Missouri River Fishing Report April 29th 2018
Not normal Missouri River fishing. Lower than average catch rates. Difficult situations. Fluctuations in the water couple times a week. Swollen feeder creeks like the Dearborn and Little Prickly Pear. Lots of boats. No wade fishing to speak of. That is our reality.
And we are one of the only fishable rivers in the state. Soon to be the only, save for a couple hold outs i.e. Spring Creeks and the like.
Welcome to the Missouri River Craig Montana
You could be reading this if you are gonna be displaced by spring time flows around the state. Remind your guide to stop in to Headhunters for a coffee refill and a cup full of flies. The Missouri River is fortunate to never have too much water. We certainly can be rammed into the upper river as we are today. The feeders will clear up rapidly. A couple days at most for LPP, and the Dearborn can clear up in 24 hours.
What will happen this time? Boy, I don’t know.
We are fishable. It is difficult.
The fish are moving around and are freaked out too.
You will see a couple techniques out there. Fishing toward the bank. And fishing away from he bank. Both are good ideas. Be patient. Lots of boats on the water. You will see the players working together to create the orchestra. Watch what is happening and get in. There is an etiquette level on the river too. But it changes with the water conditions. You will be close to other boats. Be comfortable. Understand the orchestration of boat movement. Then be polite and get it. Watch to learn. Ask questions
Don’t drop your anchor in spots that have too much flow. Don’t drop your anchor near rip rap banks. Be safe. The water is twice the speed it was last time you came. That is important to remember.
Nut Shell Nymphing Report
Worms, Scuds, Sows, and some BWO nymphs, Rubber Legs, Zirdle Bugs, Black Buggers, Zonkers, Leeches, Firebeads, March Brown Nymphs and Caddis Pupa.
Bobber to Split length 6’+. Some I hear as long as 11′. I like somewhere shaded to the former. Too long is too long. Although those who get the fly there and hold it there…catch more fish. A fine line for sure.
Inside out. Or outside in. Both getting fish.
Throw it in to the bank. Strip it across sunken bars and islands. Not too many wade ops. Get a streamer line that sinks. An intermediate may not get it done this time. Deeper bank lines that at lower water levels. Again, a reminder. The Missouri River high(er) water fishing style requires you to change according to the current conditions. You will not be able to approach like you normally do this spring.
Dry Fly Report
Catching a few. If you are gonna play this game you probably should commit in the afternoons to finding a few. Chasing bobber down the river expecting to “find a few” may not be all too fruitful. You gotta commit to greatness to find greatness. BWO’s on the lower reaches. But, currently muddy on the lower reaches.
Come by for the right BWO’s. If you find a couple, the drift is king again this year. Right now an attractor style mayfly will work. If you want killer cripples, we got ’em in downtown Craig @ Headhunters.
Missouri River Water Flows
Currently 10,600cfs. Water temps moved much higher this week and currently at 46F. The water will go higher. The tributaries will clear. the BWO’ will come in big numbers. We may or may not have lots of sit rising. More likely a few, not a lot. It is only late April. Way more excitement to come.
Headhunters Fly Shop
Open daily 8-7. Shuttles all day long for the late comers. Rental boats. All the killer gear for your Missouri River stay. Lodging galore at www.craiglodging.com. Let us help during the high water periods here, there, and everywhere. We are fishing here in Craig Montana.
Fishing is that good? Or am I just off in my reading between the lines?
Best fishing reports on the web, thank you.
“There is an etiquette level on the river “
No such a thang when money is involved!
However the fishing isn’t awful, the water is a little fast!
Yes Dana true. I think you are saying that fishing guides have no integrity because they are working for a living. So true…I can’t trust my doctor, attorney, grocer, plumber, auto mechanic, school teacher, tow truck driver, landscape designer, HR director, baker, florist, accountant, cashier, gift shop employee, or anybody who takes a paycheck…all because of the money!
The difference is that all of those have invested in a business, which will fail if they do not treat all customers well.
Guides utilize a public resource in conflict with regular Montanans out to have a nice day fishing or floating with the family. It is ths conflict which leads to the poor etiquette some guides display.
Agreed Jamie. Some guides do not show proper etiquette. And that is bad. I am not defending those guides who exhibit bad river behavior.
