. Look for a helpful June Forecast Missouri River Fly Fishing Guide here on the only information web source on Montana’s Missouri River.

Ants and Beetles

Fish them from May til October. An ant pattern or a flying ant pattern or a black beetle can bring a fish from the bottom. Those of you who are believers…you know who you are. I know you try to convert a few anglers every year…but that is tough. Stick to your guns. I am a believer. Took me a while though…

Streamer Time!

A great year for the streamer angler. A great winter and fall behind us, and a good looking future too! Dry and intermediate lines are king and the streamer contingent is having a ball out there. The river conditions with the accessibility to trout locations with a streamer fly and rod is as good as it gets. If you want to touch a large brown trout this year…May is the month, and the Mo is the place. Call the hotline 406-225-3447 and book your guide trip and lodging today.

Trout Spey in May?

You bet. Swing up a PMD feeding fish? Light and cool streamers on the end of your Scani leader? Want a guide trip to jump start your 2 handed trout journey? We employ top notch long standing (trout) spey guides. Honest. Want to fish with a group that has been swinging this river for over a decade now, not a guide that sort of knows the deal? Yeah, we thought so. Headhunters is your Education Source in the rocky mountain region for all things Trout Spey. Just ask around, ask you neighbor. Important to start off on the right foot with this learned behavior. Don’t leave this on up to chance.

Missouri River May Traffic

If you like crowds…come on a Saturday.

If you don’t try the mid week stroll. Way better. Weekends have been dam busy this year so keep that in mind when calling in sick to your job. Call in sick Monday’s or Tuesdays.

June and July are pretty stacked with anglers too. May will be nice, and fishing well! This month is many fly shop staff and guides favorite month.

Preparedness is Imperative

May is a moth with variable weather conditions. We are located just miles from the eastern slope. Weather can change in a matter of minutes. It can certainly get Western out there, in a hurry. A 3 season rain jacket is an imperative piece to bring with you. Sleet, snow, wind can dampen your mood.

May is a fun time to be here on the Mo. Be prepared. There will be a lot of boats and anglers in a small amount of water. Visit your favorite Craig Fly Shop, Headhunters, often. They have the flies you need along with the pertinent information. The good stuff, man.

  • Headhunters has fly fishing guides available. We are here to help. Just ask us. Open daily 8am til 6pm.
  • Tons of new flies in stock filling our broad Mo River Selection!
  • The Orvis Helios is in stock. The latest from Sage and we believe on of the greatest! Come by and cast this one. Give it a toss or two.
  • Skwala Fishing Outerwear at the shop too. A 3rd year product line debut and Headhunters is an exclusive dealer. Come and try it on, and take it on the river with you!
  • Check out the Comprehensive Missouri River Lodging Site www.CraigLodging.com for 30+ lodging options!
  • Izaak’s of Craig open Wednesday thru Sunday 4-9pm
  • Joe’s Bar daily Noon-?
  • Missouri River Eats for Sando’s and stream side lunches. Call Kelly up or check out her website and pre-order your lunches.
  • Lazy I Wolf Creek Eatery
  • Missouri River Restaurant in Prewitt Creek open daily 12-8
  • The Canyon Store in Wolf Creek open daily at 7am with gas and convenience items.
  • Craig Tap House and Stonefly Cafe Open Thursday thru Tuesday. Weekends 12-8, the remainder 2-8.

Headhunters Fly Shop and Guide Service

Open daily at 8am. Guide Trips available, your lodging resource and the Home of the Craig Trout Camp, look up properties outside of Craig on www.craiglodging.com. RIO, Sage Fly Rods, HH Logo Gear, Orvis, Skwala Fishing Products, Echo Fly Rods, TONS OF COOL STICKERS, flies from Solitude, RIO, Umpqua, Montana Fly Company, Yellowstone Fly Goods, Rainy’s, and more, newly added Just Add Vise Kits, sunglasses from BAHIO, Suncloud, and Fisherman Eyewear, Fishpond, and great selection of river nets numbering well over 30, the best selection of flies, and the friendliest knowledgable fishy shop staff in the canyon.

Remember that Headhunters is the Trout Spey Montana Headquarters. Anything you may need including rods, tips, lines, leaders, guide trips, accessories…you are just a call away from greatness. Our knowledgeable Trout Spey Staff is ready to help. 406-235-3447.

Come visit us in Craig. Open daily 7am-7pm.

Dave W Photo above.

The Headhunters May Missouri River Fishing Forecast 

BWO, Caddis, DFO, dry fly, Hatch Chart, March Brown, May, May Missouri River Fishing Forecast, missouri river, Mother's Day, Nymphing, River Flows, Streamer, Timing
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