Missouri River Montana Fishing Report 4.23.21

Missouri River Montana Fishing Report 4.23.21

The reports are better everyday. When the fish are happy the anglers are happy. And all are happy. A big weekend on the horizon here in downtown Craig Montana.

Weekend Headlines

  • Yesterday a Big Vax Clinic on site with lots of guide trips on the water.
  • We are headed into the home stretch with our Annual Spring Special $450 Guide Trips. Still time to get out, catch some trout, learn some things, not have to row or wade, and enjoy the day. Call us on our TroutHotLine 406-235-3447
  • Drift Boat Clinic 101 Saturday. Here in Craig. Click link for more info and to RSVP with Justin at Adipose.
  • BWO’s on the water. Midges too.
  • Eat at Izaak’s.
  • Buy you Montana State Fishing License before you come. Way easier to do. Keep it on your phone. EZ!
  • Pretty crappy weather forecast for Friday and Saturday with Sunday warming.


Having success daily. Light, medium, and heavy. Have all three depths ready. Most are still going deep. Until the afternoon BWO pop. Swing a few up on a soft hackle in the late afternoon.


The nymphers are enjoying pretty consistent catch rates. The fish are spreading out. But it does not hurt to toss the flies into the primary location either. PINK, Bubble Yum, Pill Popper, any forehead or pink headed nymph is getting attention from the trout. Lots are tightly holding on to the SOW BUG like a security blanket. And rightly so. A great bug. Most have at least one of the two fly rig dedicated to the Sow Bug. Headhunters is flush with the sow bug. The largest selection and stock in the canyon. Honest.


Doing well. Look for water that is not necessarily next to the bank. With lower flows the fish are not tight to he and often. Also remember that 98% of Missouri River trout live in he center of the river. Try to pound that fact into anglers at the shop. It takes a while, sometimes a lifetime, sometimes never, to learn the differences between a freestone river trout environment and the Missouri River. Different from most trout streams. Think Mo River Style when you are here. Think where trout who do not have to hide behind a rock reside. Leeches. Leeches are good.

Soft Hacklers

This set does not speak much. This is the angler at the end of the bar, solo, sipping a brown colored elixir, perfectly content. The conversation will go something like this Hey you fish today? Softie Stud “Yeah.” Catch any? Softie says “Yeah.” Oh really. On what? “Soft hackles.” Really! How many? “Oh, a couple.” That is generally the angler who ropes ’em. Trust me. I’m a fishing guide. You never see those guys hooked up. And when you occasionally do catch them in the act, the release is just as calm, smart, efficient as the technique employed. I like seeing that type of angler. Respectful of the resource. Does not crowd other anglers. An angler who has spent lots and lots and lots and lots of time fishing, and watching, and smiling. Observant. Patient.


Not all day everyday. Cloud cover, yes. Sunshine, no. BWO’s afternoon. In the normal mayfly locales. Midges all day long. If you locate a good one, stop and fish. Not tons of targets out there. But more during the next couple days with the weather.

Weekend Weather

Cool, cold, rainy, snowy, windy. Sunday forecast is for a Hi of 55F with winds turning to the west. From now til then you will greeted with the wind in your face coming from the north.

Coffee. Whiskey. JetBoil in the boat. Hot chicken broth. Hand warmers. Warm Elmer Fudd hats. Mittens.

Local Services

Izaak’s Open Wednesday-Sunday 4-9

Shotgun Annies WC Daily for dinner. Wednesday thru Sunday 1130-9

The Oasis in WC. We have no idea. You will have to drive on over for a look.

New Sandwich Shop Wolf Creek open. Named “The Wolf”. Not sure the hours. Hoagies and Soft Serve is the game. Will have more as we learn more.

The Taco Shack in Craig is gone. Now the Medical Cannabis Shop named Bloom. Open daily I think. Montana Medical Cannabis Card required for purchase. Again, will do more research.

Headhunters Fly Shop

  • Open daily 8am. Open daily til 6pm, or later.
  • Demo rods for the two handed set.
  • Adipose Rental Boats. $100/day Shuttle Included. You tow it.
  • River Shuttles daily.
  • Simms Rental waders and rental rods from Sage, Orvis, ACR, Echo, Loomis, and more.
  • Full Time Professional Missouri River Guides available daily
  • 35 local Lodging options
  • Craig Trout Camp here in central Craig has 7 great houses for rent.
  • Call our Trout Hotline 406-235-3447 for any add’l Q’s you may have before your trip whether you live across the country or just around the corner here in Montana.
  • Montana State Fishing License. Buy before you arrive!
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  • Red Boat Mark
    April 23, 2021 8:58 pm

    Still, and without a doubt, the best fishing reports in the game. You’d think the others around the state would have learned by now.

  • Soft Hackles – a lost strategy for some reason not sure why but one of my favorites and a great tactic depending on the water and season. So many pattern options and the basic styles will keep you in the game. Hard tugs – you know it when a fish hammers it! Quick hitter here for newbies to SH’s – on that swing keep your rod tip up a little and follow the swing – say 30 to 45 degrees and when that fish hits, let ’em run and allow tension to set the hook. Watch that fly line at entry into the water :)). If you keep rod low and strip strike, you may either pull fly away too fast or bend the hook or break your tippet. Took me a while to figure this out – these fish are hot and will rocket down river on the strike. A heavier hook helps but I’ve had fish bend these too!

  • Lots are tightly holding on to the SOW BUG like a security blanket. And rightly so.

    Funny!!!…yet so true for me!

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