Guides do have their own businesses. Guides are licensed by the state, controlled by the state, through legislation, and pay boat ramp fees, are insured, pick up river garbage, donate to community organizations regularly, and own their won businesses. Misunderstanding that guides and outfitters do not operate as independent businesses is common Jamie. Guides are Independent Contractors sub contract through Fishing and Hunting Outfitters. If they do not operate professionally their independent businesses will fail. Just like sub’s that work in many industries guides own their own businesses, pay taxes, and work for a living.
I suggest that both the public, and the commercial sect all act properly. If you have an issue with a guide, you can always report them. The difference with the public, is that if the public acts improperly there is no recourse.
All we can really do is act properly and teach through our positive actions on the water. Proper etiquette, not crashing into parked boats, being polite, getting in and out at boat ramps quickly prepping the boat not on the boat ramp! All through example.
I know that you are not suggesting that regular Montanans act perfectly on the water? That would be silly. Where does the litter, the shotgun shells, poor etiquette at boat ramps, crashing into other parked boats, noise pollution from loud radios, drunken behaviors on the water, leaving 7 kayaks blocking the boat ramp, not setting a good example for other floaters…where does that come from? It is this conflict which leads to the poor etiquette some regular Montanans display. How does that conflict get resolved?
Jamie, I suggest you come on a Saturday in July and check out the scene. It may change your opinion of the regular Montanans behavior on the water. I would bet my drift boat that it will change your overall opinion.
The last high water period I rescued 4 regular Montanans from drowning. I rescued a regular Montanan from the water last September. A GF guy. Attorney.
In 2011 I kindly reminded a couple regular Montanans at the boat ramp that “the water is much higher than normal and for the fellows to be careful out there.” The fellow, 72 yo and his son, 50 yo, from Helena, said to me “This craft is much more sea worthy than anything you’ve got down there (parked off the boat ramp).” 20 minutes later I was pulling both of them, one after the other, with out life jackets on, from the river. They had capsized their boat on the first corner, the first trestle below WC Bridge, immediately. Did not make it one mile before dumping it. These regular Montanans treating me with disdain at the boat ramp…almost angry that I would suggest being safe.
Same year hauled two fellows with two rafts tied together from the water after they had hung up on trees on a submerged island. Rowed over to help and got them in the boat. Both rafts ripped, torn, sank. No life jackets. Got both of them from the water too. They were from Kalispell.
Same year had one of our guides pull three men from the water after hitting a bridge pillar sinking the boat. I spoke, before the incident, with them at the boat ramp and they said they had it, no problem, had floated the river 3 times in the last 10 years and knew what they were doing. Again, with disdain for me suggesting safety. They made it 1.5 miles before sinking. Our guide put them in his boat, with his two clients, also form Montana, and rowed them to the boat ramp. Got them warm clothing with his extra clothing on board. Then pulled his boat, took them to Craig, and restarted his day. Regular Montanans helping other regular Montanans. The guide, born and raised in Missoula. The sinking near drowning anglers from Ronan.
I suggest that we all work together. I suggest that we all follow the etiquette signs and regulations posted at the boat ramps (Missouri River). The public outnumbers commercial use on the Mo 4 to 1. That is a fact. There are no commercial restrictions on the Missouri River. Legislated Jamie. Guides follow a specific set of rules outlined by the state by public officials that were put in place by regular Montanans.
Over 50% of our business here at HH is regular Montanans. Out of state guests are important, but the majority is from in state. Headhunters Fly Shop is supportive of Montana TU, Guides for Conservation, GF FFF, donate to Military Veterans from Montana to the tune of 10K+ a year including working closely with Montana Project Healing Waters providing two free rental boats daily here at the shop, we teach lots of free fly fishing classes which include etiquette, sponsor mentoring programs for children teaching them how to act in nature and in communion with others, donate to Florence Crittenden women and children, conservation projects, UMOWA and the list goes on. We give back to the community to the tune of 10’s of thousands of dollars annually. Volunteer 200+ hrs a year to Craig Caddis Fest, Craig Community Association, Cascade Pool Fund, sports programs in Cascade MT and much, much more.
I guess we are regular Montanans too.
In the article Jamie I suggest that we all work together. I am suggesting that through cooperation we can experience the resource together. I am opening this discourse. We are open to working together, educating each other, and moving forward.
I appreciate your interest in continuing to improve the on the water experience for all of us. We hear you loud and clear Jamie. Point taken. We here at HH want all Montana fishing guides to act professionally. The rest?