Missouri River Montana Fishing Report 5.26.15

The weekend is beyond us as we move into the last week of May.

I thought that the rising water temps in the middle of the month would change the progression of insects and set the PMD’s off early, the Caddis to continue with straight, and the BWO’s to hold longer.

Results of the early predictions were mostly wrong. Again, wrong as an angler.

But I am certainly getting used to missing the mark and will continue to try to predict the future with Mother Nature dealing a difficult hand.

So we may be back on schedule with PMD’s beginning about the 2nd week of June and Caddis moving into our thoughts closer to the front end of June. Again, some guess work and some historical data. That is how the scientists work right? The historic emergence of the PMD is that we see the first PMD around the 5th, 6th, or 7th and then within 3, 4 or 5 days the game is on. Will that happen this year? Maybe.

Missouri River Montana Fishing Report 5.26.15
Watch this chart for hatch triggers


June is a fabulous month on the Missouri River. Will it be good this year? Yep. Will there be good dry fly fishing? Yep. Will there be a bundle of folks around? Yep. A very busy month here in Montana. All of t eh rivers will be fishing well as most of the westside rivers have experienced the run-off period. With the rains recently the rivers may be a touch off color and we will see some pressure from across the divide for those periods.

Missouri River Montana Fishing Report 5.26.15

The waters below the Dearborn are off color here locally on the Mighty Mo. When will that subside? A couple days. Currently running at levels near historical normal. The Dearborn is blown and the water a touch muddy for a few miles. Green yes. Un-fishable. No.

Little Prickly Pear is also spitting some mud, but not bad at all. Worm it up near the mud line? That is what the old timers would tell you. Does it work? Only you can be the judge of that legendary lesson.

Fishing. The fishing report is as follows.

The Upper River: Good to great. Some days better than others. Crowded? Yes, definitely. The lower reaches scare some folks with the mud and also many do not want to leave their comfort zone. Understood. The weekend had many floaters stuffed up top.

Nymphing is great with the standard Sow/Scud fly up top and the smaller something or other hanging below. Little Green Machines, small PT’s, Trigger Nymphs, Green Bellied PT’s, Purple LB’s, Pearl LB’s, Anato-Mays, Micro-May’s Gidget’s, S & M’s, Peep Show’s, Tunghead PT’s, Zebra’s, Rainbow Warrior’s, and may more mayfly nymphs of your choice. The BWO’s are still getting attention subsurface with the caddis and PMD’s not far behind.

Dry fly fishing up top is focussed on the March Brown and the BWO. Cripples and mergers are good. They will eat the dun too, but it better be presented well early in the drifting/casting session. Not every fish will fall for the good ‘ol Adams. But most do. Cluster midge, CDC Hanging Midge, Purple Craze/Haze, Nymen’s Cripple in both dark and light post config’s, Buzzballs, CDC Mayfly Emergers, any Harrop’s CDC patterns, Half Dun Hatching, Brook’s Sprout is killer, CDC Bubblebacks...come on in for additional info and flies that should, and might work this week on the Missouri River.

The Lower River: Below the Dearborn the game does change. More Caddis and PMD’s are evident. Yellow Sally’s should be on your mind too although they do not present themselves for some time, but remember that the nymphs are in the water column long before we see them flitting around our sunglasses.

Missouri River Montana Fishing Report 5.26.15
Is it on the fall yet? Maybe this week.


Nymphing is good. Fish all the stuff you like whether is be the sexy side or not. A ton of folks only fish the left side of the river, if you care. Find your groove and stay on it. Do not be afraid to lengthen or shorten your rig if you are not getting a good bite. No static patterns for those who get them more often than not. What worked yesterday, last week, or last year may not be the key to your success. Be aware of the changing conditions and change along with them.

Much of the same flies are in the mix but do not be afraid to toss some bigger generic patterns like the Prince, Purple Prince, Rubber Legs, Squirrel Nymph, Worm in many flavors, Czech Nymphs, FB’s, Bigger PT’s like int he 12 range, Yellow Sally nymphs, PMD nymphs for sure and many of your shaggy Caddis Nymphs. Translucent Pupa behind anything is good. Nitro Caddis, Grape Slushy, Bloom’s Weight flies in purple and gold, Silvey’s Pupa, and any of the flies listed above as well. Soft hackles may be a good bet dangles off of the nymph too. Be more creative on the lower and you can be rewarded.

Dry Fly fishing on the lower is good too. Weather dependent and pray like hell that the North Wind does not blow. that puts those sneaky sippers right off of the surface sinking them to the easy nymph prey lanes.

Dry-Dropper is a good bet. Solo dry is also good. Blind dry? All of this is up to you the angler. Lots of ways to achieve Mo River greatness. Caddis flies are a good choice with Mathew’s X-Caddis being a great one. You can fool the trout early in the season with this e flies that float well. Troth Caddis, Goddard’s and those fluffy jobbies that we love so much. Then when that time frame passes us by you gotta toss these film flies like the Stocking Wing, Trans Pupa, Buzzball, Missouri River Special, Bloom’s Ant, Half Chicken and others.

March Browns are fading and while they can produce action, the action is slowing. Get on there Baetis bus for good afternoon action. Film flies here to are a good bet. Crips and spinners and mergers are our game here in central Montana. If you have been fishing here for years or reading this blog for years, you should know what I am talking about. Any CDC fly is a good guess.

That is the current and most up to date info available to you, to us, to the angler. Fly Shop open daily 7am till 8pm for any and all your Missouri River needs. If you need info about lodging here on the Missouri River we are the largest booking agent with the most rental properties of any shop on the Missouri River. Check out www.Craiglodging.com for a ton of killer lodging options. If you need a fishing guide we have those too.

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