Missouri River Monday October 22nd Fishing Report

Missouri River Monday October 22nd Fishing Report

Late October and the fishing is fair. Moments of brilliance, but not the fishing we love with the overcast skies, BWO’s littering the surface, and not another angler in sight.

We do have light pressure this week. It’s pretty nice. Guide trips out daily still here at Headhunters of Craig. We do have some good traction on our Spey Especial as Whitney and John along with a couple other HH Guides are out there swinging flies on Trout Spey Rods! Get in on this fantastic $400 Spey Only Special through the month, all of November, all the way to New Years!

Nymphers are getting it done with Czech’s and Zebra’s. Small BWO patterns in the afternoon. Deeper in the am and shallower in the pm. It is a simple as that. Find the deep weed shelf lines for that morning show. Then focus on the seemliness for your afternoon game. Sows too. Stock up for the winter months as PINK will be in fashion within the next month.

Streamer anglers are doing well. Depending on the day along with the fly. The fly seems to change but one thing is certain, not too many anglers in your way. Light pressure as I mentioned above. If you like wide open river space, you have another month ahead of us to visit the Mo. Headhunters open daily, as you know, for your shuttle, guide trip, or lodging needs.

A combo of smaller wet flies coupled with Kreelex, varietal Skiddish Smolt patterns, leeches, buggers, Dali Llama’s, Mozuri Minnows, Zonkers, and the menagerie of articulated flies for your fishing pleasure.

Those who cannot get away from the dry fly are enjoying better afternoons than mornings. We have been doing well enough for the morning session if we have a Zebra tied off of the shank about two feet. That is the money maker.

When you get to the sweet spot of the day you should be leaning towards the BWO Cripple. Small or not. Still some caddis here and there. Big ones and small 16’s. The latter we call the September Caddis. The former the October Caddis. Top flies or trailing tan 16’s can get some action near the banks blind fishing or not.

Some good fish rising in slack ass water. Not totally stopped I don’t fish that stuff!  but barely moving. Make sure you do not foul it up early in the casting session. They are wary, aware, and not awfully friendly.

Looks like the weather is turning in a few days. We love overcast skies. The flows are near 4000 cfs. The water temps falling a couple degrees/week and currently coming in at 51F. Good stuff. That means active trout. Another great period ahead with water temps above 40F. Get out here and enjoy the river with Headhunters. On duty daily 730-7.

Happy Monday!!



