Dearborn River Canyon

Water Levels perfect for June ahead

Looking pretty good out there. Both the Missouri River below Holter Dam and out local tributary Dearborn River both in great shape for late May and June ahead.

Missouri River below Holter Dam currently falling at 5680 cfs. Looks like we will hold at 5500 cfs beyond this afternoon. For, the time being of course.

Canyon Ferry Lake levels: Currently 91.5% full. 4.6′ to fill. On schedule for full pool in the last week of June. So, three weeks from now, we should be just fine. Full pool is the goal. Less than full, not so good. Early in the winter, late in the winter, we were faced with a different equation. This is good. Full pool. If it rains a bundle more, we will now see the waters pushed through the system.

Dearborn River currently at 459 cfs. In good shape and pretty clear. Certainly fishable at these flows and clarity levels. Lighter and darker stonefly patterns are the key to success. Streamer anglers do well in the shadows and cliff bands. Some like the heavier sink tip on the streamer rod. How about a type 3 or type 5 tip? Get down and show the fly to some bigger trout. And of course, lose lots of streamer patterns. Get down and dredge, scrape, peer into the depths of some of those big hairpin type buckets that are so very sexy.  Remember that the Dearborn does not hold a ton of fish like its older brother the Mighty Mo. Consequently when fishing the Dearborn you must focus on fishing the best of the best. Fish the A+ fish spots. The locations that look the best, are the best. Generally believed to have fish only in those great, the best, trout haunts. All that great looking water between the “runs”, is not good. 20+ miles of water. If you spent a bundle of time fishing the stuff that looks really good, because it is moving and there are rocks  that look like fish should be near them…then you got more time than most. It can make the reach far too long if you fish all the “fishy” waters. Focus and the best of the best and you will have more success. Many row forward in-between the best runs. Or make a 12+ hour day of it. And that is the rower/angler prerogative, your choice, your float.

Will we see higher than average water levels this coming month? Maybe. Doubtful. Mother Nature makes that decision.

Fishing? Up and down. Those who are fishing down, nymphing, are seeing mixed results. Mixed bites. Some periods good, others not quite as good. Sows, scuds, worms, variants of mayfly nymphs seem to be the key. Most without split shot, but others encourage the depth control. 2′-5′ seems to be the right depth for most. Come but the shop and we can help you set up your rig if you have any confusion or just have not done this rig set up before. We are your education shop in downtown Craig Montana. the fun fly shop in Craig.

Need lunches delivered to the river this year or for the day? Check out Kelli Wilson and her great lunch operation Missouri River Eats. Order in advance and get it delivered to Craig, at the shop, any day of the week. You will love this river lunch.

Those who are fishing on top are having success. The late afternoon and evening rise seems to be the best. As the PMD makes its appearance the daytime dry fly fanatics will come out of hiding. BWO’s gotta be going away soon. Although the water temps are hovering around 52F. PMD’s like this temp. And will get rolling next week-ish? I’ve always thought the PMD’s come June 4, 5, 6th. Then the fish get after them a week later. The third week of the month. At least in SOL’s brain/archive.

Streamer anglers? Yes, more reports of better fishing. A more consistent bite. Of course, as all fishing can change by the moment, everyday is a new day. Flashy is the latest streamer fad. We got flashy in store.

Nymphers will continue to lean toward the PMD nymph and soon rely on it for all day successes. Frenchie’s and Split Back PMD’s will dominate the subsurface fly selections very soon. Pre-buy a few of both of these patterns as they sometimes disappear in fly shops. Brown-ish PMD Euro Flies will be quick to vanish in fly bins too. Which one or two will be hot this year? Don’t know. Yet. Sow bugs good all year long. Zirdle Bug mania still 4-6 weeks away.

The time is short for those swinging the Two Handed Rod. In another month the weeds will be too populous to swing a fly without weeds enveloping your rig. Get in your swing quota this month before the weeds of the Missouri eliminate a few disciplines of the fly. Come in for PMD soft hackle patterns. Swing a caddis too! Scandi lines are a wonder to cast coupled with light and small summer trout spey patterns. What a treat to fish these rigs in the late spring period.

  • Shuttles Missouri River and Dearborn Rivers daily
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