Montana Trip

Thanks for the advice, I think I was looking at the wrong place on the map, your right I believe that it is roughly the same distance as Ennis, from Salem that is. Is the fishing fairly easy on the MO? I'm not looking to get into any real techinical fishing.

My buddy claims to be in but I don't know him real well so you never know. Could just be me going. Still worth it to bring the boat? Dragging the boat definetely adds to the cost.



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Is the fishing fairly easy on the MO? I'm not looking to get into any real techinical fishing.
I wouldn't consider the Mo "easy" fishing, but not as difficult as say The Henry's Fork or Chessman Canyon.

Nymph fishing is pretty standard if you follow a few simple rules:
-- Set the friggin' hook immediately. There are a lot of small insects on this relatively uniform moving water. These rainbows and browns in the 15" - 20" range aren't going to sip a #20 fly and take off across the river with it. They'll just suck it up, realize it's a fraud, and blow it back out. If you hesitate in your hook sets, you'll miss 95% of the trout takes.
-- In September there'll be a lot of Pseudos and even some left over Tricos and midges. Keep at least one of your dual flies small.

Dry fly fishing on the Mo requires some skill:
-- Drag is evil. Micro drag, often invisible to the angler is also evil. Eliminate it or prepare to be frustrated.
-- A good quarter down reach cast is your best friend.

Pulling streamers:
-- Most of the hook ups will come within 5 feet of the bank, but be prepared to break that rule of thumb often.
-- Use a strip set instead of raising your rod tip. You'll be amazed at how many more hook ups you'll get.

There's a LOT more I could write about fishing the Mo, but the above probably hits at least some of the highlights.

I fish Montana a couple times each year. Usually once in the spring and again around September or October.

I just fished the MO this year and we drifted it in a NRS raft. We went from below Holter dam, down to Craig. This is a really easy float and there is nothing to worry about as far as being experienced with rowing. There are some BIG fish in that river and lots of them! I would strongly advise you to spend a few minutes at the fly shops in Craig, before you head out fishing. Those guys can set you straight on how to fish and what to use. Also there are some really reasonable accomodations in Craig, if you plan ahead. Much better than sleeping in a tent! Make sure you bring some food and such with you, as there is not much to choose from in Craig, when it comes to eating. I have never eaten at Izaaks, as it is only open part of the year, but have heard it is good food.

I have also fished on the Clark Fork, Rock Creek, Bitteroot and the Big Hole. They are all good rivers and have their own ups and downs. Rock Creek is a small river, with lots of fish and plenty of area to spread out and fish. The road is rough, but if you are not driving 100 mph, it is not that bad. I have definitely been on worse roads over in Eastern Washington and in Oregon. You won't need a boat for Rock Creek and if you are worried about towing your driftboat all the way from Salem, you may consider renting one for a day or two from the shops in Craig. The saving in hassle and gas mileage may be worth it!

The Bitteroot is a great river as well, but it does see a fair amount of pressure, despite being in Montana. There are lots of public fishing areas, but even with that, you will have to plan your time accordingly, and get there early, or guys will be fishing ahead of you. The boat and raft traffic can be crazy too. When we went in March, we spent the day battling 10-12 other rafts on the same stretch of river we were drifting! It was as bad, if not worse than the Yakima River, up here in Wa.

As far as lodging, I would skip the tent camping and grab a motel. If you fish the Bitteroot, there are several towns, South of Missoula. Every town has a couple cheap motels, where you can spend a couple nights and have a hot shower and a bed each night. It is also good to spend some time visiting with the locals in the little bars in these towns. Darby is by far my favorite town! You can even get a bad-azz tattoo from the Irridesent Tattoo shop there in town. ha ha ha Seriously...the tattoo people have some skill there.

Good luck with your trip. I am sure that wherever you end up going will be a great time and better than staying home and raking leaves or mowing the yard!
Solitude, thanks for the advice. We are trying to cut cost whereever we can and an easy one is to camp rather than pay for a hotel/motel. With 6 nights even at only $50 a night thats $300 dollars. Probably more like $75 a night so that would be $450. Thats over half of the total cost I was previously thinking for the trip. Camping is about $6 a night so thats an obvious difference.

I'll look into renting a DB. That might be cheaper than the added gas cost of driving it over there. I like the MO but a little scared of the size of the water and have been told its not that hard if you know where to fish but thats the challenge. I've started out fishing a relatevily big river here in Oregon (McKenzie) and haven't really figured it out yet so that discourages me a bit. For all that drving and hassel factor I'm looking to have some success.

After looking at the MO hard I think I like my first ideas better but don't know how the weather temps (high temps and high water temps) will be that time of year. I think I'll have the MO in my back pocket as a back up plan. I was thinking that going in the middle of September would avoid the water temp issue but its sounds like thats not the case from the responses I've gotten.


Kyle Smith

DBA BozoKlown406
The Missouri is only 120 miles past Missoula, closer than the Madison. There is other fishing over there too, like the Dearborn and a spring creek that people overlook.
I like the MO but a little scared of the size of the water and have been told its not that hard if you know where to fish but thats the challenge.

I disagree. Its easy to find fish on the Mo. You will be looking at rising fish all day. Getting them to take your dry...well that's another story.

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