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  • Advise about lodging

  • As always, an awesome report, Mark.
    So, with this month being my 60th October fishing Montana, largely on the Mo’ the past 40 years or so, I’m claiming the rights to making a couple comments. First, Mark, thanks for your dedication to this blog and to the Mo.Although I’ve managed 14 days this month, I like to wade (might be rethinking that point) and age along with old guy stuff keeps me from fishing as often as I want to, like every day, so I find myself fishing vicariously via your daily posts- tips, reports, great videos, all of it. (Had some pretty good outings, too) Double thanks. And to your readers: if I can have a great outing by reading the blog- where the hell ARE you?! No excuse for not being in this guy’s boat tomorrow. None. Think you’re a
    “Trout bum”? A few years ago, when I got that early morning call nobody wants, news that my Mom had passed away, I loaded the car and headed south for Billings, drove past Billings to Fort Smith, fished the Horn for the evening, slept in the car, fished the early morning, then finished the drive to Billings. Somewhere around Harlotown, I decided that, since she knew exactly who she’d raised, she wouldn’t mind, it was… on the way… (sort of) and, after all, she wasn’t going anywhere. I’M a trout bum and if you want to wear that moniker, you have to walk the walk! True story. It HAS been insinuated that I may have scrambled the seeds in my pumpkin one too many times, but reader-dudes, in my mind, the crazies are the ones not calling Mark for a float ASAP. By the way, the Craiglandia weather for Thursday and the next seven days is “cloudy to mostly cloudy with highs in the 50s and 60s”.Now, I live here because of the dry fly thing, but if I lived wherever you reader-dudes do, I’D be at the bank when it opened to secure the money for a “Mark-float” in the next ten days, tell the boss I needed time off because I might have Ebola, and get here. Even if the fishing is, as Mark wrote, “fair”. My crazy-as-I-might-be wife of 43 years wouldn’t even ask why I got the loan; she’d ask where I was going (this, too, is true story stuff because it’s happened). By the end of our fly fishing honeymoon to Yellowstone and Henry’s in Idaho, she had fun by the way, she believed (and continues to believe) my philosophy for having a good life without regrets, as explained to me by my late friend and fishing buddy, Walt, who held an Ivy League post-graduate degree in philosophy but hid it beneath the wardrobe and personna of your average Montana cowboy ranchhand… if that cowboy used a vocabulary gained by memorizing the Webster’s unabridged dictionary. I’ll get back to that philosophy at the end of my blog-hog rant.
    Fishing tips from a potentially crazy old man, complete with anecdotes, which have contributed to a totally awesome 14 days of fishing on the Mo this October…
    1. Streamer blasters try going back to the 60s old school by being on the water and already casting at daybreak with your breath showing and that foggy- misty thing coming off the water. You can always go take a nap if unsuccessful and return to the water at a more civilized hour (or go to the Headhunters shop for free hot coffee, buy a couple of needed accessories and complain to the staff that some crazy old guy gave you bum advise). I carried two different rated sinktips, but in my case, never needed to loop one on my floater. Used a 10’ 3x fluorocarbon leader. Used only root beer colored Kreelex in 4 and 6- more hits on the 6- and didn’t try anything else because I didn’t need to. Might be different tomorrow… did this 3 times, the last time on Wednesday the 17th, and did well each time. Promised anecdote: on the 17th, while still half asleep and paying no attention, shaking out line in the current before my first cast, a plus or minus 18” brown slammed my Kreelex on a slack line less than 30’ below me- stunned out of mindlessness, I might have peed myself a little because I’m old- enough information on that… but the fish was cool.
    2. My son from Helena was with me on that same day, the 17th, and in the afternoon when the BWOs came off, we both did really well (even though it was windy and a little bright) using cripples. I drove him back to Helena and stopped in On Broadway for beers and food (you ever try their garlic and artichoke appetizer dip, Mark?, it’s awesome). Sat with a couple of his friends who’d also been out and I drank quietly while he told them my-dad-is-seriously-obsessed stories ( his description is “chronically OCD infected”). He told them we did really well with cripples. They said they kept changing flies but couldn’t find the right one and did shitty. Then, one kid asked me which cripple did I think worked better- one tied on a curved hook or one tied on a standard hook- my kid choked a little on his beer and I answered “I prefer to use the one tied on by the guy who makes a great first cast because he practices casting instead burning time shopping for a magic fly”. My kid offered up “I wasn’t specific but I tried to warn ya”. I thought I was being helpful and only a tiny bit obsessive-crazy…
    Anyway, thanks for letting me rattle on. And, oh, yeah, the philosophy deal that seems to become a greater truth with every year that I grow older:
    We’ve all heard the old expression that “a bad day fishing is always better than a great day working “. That isn’t a philosophy, it’s a faded bumper sticker on a used car.
    I told my wife: catching fish is what makes me happy and when I’m happy my life works. Every year has 365 days, but due to external factors like weather conditions, water conditions, the insect activity and how the fish are reacting to it, and the time of year, the fishing varies. There are less than 50 days in every year when all these conditions are nearly perfect at the the same time and to be there, you have to disregard anything else that is going on (to a point is implied here) and go catch fish and stay centered and happy. I promised her that if I followed this less than 50 days philosophy, we would have a happy life. It’s now going on 44 years and she’s still around, so I may not have been right but I wasn’t wrong… Mark, you reported in your post that activity on the river is really light. I guess in an annoying, wordy old man way, I’m pointing out to my fellow blog addicts that most of the next 10 or so days look like they’re gunna be in that “less than 50 days catagory” so maybe they should give you a call. Or, maybe I’m full of shit and just like telling dumb stories. I know I’ll be out there because catching lots of fish (and your blog) makes me happy.

  • yeah…what he said

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