Missouri River February Fishing Forecast 2023

Missouri River February Fishing Forecast 2023

Welcome to February. Football is nearly over, baseball is around the corner, and the fishing has been above average, when the weather has let us get out there. We are getting nearer to spring ’23 everyday and we for one are damn excited about this upcoming year. We bring you the Missouri River February Fishing Forecast 2023.

We hope to continue to stack up the snow in the higher elevations. It’s early still folks. 5 months until we will truly know what the entirety of the summer and fall fishing season will hold. That is a long time from now. I think another 131 days til the last week of June. Then Mother Nature will have spoken.

As it sits now we are a bit ahead of our annual snow totals. 100%-ish is where we are at. February has proven over the past couple decades to surprise us as it did just four short years ago when Montana and the west tumbled into an Arctic Freeze for 6 weeks!

February is a good month to organize your fly fishing summer plans. Get your gear fixed and cleaned. Buy some new gear from Headhunters of Craig. Your favorite Missouri River Fly Shop. Why not? The time is now.

Headhunters Fly Shop Calendar

Swing Season continues as we head toward the meat of the winter months. Today 35F. About normal. This weekend will bring us more temps in the mid-40’s and beyond. Of course with the warmth comes the ubiquitous wind.

Swingers have been out in force as they battle the Nymphers for the deeper holding buckets.

Bugs. Midges. Mid Month. Maybe. Probably. Have seen a few already. Rising. Catchable.

Headhunters Fly Shop open daily 8-5pm will all things Trout Spey. Come by and demo a rod before you buy. Check out a demo spey line before you buy. Come in and chat with our crack staff about all things 2HTROUT. All of the lines, leaders, tips, accessories you need!

Booking agents available daily at the shop. Yes, book your summer trip today.

Montana February Weather

Missouri River February Fishing Forecast 2018Not a month that is generally inhabitable. Cold. Windy. Some snow. About 8 inches of snow fall for the month. We may see some of that come this weekend. More to come as the week progresses.

Some good to great fishing can be had if the conditions allow you to get on the water. Calm, cool, cloudy afternoons make us drool starting the fire for the 2022 season.

Bring cold and wet weather clothing. Anything can happen weather-wise…except for sunny and 80F.

Missouri River February Temps and Flows


The chart is how it will look most of the month. Not much in daily air temperature movement will allow for consistent water temps. 36F is a magic winter number. When water temps hold below the magical 36F mark the fish are not as responsive. That can happen. We like to get out there when the mercury is above 40F. Pretty nice really. This weekend and the front end of the week look good. A guide trip out today, swinging, stripping.


Flows will remain about the same as well.  Like many Missouri River flow graphs February will look relatively static. An average water year last year has set us up for some success this summer. Although we really, truly, do not know what Mother Nature has in store for us here in central Montana. Many years in the past 30+, the water has been higher than it is right now. Although the 2001-2007 drought years the water was more like it is right now.

Previous to twenty years ago the winter flows were more often at the Median Level. Only recently have the water managers felt it necessary to be concerned about lack of precipitation changing the early season directive. What will this winter bring? More to come for sure. February, March, April and May ahead of us.

The magic period that the water managers look at is the middle of April. Tax time. That is when the water, the snow, is on the ground and they can make some predictions for the summer and beyond.

February Mo River Hatches

Midges. Only midges. They may come stronger middle of the month. Keep it tuned here for the up to the minute hatch reports. Headhunters is your primary source for current Missouri River conditions.

Clusters/Buzzballs & CDC Cluster Midges & Griffith’s Gnats, Adults/Para Adams, Emergers/soft hackles & CDC Hanging Midges, nymphs/Zebra’s.

Midge Image

February Fly Fishing Realities

It’s historically cold. Not many folks around. A nice quiet time on the Missouri River. Start looking for a decent number of rising fish mid month. Nymph slow deep buckets. Nymphing is the primary fish catcher. But not all are into that kind of game. It is the most consistent of the fish catching disciplines. But it’s not for everyone.  Streamer anglers are really having a great winter bite. Super slow of course, in the correct winter water, the bite has been as good as it gets, for this period. Some days anglers catching a bundle. Others, not as good. But truly a good one out there in February ’23? We hope! If you like to “nymph” your streamers down the river with tension on the line along with very little stripping movement you too can have success. If you like to strip them a bit, you are also good to go this winter.

Montana Winter Trout Spey

Trout Spey will have success swinging in a bit deeper water with possibly your heaviest tips of the year. Come by the shop to get your Spey Rig all tuned in! We have a the only selection of swinging flies on the Mo. Look for Headhunters to bring in even more patterns for your Trout Spey experience in 2023. Over 150 already in the bins. Locals, and non-locals know that Headhunters of Craig is the Trout Spey Destination Fly Shop!.

Headhunters of Craig Montana is your Trout Spey fly shop. Call us today with any and all questions regarding all things spey. New rods, lines, tips, flies, and kick-ass gear available 364 days a year.

Headhunters Fly Shop in February

We are currently hiring the balance of our summer staff. That is one of the many winter projects.  Julie and Sara are busy booking trips and lodging for the ’23 season. Derek, Connor, Sara, and Steve are shuffling fly gear. Jimmy is shuttling trailers up and down the river for those who choose to float. John is masterminding something cool and new, Mark is scripting your winter blog articles with of course Julie holding us all together!

Book your 2023 Guide Trip or Lodging today. It is happening. June and July continue to fill. June is 95% full. July is nearly 70% full. May is filling. April pretty open. October 35% of the way there. Now is the time folks. Get it done, locked in, and put to bed. Then fantasize warming your bones in sunny Craig Montana.

Enjoy February wherever you are wintering. We’ll speak with you soon!

Missouri River February Fishing Forecast 2023

1200 words this humpday, updates 300+ times annually, for your reading pleasure. A reminder that this blog, the daily shop staff, and our attention to all things Mo, is built, provided, and delivered for you the Mo River Angler. We support your habit and in turn we’d appreciate your support as well. Shop @ Headhunters online, while in Craig at the mothership, and certainly tell your friends about us too. Thanks, we love all of you! Shopping anywhere else would be analogous to cheating on your girl. No? Biting the hand that feeds you? 

Headhunters is your Entertainment, Information, Education, and Customer Service Leader on Montana’s Missouri River.

clinics, Dates, February, Flows, Forecast, Hatches, missouri river, Montana, Vacation Planning, Weather, winter
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  • Great update, thanks Mark!

  • Speaking of buying gear from Headhunters, how is the supply of fly lines, leaders and other item which have been scarce during the pandemic? Has inventory loosened up a bit?
    My spider senses say it is going to be a great dry fly year. Hate to go out there with an old fly line. Fish hate the tip of your floating line sinking. They find it disrespectful.

    • Good Steve. All in stock and ready for you, the Mo River Angler! The supply chain continues to have some issues, but we at HH of Craig are stocked and ready!

      And yes, a good dry fly year. I welcome those senses!

  • wayne e clayton
    February 2, 2023 6:12 am

    Hi Mark.
    What is your favorite midge pattern?

  • Patrick Parten
    February 2, 2023 7:25 pm

    Thanks for the update. See you in June!

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