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MISSOURI RIVER

green rainbow trout good

FAMOUS MISSOURI RIVER BUG HATCHES

There is an abundance of aquatic insects in the Missouri River. They thrive in the cold clean environment of this tailwater. In general, the progression of hatches matches the season. During the winter months, water temperatures hover above freezing and cause the fish to become lethargic and slow down their metabolism. When spring is in the air and water temperatures begin to rise, so does the fish’s appetite. This is just one of the reasons why we love springtime fishing. First to show up are the Baetis or Blue Wing Olive then the March Browns. Next in line is the notorious caddis hatch around May known as the Mother’s day hatch. This progresses into more mayflies and pmds as spring turns into summer. The late summer months of August and September are terrestrial time, think ants, hoppers, and beetles. 

FLY FISHING FOR TROUT ON THE MISSOURI RIVER IN MONTANA

The Missouri River is one of the most prolific fisheries in the country and arguably the best trout fishing in the state of Montana. It is the longest in North America. From its headwaters in Three Forks, Montana where it is formed by the Madison, Jefferson, and Gallatin Rivers to its confluence with the Mississippi River.  However, we only fish about 40 miles of it.

We focus our efforts on two prominent sections of the river that are prime for trout habitat. About 36 miles of fishable water lies in the stretch below Holter Dam flowing from there to Cascade. Several FWP fishing access sites are positioned on this stretch of the river making it also an excellent option for wade fishing.
The other smaller stretch is below Hauser Dam and it is called the Land of the Giants or the L.O.G. This is a unique chunk of water because to access it you must have a motor on your boat. You start the day out by launching the boat in the Gates of the Mountains and driving upriver to the dam and fishing in between. 

green rainbow trout good

WHEN TO FISH THE MISSOURI

This river fishes well all year long. We just love it a little extra during the spring when our freestone rivers blow out from the high mountain snow run-off. If you like to skip the crowds and have tough skin, it is hard to beat winter. The fish are still hungry and the ramps are virtually empty. Fall is also a great time to visit and enjoy the burnt orange beauty as the season turns. Whatever time of year you decide, make it a point to head down to the Mighty Mo and take advantage of this blue-ribbon trout fishery. 

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MONTANA HISTORY

LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION

For those interested in Montana history, you might be familiar with the names Meriweather Lewis and William Clark. Long before the Missouri River was famous for fishing, Thomas Jefferson sent the Corps of Discovery to find the Northwest Passage, an all-water trade route to the Pacific Ocean. Jefferson had just made one of the greatest land deals in United States history with the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803. While there was hardly any information about the west other than stories from hunters and trappers, it was believed that the Missouri River flowed to the Pacific. 

Led by captains Lewis and Clark the expedition encountered numerous obstacles along their journey. They had fourteen miles of portaging boats and gear around the great falls of the Missouri River. The crew was met with impassable snow when crossing the pass at the Bitterroot Mountains and no game for hunting.  They suffered a massive language barrier when communicating with the Indians and so much more. While they were ultimately unsuccessful in finding an all-water trade route, their journey still made history.

CLICK FOR DIRECTIONS FROM YOUR LOCATION

Our home base for the Missouri River trips is in Wolf Creek, Montana. Craig, Montana is only about 9 miles down the frontage road or you can hop on the interstate. Helena, Montana is also close and is a great option for lodging.  We suggest checking Airbnb or VRBO for housing options near the river. Wolf Creek Angler also has some lodging available to rent nightly. 

USGS CURRENT WATERFLOWS

MISSOURI RIVER

  • Temperature: 44.78 ° F
  • Streamflow: 4460 ft³/s
  • Gage height: 2.77 ft
Temperature GraphStreamflow GraphGage height Graph
USGS
Missouri River Brown Trout
monster rainbow fishing the land of the giants

RIVER MAPS

The green dots are fishing access sites.

green rainbow trout good
green rainbow trout good
green rainbow trout good
green rainbow trout good
green rainbow trout good