Big Trout in Montana is what we predicted way back in June of 2013. We know it’s hard to recall that after a busy summer, but if you followed us on Facebook and Twitter you can still find it. We don’t like to make too many predictions, but this comes after years of experience and every once in a while it proves us right. With an about average snow pack, but an early run-off we had lower water levels than normal. In essence low water is good as long as it stays cool, which for most of the summer it did. This allows anglers to reach big trout that might otherwise just be in too deep a water to effectively fly fish. While we don’t concern ourselves with just the big trout it is nice to see some hogs. If we’re being honest who doesn’t love to see big trout? Check out the gallery below and see for yourself.
Overcast skies, rain, light winds and ridiculously good hatches made for some of the best Missouri River fishing we’ve seen so far this year. Blanket hatches of Baetis (Blue Wing Olives), March Browns, Callebaetis, Midges and even some caddis made for some of the best dry fly action we’ve had in years on the Missouri River.
During the mornings we spent time nymphing while the trout were still trying to make room from their feeding activity the day before. As the day went on we’d start to see a few selective trout feeding on mayfly spinners and by early afternoon pods of fish began eating the emerging duns. While the trout were selective on the presentation they were fairly eager to eat a number of different dry fly patterns from emergers to duns to spinners.
We’d like to thank Andy and Jacey Watson from Bull Stock Media and Andy Watson Photography for a fantastic Missouri River fishing trip and some spectacular photos!
Saturday ended up being a much nicer day than forecast, instead of 50 and broken clouds, we had 60+ and sun all day. Fishing Saturday was pretty good, but not great. The deep nymph was the ticket in the bright sun. When the wind would lay down a but, and a cloud rolled over, fish would be up instantly on midges. But once the sun came back, down they went. We did see a fair number of Baetis that day, although the fish weren’t really keyed in on them. If the fish were up though, a midge cluster would get them, or perhaps an Adams. To really get them, you could drop one of many things off the back; zebra, green LB, etc. The short leash to rising fish is lethal. If they are rising, this will get em. 12-18″ to the first fly.
What a difference a day makes! Woke up Sunday morning to a trace of snow, 28-degree temps, light snow and light wind. Didn’t see a single beatis on Sunday, but there were plenty of fish up on midges. Again, the short leash was the way to really wreck shop. But we hunted up plenty of heads. Best dry was a 16 or 18 beatis cripple, which most fish would pick up on the first good cast. We tried the streamer for a bit as well but only moved a few fish.
Midges are definitely out and about, the Baetis fishing should be cranking up this week – especially on the overcast days.
Thanks to one of our great guides Jeff Johnson for this updated report.
OK, it’s 45 degrees in Livingston, Montana and feels more like spring than January. So as we are sitting here working on a few bookings for next season we keep looking out the window and thinking about, what else, fishing of course. Every year we spend the springtime hunting heads on the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers. It’s still a couple of months away from good dry fly fishing, but here’s a great video from our friends at 406 productions and a few of our local friends up on Missouri. For those of you looking to improve your dry fly technique check out the great downstream drifts, these anglers are getting.
There’s nothing that will get you stoked for the upcoming fishing season like some good fish porn!