Missouri River May Fishing Report 5.7.15

Two days beyond Cinco de Mayo. Moving towards Mothers Day.

Outfitter Stu Dominick of Renegade Outfitters above roping them on the Missouri River near Craig MT. We love Stu here @ Headhunters. A long time friend and outstanding Missouri River guide. He is the understudy for renowned Walleye Angler and Outfitter Dave McKee who also roams the states best waters in search of dinner. During the day they fish for trout. Mostly.

The river is just fishing great.

Lots of biters.

As I like to say, the Missouri River trout are in a positive feeding mode.

Tired of fishing reports that are too filled with goo and happiness? Yeah, me too. Below is the straight up sober reality version today on the Headhunters honest fishing report.

Missouri River May Fishing Report 5.7.15

The fishing is heating up daily. It seems to get a little better everyday. Other hi-lites include the opportunity to fish in whatever discipline you desire. Or all in the same day. Or just tie on a night-crawler and drift fish the live worm. That shit works.

Dry fly anglers are getting it done both blind and sight fishing. What would I choose on this deal? A big giant film type caddis pattern or a sz 8 H & L Variant. But that is only what I would do.



Members of the DFO Army like bigger Adams, March Brown crips and spinners. The guys getting them make the first cast well. The rest of those seventh drift casters? Not as many to hand. Remember that you can make a number of casts short of the fish before you make the one that he eats. Meaning? Don’t screw the dog til later in the casting game. Perfect presentations catch the most fish.

The fish are not pressured yet so those anglers who are spot on get all of the fish to eat the fly. A rare and fickle time on any resource when the best anglers knock the living shit out of ’em.

So, if you are that type of angler…the time is now. If you want to be that kind of angler you may need to practice casting in the lawn a few more times before ascending that fish ladder. Or sacrifice yourself, your wife, and your children to live the almost lost art of the tenured trout bum.

I like the guy that just smiles when you ask if his fishing was any good. That humble 29 yr old drinking a Grouse Rocks is the feller who doesn’t need to tell you about how many fish he landed. He frankly doesn’t know what the number of trout he landed is, or was. He only knows that his game plan will adjust tomorrow to accommodate what he has gleaned from today.

I would venture that his success rate higher than most…

Dynamic anglers do well on techy tailwaters. Those willing to understand and adapt on the fly learn the Missouri at a rabbits pace. The rest? They resemble the other competitor in this age old Fable.

The Hare wins this race on the Mo. The Tortoise? No, not today.

Aesop would be wrong in this fishing fable.

Missouri River May Fishing Report 5.7.15

Those tossing the Dry-Dropper are having success. Try a March Brown soft hackle off the bend.

Nymphers? Rocking it daily. Short, medium, or long seem to be all working well. From the dam northwards have at ’em. Choose you water and fish it well. If you depth is not producing you can always change. The other day I made 4 water level/depth changes before I got into the trouts. Could it have been the time of the day with the morning session fishing slower,t he fish not being on the bite? Yeah, probably. But those who stop trying must not be into getting the trout to bite the hook. And I get that. There is more to the day than getting the net totally soaked. Enjoying the birds, the bugs, the rise-forms, the Pastrami Sando in your lunch box…all important facets of any fishing day.

Change is an important constant in successful fly fishing.

Streamer anglers are enjoying the change in weather and are also enjoying the lower water that is revealing the Missouri River bottom structure that is so damn important to understand to be a rock-star class streamer junkie. 7wt. is selling subsurface Mo River topo maps online here.

The flows for the summer are shown below in this graph with the probable flows being represented in red. Looks like mid 3K’s for the meat of the summer. Good dry fly flows. Good angler flows. Good fish flows? No. Fish like more water, more O2, more room, more insulation, just more water period.  We would not be offended if the flows were higher. Can we change this number? I guess not. But we will try to wish it higher.

Screen shot 2015-05-06 at 11.52.21 PM
US Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation Chart


Will the river temps climb? Yep. The weeds? Yep. Most likely all of the lower water issues will make themselves present this summer.

Including the occasional altercation between anglers. Just be smart and open your eyes to others around you. Swallow your tongue and let it roll off. Don’t catch the ball. You can just let the whole incident just bounce on by.

What can you do about it? Good question reader. What you can do about it is act like a stellar human being treating others with the same respect that you yourself deserve. Lead by example. Fish with purpose and understanding that you are sharing a resource with other anglers. You are not alone and cannot act like an idiot angler or one of those asshole anglers. Act like you are being watched by your son or daughter. Act like the stellar human being that you are.

It’s in you. It’s in all of us.

We are running headlong into summer at a quicker pace than we normally do here in central Montana. Thinking out loud about the fun, the fellowship, and the lower than normal flows. Let’s all be on our best behavior and enjoy the Missouri River and all she has to present us.

The fishing is great. It will get better everyday until July 5th. Hold on. Here we go…

Missouri River May Fishing Report 5.7.15
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  • alex russell
    May 8, 2015 7:44 am

    Stewy Streamer!

  • The Bugga' Man
    May 8, 2015 12:24 pm

    This annual civility reminder from SOL precedes the summer rush on the Mo (summer is now 10 months long in Craig :)) and prompts the following additional thought:

    The river and its inhabitants are the great equalizers. On the Mo, nobody is ‘better’ than anyone else and fish don’t know what kind of stick you throw your line with. A smile and a nice word to a fellow angler or guide is the best way to attract more fish. Happy people = happy days. Trust me, I’ve never caught anything when in a pissed off mood – the fish can sense that! Be happy, be nice and catch more fish!

  • Spent 3 full days on the Mo and haven’t even sniffed a fish. Well I have counted coup on a few as they have porpoised next to my fly bumping it with their brawny shoulders. I also did have one almost jump into the boat of his own free will which I probably would have counted as a catch. 3 full days and not one gol-dang fish. Piss me off, frustrated me…not in the least. I grew up on the Bighorn as a bait fisherman. I have caught hundreds of fish on worms and spoons. Now I spend about 60 days a year on many of freestones around the state fishing drys, foam and streamers. To spend my time on the Missouri in all her beauty and splendor with all those brawny ass rainbows rising around me had my primal neural-net lit up like a Christmas tree. Oh it was beautiful. Sure I could have put a little sausage on a hook and slathered it up in powerbait but if I really wanted to catch a fish that bad I would just use M-80s and a net. Instead I will go home and spend a great deal of time wondering, researching and dreaming of seeing an eat (the gift of putting a goose egg on the board). What an incredible puzzle/adventure that I hope takes a good long time to figure out. Gracias for the service and coffee while we were in town and I will be back.

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