Missouri River March Fishing Forecast
Things to think about in March
Day 8 3rd month here on the Missouri River. The Missouri River March Fishing Forecast looks strong. Below average water levels and warming water temps are what we will see this month along with more and more midge flies near the surface.
The weather while unpredictable this year already will grace us with both kinds of days. Good ones and bad ones. The question being which kind of day do we really want. I think both. We do need to add to our snowpack mountainside to insure adequate water flows for the summer. More snow is always better than not enough. We have not had a significant snowpack and/or run-off event in a few years. 2023 will hopefully bring a historic flush to us this spring and early summer. But that is not what the long term forecast holds. But, Mother Nature is an unpredictable creature.
Remember the high water years of ’08-’11? 4 consecutive years of better than average water. While some complain when the water levels are such that the dry fly fishing does not get rolling until late July we here on the Mo plead for that action again. The haters will hate. The hate club complains when we do not have enough water too. They hate on us when the weather is hot mid-summer and the weekend warriors from the region fill our waters with rafts, tubes, and non-fishing recreationalists.
The remainder of us must hope for the best and prepare for the worst. The worst would be a decline in snowpack depth, unseasonably warm days and more importantly nights. Stop. That is the end of that discussion.
The best case scenario is that we continue down this winter road and continue to build the water and snowpack. Cold nights and cooler days will help as well. A normal March would be OK. A wetter than normal March would be real good my friends. As I have commonly asked for here on this Missouri River information blog I suggest we all take part in a rain and snow dance. In the privacy of your own home please. While your wife and kids are out. They already are suspect of your dancing style…
Missouri River March Fishing Forecast
March is the first month of the calendar year that we can expect relatively level or predictable fishing. It is also the first month with enough daily bugs to hopefully find a few rising fish. The nymphing heats up and the streamer fishing can be as good as it gets on any given day.
Missouri River March Hatches
Midges. Maybe an occasional BWO. Skwalas? The game is midges though. Depending on the year, and we don’t know until after it happens, the midge fishing can be damn good. Meaning topwater action. The midge are thick if you dip your flies beneath the surface. The midges have already been present for enough days to get the juices flowing in our resident dry fly gang. We hope that March will bring several days of great action. It’s kinda one of those things or events that you cannot plan for. You just have to be here on the right day, when the planets and moons align.
Nymphing is real good with any number of subsurface patterns. Black is the most popular color but do not forget to include an olive or green midge pattern. Both deep nymphing techniques with some adjustment of distance from bobber to fly, or split. The midge fly is something that may be attached to your rig all month long.
If the month is inordinately warm we will see some BWO’s popping here and there. The water temps would have to move toward 40F and beyond to see more than a few. Don’t hold your breath. But if we see a bundle of them then we are headed the wrong direction as far as weather and precipitation goes.
Skwalas? Oh maybe. Again, the later in the month would be more of a draw. We don’t have a ton of then anyway. But the fish will come to the topwater offer if you trust it for 8 hours a day. You gotta believe.
Missouri River March Weather
The daily air temps are nearly 10 degrees higher than the previous month. The historic precipitation is up as well. March generally brings nearly an inch of rain. And we will take it. How about more than an inch this March. Remember that snow/rain dance you promised to do?
Still prepare for any mountain, Rocky Mountain, conditions when fishing the month of March in Montana. It can change in a heartbeat. Full winter gear should always nearby when fishing the Mo this time of year.
Expect temps in the mid 40’s and some wind. The ubiquitous Montana wind. We have never liked it. But, a necessary evil for sure.
What to expect Fishing the Missouri in March
A crap shoot really. Mostly good with some not so good. If the early winter is any indication the fishing can go ether way during the day. Mostly hit and miss is what we hear from the anglers coming back in and giving us a post battle report.
What we are seeing is that some days the nymphing is good, and others not as good. The streamer fishing has been more consistent…which is the strange part. Usually the other way around.
You can expect the midge to show during the calm afternoons with certainly the late afternoons towards the last light producing a good rise. Stay out late. Get in late and stay the course.
Swing the Fly
Many anglers out and about during this strong Swing Season month. As you know many anglers in the shop daily looking for Trout Spey lines, iMOW tips, and our wide selection of Trout Spey demo rods. And then they are out there swinging through runs. Most are having success bringing a few to hand.
The best time to swing the fly on this river is pre-weed. The weeds get tough as we move into July. So, if you like to toss the two handed rod come on out and get on the water this month. April too. May too. Good action will be had until the aquatic vegetation becomes overwhelming.
Headhunters Fly Shop Heats Up in March!
More anglers appears as the weather continues to become more springlike as the month progresses. Call the shop for details on the guide trips and any questions you may have about specific lodging options. A full day fishing with lunch and drinks. All terminal tackle included. All you need is your new ’23 Montana fishing license and a smile.
2023 Fishing Licenses area on sale at the shop. We have a FWP License machine in the shop for the ease of you, the angler. We can get your license with a paper copy and everything. Headhunters is your One Stop Fly Fishing Spot.
Visit www.craiglodging.com and www.craigtroutcamp.com for the best selection of Missouri River lodging.
Headhunters Fly Shop March ’23
Open daily @ 8am. March is a fun month as we see many summer items coming into the store daily. John tells me that the fly selection is growing weekly. 10’s of 1000’s of 100,000’s of flies have passed in and through the Headhunters front door. Now is the time that the direction will change as they make their way out the door and onto the water.
New stuff from all kinds of vendors including Orvis, Sage, RIO, SIMMS, Skwala, OPST, Galvan, Hatch, Fishpond, Howler Bros, and so many more coming in daily!
Rental boats sitting in the yard until you take them out. Guides at the ready. Shop staff making coffee. All smiles all the way around. See you in Craig, in March!
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My buddies and I used to do it every year. Streamers only.