Fly Rods for the Missouri River are typically 9′ 5 weight, fast action rods. Most of our fishing involves technical dry fly or indicator nymph techniques. Powerful but lightweight rods are needed to make long, accurate presentations in the ever present wind.
Weight-forward floating lines with the energy to push through the wind are preferred for most Missouri River dry fly and nymph situations. Match it to your rod or “line-up” if you like it that way. We occasionally use sink tips for streamer fishing, and of course spey lines on our two-handed rods.
The Missouri is big and wide, and the trout run fast and far. Reels with quality drag systems and 50+ yds of untangled backing are required.
Lightweight breathable waders are preferred during spring and fall months (we use Simms Waders). From mid-June through September, we typically wade “wet”, wearing shorts or quick dry long pants.
Wading boots need not have cleats. The Missouri River is very easy wading with a flat bottom comprised of small gravel in most places. Mo’ regulars usually use non-felt soled wading boots, and river sandals during summer months.
The Missouri River has some of the best access and easiest wade fishing in Montana. FWP Fishing Access Sites are scattered through the canyon from Holter Dam to the town of Cascade. The Sterling Ranch near Craig allows public access for fishing. On the lower river, the Anderson Ranch Co. allows the same. Wading is super easy. Leave your cleats and staffs at home.
Rental boats are hard to come by on many western rivers. But the easy flows, soft bottom and lack of rough water make the Missouri River an ideal spot to rent a drift boat. Headhunters rents Adipose Drift Boats and NRS Freestone inflatable drift boats. Rentals are very popular and reservations should be made in advance.
Headhunters offers a full time shuttle service, and is the only service that does evening shuttles on the Missouri River. We can shuttle your vehicle anywhere between Holter Dam and Cascade.
Please feel free to give us a call or drop us an email with any questions you have about hatches, times to come, access, lodging or anything else that will help you plan your trip to the Missouri River. Our professional staff fishes every day. They know what’s working and what’s not. Missouri River Montana FLy Fishing. That’s what it’s all about!
MISSOURI RIVER LODGING
Finding lodging on the Missouri River can be difficult at peaks times. Headhunters offers the largest selection of accommodations on the river, though there are other options. Craig is the most popular area, and our cabins fill quickly and a year in advance. Most lodging in the canyon is limited to home rentals, but there are some smaller motels in Wolf Creek and Cascade. You can also choose to stay in Great Falls or Helena, with of which have many hotels and restraints to choose from.
CAMPING & RV’s
Camping is very popular on the Missouri River, but don’t expect a “wilderness” experience. Most campsites are at State of Montana Fishing Access Sites (FAS), and will see their share of late night partying, some road noise, and boat ramp traffic. But, they’re fun places to stay and you’ll meet anglers from all over the world! All have outhouses, but none have water or garbage (pack-it-in/out). If you’re looking for RV hook-ups, you have options at Headhunters, the Sterling Ranch, Mid-Canon, and Prewitt Creek.
EAT & DRINK
Because there’s not much else to do around here besides fish, eating & drinking are very popular activities. The most popular dinner spot in the area is Izaak’s Restaurant in Craig, which serves incredible BBQ, amazing steaks as well as seafood and pasta specials. Izaak’s has an excellent wine selection and full bar that is a popular after fishing hangout for both guides and anglers. The Oasis and the Frenchman & Me in Wolf Creek are the other two dinner spots in the area.
The only breakfast in Craig is the “stand-up” style. To-go burritos, breakfast sandwiches and cinnamon rolls can be had at Papa’s burger stand right on Bridge Street, or at the trout shop. If you want to sit down, you’ll need to head up to the Frenchman & Me in Wolf Creek.
Nearly everyone is eating lunch on the river, but if you do find yourself in Craig and need a bite head over to Papa’s for a burger, taco and some Huckleberry ice cream.
After dinner, most folks head on over to the legendary Craig Bar, known to many as “Uncle Joe’s”. Great bartenders, drinks, juke box, and thick with local flavor.