Trip Report Mo in October - fishing Wolf Creek & Craig, MT for the most trout ever in my life!

4sallypat

Active Member
#1
This was a Missouri river trip was hosted by Gig Harbor Fly Shop in WA.
http://www.headhuntersflyshop.com/gig-harbor-fly-shop-hosted-travel/

Awesome group, most productive trip ever and most fish caught daily!
Great food cooked every morning and evening with lots of alcohol all inclusive - all by owner: Blake Merkin of Gig Harbor Fly shop!
Thanks Blake for a wonderful trip!


Trip was mainly located at Craig, MT with Headhunters Fly shop providing the lodging (big homes) and excellent guides for 3 days on the river. This group has been going to this same place year after year and they now have a select group of guides that have been "filtered" out after all of comments on our guide's knowledge, service, and abilities.

I stayed an extra 2 days and got 2 more days on the Missouri discovering many spots between Wolf Creek and Cascade.

Tried my hand at dry fly fishing with a single hander using the guide's rod and caught some on dries but found out that precision and timing was crucial to catching them on dries. It's a very technical river when it comes to dries.
Nymphing provided much more results but hated having to lob cast an indicator rig.

Being the only 2 handed angler in the group of 8, I was lucky to find a guide that was perfect for my fishing style: Whitney Gould (FFF THCI and Spey O Rama women's champion).

Spey trout fishing is something that is catching on and the Headhunters Fly shop has a couple of two handed guides.

I was very lucky to have Whitney all day for myself because there were no other angler in our group that did 2 handed fishing.

Learned quite a lot on this river including the correct rigging, cast styles, presentation and fishing in the wind.

The wind is huge on the Missouri for sure - wind blew 3 out of 5 days I was there. Great to be able to cast out 100' of line in the wind when other anglers give up because their SH lines won't cut thru...

Here are some photos.

Craig boat launch (put in):


Rainbow on a dry:


Rainbow on a swung soft hackle:


Rainbow caught on a zonk-zilla streamer wading an island - trout spey:


Big brown caught by myself near Stickney Creek takeout on a 5wt trout spey rod w/ Airflo Scout head + T8 iMOW tip:


Only cell phone spot in town - at Headhunters Fly shop - they have a cellular repeater:
 

4sallypat

Active Member
#7
Cross the bridge from Craig, turn right (upstream). Widespot in the road may 1/2 or 3/4 mile: cell service! Nice report!
Yes, I remember this was a cell spot for phone calls and tests but has no data ability (no hotspot) for use with a laptop.
Using my phone as a WiFi hotspot with unlimited data, I would be able to connect my laptop; but not in Craig.
I barely got 3G cellular connection - never 4G LTE......

Felt so out of touch not being able to do web services (HTML) and remote VPN login.

Here is the location upstream of the Craig bridge that had great cell signal and great walk in only access.
Quite popular with tourists and locals alike at Lone Tree FAS:


The closest town that I had full data access was in Wolf Creek:

Wolf Creek has a brand new restaurant that blew my socks off!
it used to be the old Frenchmans or Frenchies place - the owners redid the entire bar and opened up 3 weeks ago - definitely worth going here because Izzaks and Oasis were closed for the season.
Best French dip, burgers, dogs, and local beers on tap!
Shotgun Annie's Bar Saloon and Grill next door to the tiny post office:
 

4sallypat

Active Member
#9
Was the dry fly fishing BWOs?
Dries were many types and different hatches thru the day including BWO baetis in the afternoon.
Lots of pseudo, caddis and midges from morning till dusk.
Definitely a dry fly heaven for those that love fishing dries on a technical river.

Personally, I didn't have a great time dry fly fishing because:
1. I am not a single hand angler - 2 hander is my style....
2. Can't cast very well SH.
3. I hate fishing from a boat.
4. Don't understand the technical nature of landing a dry to a rising pod of fish....
5. Wind kept blowing the SH line all over - it was then I switched to fishing streamers with my 2 hander which cut thru the wind easily....

There were some novice anglers in our group and could not hook one on a dry but they after 3 days, they were able to thanks to the great guides we had from HeadHunters fly shop.

The dry fly afficionados in our group had no problem hooking and landing lots of fish with the leader landing upstream from a drift boat. They had a blast.

I would return for sure but I would need to learn how to cast and fish for dries (this was my second trip doing dries)....
We don't get much dry fly action in Southern California where we fish salt water bays, estuaries and surf....
 
#10
Whitney is excellent, spent three days with her on the Klamath a couple years ago. She’s doing it again this year, look up Jefferson Spey Sessions; her partners are Jason Hartwick and Rich Zellman, a great group on a beautiful river-middle Klamath. Two of the group caught their first steelhead, fish came to dries, waked flies and tips.
http://www.steelheadwater.com/blog/2017/5/7/jefferson-spey-sessions-2017
Nice report Pat, thanks for sharing.
 

4sallypat

Active Member
#11
Whitney is excellent, spent three days with her on the Klamath a couple years ago. She’s doing it again this year, look up Jefferson Spey Sessions; her partners are Jason Hartwick and Rich Zellman, a great group on a beautiful river-middle Klamath. Two of the group caught their first steelhead, fish came to dries, waked flies and tips.
http://www.steelheadwater.com/blog/2017/5/7/jefferson-spey-sessions-2017
Nice report Pat, thanks for sharing.
Thanks for letting me know that Whitney still teaches in Northern Cali.
Thought she sold the house and planned to move to Montana ??
 
#12
Great report and pictures. Just a suggestion: next year leave the laptop at home, make your last phone calls before turning off I-90 and then turn your phone off! The world will still be going round & round. Being 'unplugged' is something I always look forward to, so I can concentrate on what is most important: the great area, the river and hopefully lot's of good times......just the way I roll.
 

4sallypat

Active Member
#13
Great report and pictures. Just a suggestion: next year leave the laptop at home, make your last phone calls before turning off I-90 and then turn your phone off! The world will still be going round & round. Being 'unplugged' is something I always look forward to, so I can concentrate on what is most important: the great area, the river and hopefully lot's of good times......just the way I roll.
Yes, now that I know in real life that Craig does not have Internet nor cell phone service - I would love to disconnect from the world for awhile!

Now the cell site coverage maps show complete cell phone service between Helena and Great Fall is a myth.

Maybe the cell phone coverage maps are wrong ??
 
#15
Cell coverage? I'm in North Kirkland(Finn Hill) and all of the Doug Firs have been replaced by cell towers. I have total dead spots in Juanita beach & Totem lake. I must admit that I now have another 'dumb phone', 3 G and 10 cents a minute, costs $110 a year for 1,200 minutes. I get better coverage in the Ellensburg, Wenatchee & Spokane areas....forget the Okanogan, NE Oregon. W. Montana & most of Idaho. T-Mobile and all the other companies are eliminating 3G by blocking areas. Do I care...no...I'm retired!