Missouri River Fishing Report

 (2)
Given its association with transport, commerce and business development, it’s easy to forget that there remain parts of the Missouri set aside for fishing, boating and enjoying nature’s bounty. From source to mouth, it is the longest river in North America, over 2, 341 miles. The river’s watershed consists of over a million square miles and includes parts of 10 American states and 2 Canadian provinces. When combined with the lower Mississippi, it is the 4th longest river in the world. Whew! That’s a lot to take in. But, if you’re a fly fisher in Montana, the only section of the Missouri you really need to know about is a tiny, 40 mile, stretch downstream of Holter Dam, near the towns of Wolf Creek, Craig and Cascade and not far from the city of Helena. This is the “Blue Ribbon” trout section of the Missouri.
 
blog sign up
 
Water released from Holter Dam keep this section the river at a fairly consistent level, helping to maintain cool temperatures year round. Some guides describe the river here as a gigantic spring creek surrounded by weed beds with long riffles, great banks and undercuts that provide ideal habitat for the river’s substantial trout population. By substantial, we’re talking 3,500 to 5,500 fish per mile on a yearly basis – and many of these exceed 16 inches! The first ten miles of the river from Holter Dam to Craig tend to have the largest number of hatches resulting in the highest concentration of fish.
 
ultimate-montana-fishing-trip-planning-guide
 
In this “gigantic spring” part of the river, rainbow trout outnumber browns by a ratio of 6:1. In addition, stable populations of burbot and stonecats live below the dam. As a bonus, the reservoir is surrounded by the Beartooth Wildlife Management Area as well as three other designated nature preserves and wilderness set-asides. Look up and there’s a good chance you’ll spot a bald eagle, various types of falcon, red-tail hawks, osprey and golden eagles – you may even get a chance to see them snatch a fish from the water. Shore side it’s not unusual to sight bighorn sheep, elk, and mountain goats. This may be an area small in size but its large in its grandeur and many offerings.
 
Tributaries:
Tributaries are numerous, including the Madison, Gallatin, and Yellowstone in Montana
Source:
Hell Roaring Creek, tributary of the Jefferson River, Bower’s Spring, Montana
Mouth:
Mississippi River, Spanish Lake near St. Louis, Missouri
Length:
2,341 miles
Basin:
529,350 sq miles
Seasonal Conditions
Season
Temperature
Hatches
Spring
39 - 65
 F
Spotted Caddis, Blue Winged Olive, midges, streamers & Black Stone Salmon hatches
Summer
48 - 78
 F
Little Brown Caddis, midges, streamers, hoppers, beetles and tricos
Fall
24 - 45
 F
Spotted Caddis, Blue Winged Olives, tricos, hoppers, beetles, midges and streamers
Winter
18 - 40
 F
Midges and streamers
Guide Reports
 (1)
Windy, Snowing, Raining, and cold....but we prevailed the only boats on the water and it produced with Rookie Flyfisherman. Quoted from them: "Best freshwater fishing I've ever done!"
Date:
Wednesday, 11 May, 2016
Fish Caught:
4-8 fish
Fishing is so good right now that I had 2 brothers who are 9 and 12 and they caught so many trout there arms were wore out at the end of the day! ... more

we caught Rainbows in the 3 to 5 pound range all day. It should be like that the rest of the month.
Fishing Water Report:
Date:
Sunday, 10 Apr, 2016
Fish Caught:
20 fish or more
Winter is a great time to fish the Missouri River. The warmer weather has reduced the ice on the shores and should make for some great weekend fishing. Certain parts of the river, ... moreespecially from the dam to Craig produces ice free water because of the moderate weather. You should be looking for winter runs. As the weather warms, we may get some good streamer fishing. The fish are in the slower waters for the winter so look for convergence of seam lines and feeding lanes into it. Nymphing hot bead sow bugs with midge larva is a good setup. Some fish are starting to eat midges on the top.
Fishing Water Report:
Date:
Monday, 1 Feb, 2016
The wind continues to kick this week along with the storm that has rolled in making for some challenging conditions. Look for fishing access where there is shelter from the wind. Wooly ... moreBuggers with small beads continue to produce. Make sure to keep them deep and hit every inch as the fish are in winter mode and not moving much.
Fishing Water Report:
Date:
Tuesday, 15 Dec, 2015
Woolly Buggers with small beads like copper John’s or Princes have been getting good production on the Missouri River. Expect the trout to stay deep during the morning hours ... moreand move to shallower waters in the afternoon as it warms. As it warms this weekend, the catches should come off providing great winter fishing.
Fishing Water Report:
Date:
Tuesday, 1 Dec, 2015
Fish Caught:
4-8 fish
The river flow is at winter levels below 3000 cfs. Nymphing has been a hot way to fish. The flies will be small, size 20's. RS2's, Purple Death and some Ray Charles are a good starting ... morepoint. Now that we are into the beginnings of the winter weather the nymph rod will be your weapon of choice. Start the day with a normal length of leader to fish deep. As the day progresses, try shortening the length. During the warmest part of the day you may find fish in relatively shallow water. This weekend is going to be around 40 degrees.
Fishing Water Report:
Date:
Sunday, 15 Nov, 2015
Fishing Trips
The Missouri River below Holter Dam offers fine Montana tail-water fishing. Nice sized trout in good numbers inhabit this section of the Missouri, which winds it’s way through broad ... morecanyon walls before leaving the mountains for the plains. Both Brown and Rainbow trout call the Missouri River home, and are willing to take a wide variety of fly patterns. Because it is a popular fishing destination, the Missouri can see crowded conditions. Those seeking solitude may find one of our other trips more suitable. This section of the Missouri River is located 2 hours from our home of Bozeman, Montana. Our trips to the Missouri are a minimum of 2 days. Our Missouri River Guide Rate is higher than our Standard Rate to provide for guide’s transportation and lodging.

Note: Minimum 2 days
  • Expert Guide
  • Shuttle service
The guide staff at the Upland Angler is an extremely qualified, experienced group of professionals who have grown up fishing the local waters. We specialize in the Missouri River and ... moreprovide a variety of skills from beginner anglers, to experts alike. No matter where or how you choose to fish, we will strive to make your experience a truly enjoyable one.
Destination:
  • Expert guide
  • BBQ shore lunch
Spend a day with Captain Brian O’Connor and his jet boat and fish the Gates of the Mountains. It is the best spring fishing in Montana. Known also as the Land of the Giants because ... moreof the enormous Rainbow’s you will catch, Catch’em large and many with over 7,000-12,000 fish per mile. This stretch of the Missouri River gives anglers of all skill levels truly a day to remember.
Destination:
Current Forecast
Water Flow
River Water Temperature
2 reviews   0 comments
Fishing Quality
(5.0 of 5)
Scenery
(4.5 of 5)
Access
(5.0 of 5)
Water quality
(5.0 of 5)
Top Fly Fishing Rivers in the US
The Missouri River is rated as one of the top trout fishing rivers inthe US by Bob Mallard, author of 25 Best Towns - Fly Fishing for Trout
Fishing Quality
Scenery
Access
Water quality
0
0
One of the Top Fly Fishing Rivers in the US for Trout
The mighty Missouri is often overlooked for the famous streams closer to Yellowstone but that should not be the case. In this case, big water equals big fish.
Fishing Quality
Scenery
Access
Water quality
0
0