Missouri River


Active Member
last minute decided to head over next week and fish the Missouri River by Craig.compromise trip with the wife. it's been a few years since I last fished it. Any suggestions, secret patterns, floats for me? I know will be crowded but beats work. Bringing the Delormes and will be doing some exploring for smaller creeks too.

Midges... size 22, if you're into that kinda fishing.

Wait until 1/2 before dark, toss your fly into the big conglomerate of midges next to the grassy banks (where the hogs will be "gatoring" the midges, hope you time the gulps right, and set your drag for free spin.

You may not land any of those fish, but it's kinda fun to watch the 4 - 6 lb fish rip the line off your reel... so I'm told.


Author, Writer, Photographer
The Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin (the rivers that form the Missouri) are all in big time drought right now. Thus the mainstem is running <50% of normal for this time of year with temperatures pushing 60 which is almost unheard of for June. The fishing should be very good for now, but if this trend continues it will suck by the end of July. I haven't seen flows this low below Holter this time of year in a very long time.

I posted this on another thread here on the Missouri. I posted modifications in italics:


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.
-- Next week (last week of June 2013) you'll probably want to nymph with a weighted SJW and drop either a PT, Lovebug, Lightening Bug, or Hare's ear.

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 (this rule of thumb likely will be broken with these low and warm water conditions. You'll want to cast into or just below riffled runs and many will be away from the banks. That's where the dissolved O2 will be), 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.



Active Member
PMDs and caddis; if you're fishing on top have your best slack-line casts in order. If you just gotta blow the skunk off, nymph with a bobber rig (#20-22 zebra as trailer fly is always appreciated). I'd be over there this week, too, but I already fished it last month and want to look at some different water. Have fun, catch a bunch.

Trapper - I just wanted to say thank you for the book. Picked up a signed copy from the Trout Shop when it was released and it provided excellent details on the river and suggestions for success which I have referred to over the past 10 years.
Yea...Izaak's is great if you get what you order....but if they screw up the steak they tell you to eat it or pay for it and leave....I'll never go back

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