Weekend Fishing Report from Headhunters of Craig

Weekend Fishing Report from Headhunters of Craig

Turning towards better fishing? Boy we hope so. Inconsistent it has been. And for some, not good at all.

We totally agree. For those who do not spend most everyday on the water the catch rates have been relatively low. Sometimes awful.

And that is fishing as we know it.

But the water temps are warm, the fish are active, and now the bugs have made a better showing than they have for a couple weeks at least!

Today overcast, cold, raining. Yesterday the same. Two things that we love include lack of sunshine on the waters coupled with cooler air temps. What does the mean for the dry fly bite? It means bugs stay on the water longer. It means that the trips stay cleaner. It means better fishing!

Dearborn and Little Prickly Pear tightened up this week. Both falling. Headwaters cooler and it will slow down or postpone the run-off period.

The Missouri River below Holter Dam and beyond currently flowing at 5090 cfs with water temps at 49F. All good man.



The run-off period and height of the local run-off here will not impact our fishery this year. We think. Looks normal. All indications are that it will be normal. Meaning average. So we are sort-of confident that the dry fly spring and summer will happen. We are not cancelling the dry fly summer of 2020! No way man.

Normal flows from here on out, unless something freaky happens. And we all know the odds of that are…?

March Browns. Happening now. Will increase as the week goes on. How long will they last? Who knows. But a long hatch period would be two weeks. Duns and cripples get it done. An afternoon occurrence. March Brown Parachutes or Brindlechute or a cripple will get fish to turn around coming for it downstream!

BWO’s. Here now. Will go on for another couple weeks? We have seen good baetis action as late as mid June. Warm periods followed by unseasonably periods, meaning a few days, will bring this bug back. Don’t count out the BWO. It will show up when you least expect it. Do not put it out of you mind for the month, and longer? But for May it should be on your radar. DOA BWO Cripple is one of our favorites. Hint: Adams or Purple Haze with a dark post is visible during glare or overcast skies.

Mother’s Day Caddis? Oh boy. None verified yet. Mother’s Day is right around the corner. Get your mom some flowers. Again, keep you eyes open. Fish get real dumb on both the Caddis and MB in May. Right place right time for this hatch. Mostly happens on the bottom half of the river. We love an X Caddis or a pattern low in the water.

Midges. Lots. Daily. Not many fish on them this year. Maybe next year? Maybe. Small Adams, Cluster Midges, Griffith’s Gnats, Buzzballs, singles.

Skwala? Toss the big bug at the shore and a big one may eat it. Come by the shop for our secret Skwala patterns. 

Wear your mask inside the shop and get a free fly of your choice.

You like apples?

Nymphers. Mostly a dam show for those who enjoy the row around. Others fishing all over the river. Water temps dictate the fish are spreading into all water types. The only type I still would skip is the damn fast seam lines bank-centric freestone fishing practices that many cannot keep themselves from. Other than that fish were you feel that they are. 4′-6′ from bobber to a “B” split shot, find the shelf ad dump it in. Scuds, sows, worms, BWO nymphs, March Brown nymphs, midge pupa, Trichoptera Brachycentrus nymphs (brown caddis pupa nymphs) and so on.

Streamer Anglers Unite. Lack of pressure can allow you a good shot at a big brown trout. Or a silly rainbow too. Darker patterns in the sculpin family have been producing. Black of course, always good. Flash? Oh yeah flies like the Kreelex, Skiddish Smolt, Ramp 2 Ramp, Rusty Trombone, leeches will work too. Intermediate tips seem to put the bug int he right spot. If you like to get it deeper, find your water and you may be rewarded. Fish those deep inside bends with that tip that reaches into the bowels of those trout haunts. What could happen?

Swingers. Not as terrific as you may think it should be. They too were victims of the poor and inconsistent but the past month. Moments of brilliance? Yes, always. But the general condition of the fishing has been below average at best. Even the positive minds and hearts of fly shop employees, guides, and anglers of all walks cannot put a smile on all the time. Sometimes, Mother Nature does not always reward hard work and warm squishy positive feelings.

You could bump into some great swinging when the Mother’s Day caddis come off on the lower reaches. There will be some Trout Spey fanatics around this weekend.

Stop in the shop if you need assistance in this arena. Headhunters of Craig is your Trout Spey HQ in all of Montana ad beyond. We have the gear, the up to date stock, the flies including tons of swing flies, streamers, and soft hackles that not many shops even delve into…we are your source. Lines, rods, tips, leaders, accessories, and so on. Visit the shop in Craig or give us a call on your cell-y for info, rigging, line suggestions, or just to chew the fat on all things Swing! 406-235-3447

Guide Service. Open and guiding. While we do not have a full calendar as out of state customers, for the most part, or left out because of the 24 day quarantine rule that stands here in Montana, we are guiding anglers on the water. Montanans who have taken advantage of the “Locals Only” spirit are taking advantage of the lack of river pressure. If you want to hire a guide in the next month we do have availability. Not one of our guides has a full calendar this month and are ready to guide at a moments notice! Call today to get out during May. The fishing is picking up. Why not get out there and enjoy a day on the water in a sanitized and clean vessel with Headhunters fishing guides.

Lodging. Open. We are following the 14 day quarantine protocols here as well. Availability across the board due to the travel restrictions. Call today for your dream cabin on the river or nestled in the small fishing ‘burb of Craig. Craig Trout Camp properties open and available. Stay right here in downtown Craig, next to the shop. By far the most popular lodging sites on the entire river. Prices starting at 175/nite!

Fly Shop. Open daily 8-6. Shuttles, flies, info, a big DEMO ROD SALE going on, spring cleaning items that have to go are on our sale rack now, discontinued waders, rods, boots, and so forth at Headhunters right now. Our OnLine Fly Shop is clipping right along. Lots of local anglers ordering their flies, leaders, tippets, and add’l gear through the web store. What a perfect way to have your cake and eat it too. Order it. What a couple days. Open your mailbox. Go fishing. Simple. Easy. Efficient.

The Best Flies Under the Big Sky in our always well stocked fly bins. Flies are coming in the door still and we are excited about the new dry flies that we are seeing. The fish will not know what hit ’em this season! Ask for a look at the new patterns next time you visit the store in Craig.

Izaak’s Open Today! Cannot wait for the first rack of ribs, Nacho’s and a cold Montana Brewed Beer tonight. Ahh, a comfort of Craig is ending the day at Izaak’s Restaurant.

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