Missouri River Montana Fishing Report

Missouri River July Fly Fishing Forecast

Missouri River Mid-July Fly Fishing Forecast

Welcome to July! We have made it through the busiest month of the year, June, and have emerged on the other side with the hope of continued summer hatches and sunshine.

I’m sure we will have early start times at the shop and the guided clients will set the alarm to not only beat the heat but be in position for the Trico spinner fall.

Here is the Missouri River July Fly Fishing Forecast.

Hot. July is our warmest, hottest, month here in central Montana. Temperatures commonly near 100 degrees. As mentioned above we will see them this week. Let’s hope we do not see too many days over and above the century mark. So, we go out early. 630am is not too early. This can allow you a good morning bite with an afternoon siesta followed by an evening caddis session.

Lots of sunscreen and sun hats and sun gloves and SPF sun shirts too. If you need any of that kind of sun protection we have a full line of BUFF products, Skwala , NRS, Orvis, Howler Bros., and SIMMS sun products, and sunscreen from SunBum and more! Lip protection is important too alone with lots of water.

I find that many guests are afraid to pee. Yep, pee. So they don’t drink nearly enough water during the day. Many fishing guides drink in the neighborhood of one gallon. Yes, honest, true. If you do not drink the water, hydrate yourself, you can expect less than perfect performance. Less than 16 oz. of water is not enough. Nope. So get after the water consumption and perform better. It’s OK to drink lots of water. Lots. Enough to keep you active and productive after the lunch session.

Missouri River July Bugs and Hatches


Trico’s. Ephemerella Tricorythodes is the primary insect that most come out for in July. Daily hatches that go on strong through the month of July. Depending on the season, the year, the cycle, the Trico’s can last through the month of August and into September.

The males hatch in the evening and wait until the morning to greet their female counterparts. Females hatch in the morning meeting up for the in the air mating session. This is the event that many get pretty stoked about. Those high columns of mating bugs that may be 8-10 feet wide and 50+ feet high are impressive indeed. Mating columns get our blood pumping. They should do the same for you.

Then the spinner fall happens about 9am. Warm and hot air temps are OK for the Trico. Summer bugs don’t mind summer conditions with high and bright sun coupled with the air temps.

Spinner falls are awesome!

Trico Patterns that we love include the spinner in lots of versions. Double Wing, small Adams, Quigley’s Hackle Stackers, single winged spinners, sunken spinners, Griffith’s Gnats, Buzzballs, even a spent caddis or rusty spinner can get the attention of these sometimes finicky trout eaters.

Emergers can come into play in the front end of the hatch. I have had success with a small soft hackle type fly under an Adams. Or without the Adams. Just swing it. A CDC Emerger can be effective as well. Black bodied, tailed, and CDC winged.

Duns? Yes, sometimes they will get on them. Seems like the trout like them more than they like the PMD dun. Small parachutes, Adams, CDC Hanging Midge, and the like.

Pale Morning Duns

Going strong! Great PMD hatches and spinner falls daily. Hatches after 9am. Some days 11am. Spinners are in the forefront of many anglers minds. The days of the easy emergent stage along with the cripple mania is passing. Spinners will be the most productive, historically, as the hatch moves into its second month. May have another couple weeks of this kind of deal, but then, poooof!, they’ll be gone until 2025. Some years we get 8 weeks of the PMD. Those are the good years!

Patterns include the always popular and fishy cripple. Fish it strong. Fish it blind. Fish it bro’. Spinners. Yep. Soft hackles? Sure why not. CDC Emergers? Yes. Duns? Only if you are crazy or like to cast a lot. Or both. Or don’t like catching fish. The king of the PMD patterns is the Spinner. The KING!

Headhunters PMD selection is heads above the rest. 64 dry fly patterns. Over 100 PMD nymph patterns in stock! Come on by for that secret bug you need. Which one? We don’t know until you walk in the door. It’s different for everyone.

Caddis Flies

Pretty good showing so far this summer. The night show is awesome. The day time show is good. The morning show is damn good too. A good one to blind fish. Best really in several years as the fish are on them well. Spent and emergent bugs do well onto Mighty Mo.

Skittering caddis abound during the day time hours, recently. Find a good skittering caddis and let it ride. Blind or cast to a rising trout you may be surprised at the success rate. King’s River, Missouri River Special, X Caddis, Outrigger, CDC and Elk, Translucent Emerger or Translucent Pupa, CDC Caddis, Flambe, Hi-Vis tape Wings, or some down winged marvel that you have in your box…find one that you like, and can see and fish it strong. Fish it hard.

I’ve been digging the CDC Palmered Caddis, CDC and Elk, the Flambe, and the ever popular Translucent family of flies. There are some good ones out there.

Caddis will continue through September. Sometimes strong, other years not so much. But fish it with confidence all the time for good mid day action.

Or toss the spent in the morning hours for a good time. A spent during the day is good too. Evenings? Yep, of course.

Ants and Hoppers

Oh, the fish are probably looking for something like them soon. We are not on them yet as there are so many other dry fly options. But an ant blind or a smaller hopper attractor patterns can get it done. Blind fishing can be good. But if there are rising trout most prefer to cast at them. For the beginner trout angler who would like to have success on a dry fly without frustrating themselves with our sometimes finicky trout risers…a great way to transition. A great way to spend the day.

Headhunters is the favorite shop of attractor pattern shoppers. Techy small dries too. And nymphs of course…


Coming soon. Not yet, but it is coming. Buck up little camper, this is the big leagues. If you can’t hang…fish the Madison.

Missouri River July Water Flows

Summer lower flows for the wade fishing army. Bring it!

Flows stable in the low 4K’s.

The June time period is over. Good times ahead. Far fewer anglers and boats in the last couple days. After July 25th it falls of of the cliff. If you like quieter angling with some difficult fish, come in August. We can accomodate

Headhunters Fly Shop and Guide Service

Open daily at about 6am. Browse our extensive fly selection and pick up that sun shirt or that gift for your kids and wife.

See you on the river soon. Enjoy July.


Caddis, Forecast, July, PMD, Terrestrial, trico, Water Flows, Weather, Weeds
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  • Bob Bergquist
    July 1, 2024 1:21 pm

    Anyone else recall the pods of rainbows that looked like riffles eating tricos back in the 90’s and 20’s? A high-viz trico spinner with a #20 silver and black zebra six inched underneath rocked them for hours straight.

  • cliff nagatani
    July 3, 2024 12:24 pm

    Hello Bob,
    Yes i do, in 1990 above wolf creek bridge with super low flows, many pods of sippers just awesome! Maui sez hello!

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