Missouri River Fly Fishing

The Missouri River is arguably one the best trout streams in the country, or world for that matter. Prolific hatches and thousands of wild trout per mile clearly make this river a priority annual visit for many of our anglers…

Missouri River Description

The Missouri River “The Mo” begins near the town of Three Forks, Montana formed by the confluence of the Gallatin River, the Jefferson River and the Madison River. From its origin, it travels for more than seven hundred miles across the entire length of Montana. Our focus is on the tailwater fishery below Holter Dam for 35 miles to the town of Cascade between Helena and Great Falls. This section of river is known as the world’s largest spring creek.

The upper 12 miles slowly meanders through open hay fields with big sky vistas and many spring-creek-like characteristics. Several miles below Craig, MT the river picks up several freestone tributaries and enters a steep walled canyon which gives it some attributes of our western freestone rivers that we enjoy so much. After leaving the canyon the lower section and last section of river we float opens up to the plains with cotton wood bottoms and braided channels to explore.

The Fishing

Technical casting with tiny dry flies to large wild trout is what the Mo is most famous for. Although some of the fishing on this river can be technical, the Mo offers something for every angler. Nymphing is by far the most productive and easiest method but hunting for big fish with attractor dry flies and streamers is our favorite. This river holds over 4500 trout per mile in the upper reaches, and prolific hatches of mayflies, caddis, midges, and terrestrials give plenty of opportunity to cast to rising fish throughout the year.The Mo is a great alternative in late spring / early summer when all our freestone rivers are muddy from snow melt.

The Fish

Not only are there thousands per river mile, but they are BIG. These fish are fat, healthy, hard fighting big river rainbow and brown trout.  The fish average from 16-20″ but larger browns are often encountered, especially for those who have the patience to diligently throw streamers and large dry flies all day.

Fly Fishing Whitefish Montana