Fishing Season: Spring

Missouri River - MT

Fishing Outlook & Conditions

Water Temp:


CrossCurrents Fly Shop's Tip of the Week

Fall is here. Water temperature on the MO is dropping slowly but surely, along with cooler temps in the morning and evening. Number of bugs on the water is also dropping. Nymphing deep and shallow is the name of the game, with the streamers starting to make there way into the daily tactic of choice. Pseudo's are still around and fish are up and looking for them. With this bug generally being in the size 18-22 range, it is a technical game. Weeds are still present on the MO but slowly getting better.

Directions open in app

Map of Missouri River

Water Flow Data

5-Day Outlook as of 9/28/23

The next few days look like they're bringing rain, which is also could mean some good fishing weather if you're properly geared up for the conditions. It is not crucial to be out on the water at daylight, but rather anytime from 8:30-9am. Looking forward to a streak of cooler days which should help the streamer bite, BWO's, and for the weeds to dissipate.

Techniques & Tips as of 9/28/23

Indicator fishing is the best and most productive technique as it most always is out here on the MO. Starting with fishing deep in the morning with bugs like a sowbug, frenchie, zebra midge, pill popper, purple weight fly, and a zirdle. The flies listed above are generally going to be the top fly. With the bottom fly you could go with a green machine, two bit hooker, and a perdigon of some sort. In the afternoon switching up to a shallow nymph rig could be a great move. When nymphing shallow like this, using a stick on indicator and two smaller flies (one weighted, one un-weighted) and searching for that 12''-36'' water depth is going to be key. This is a great method out here on the MO to find some very quality fish. Streamer fishing is slowly starting to make its way in the mix. Fish a black or olive streamer with or without a sink tip and really look for those drop-offs and riffle sections.

Local Species Available Spring

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    Rainbow Trout

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    Brown Trout

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    and Whitefish

CrossCurrents Fly Shop's Recommended Fly Patterns

"Must-have" fly fishing patterns in descending order of importance:

Name: Colors: Size(s):
Flashback Scud Wet Hare's Ear Tan #16
Splitsville Flying Ant Yellow #14-18
Flashback Scud Wet Hare's Ear Grey #16
Vernille San Juan Worm Red
Chubby Chernobyl Black, Brown, Olive #8-#12
HoBo Spey Black #6
RS2 N/A #18-#22
Tunghead Pheasant Tail Jig N/A #16-#18
Lil' Kim N/A #4-#6
Mini Dungeon Black #6

Flashback Scud Wet Hare's Ear

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CrossCurrents Fly Shop's Recommended Gear

Description: About Missouri River

The Missouri River is one of the largest and most easily accessed rivers in Montana. The mighty MO is certainly a trout factory! Three reservoirs in a row make this tailwater fishery have a constant water flow and stable temperatures from day to day. Amazingly fertile, with prolific hatches of mayflies, caddis, and midges, the Missouri is a 365 day river. You'll see fish rising just about every day of the year. Take a float trip down the Missouri and you'll know why it made such a powerful impression on Lewis and Clark during their great expedition. During the summer, caddis and mayfly hatches are so prolific that it looks as though there is a mini blizzard over the river. This river is known for its excellent dry fly fishing. But it's also amazing when fished with emergers. or small bead-heads as a dropper behind a dry fly. The MO fishes fantastically in the shoulder seasons of Spring and Fall with Baetis and Midges for dries and big, ugly streamers! That is when some very big fish are caught! The Missouri throws itself into the heated debate of "Row vs. Wade" because it is so perfectly suited to angle from both a drift boat (or other water craft) as well as wade fishing on foot. With an adult trout population (Rainbows and Browns over 10") over 6,000 per mile and an average size of 16"-18", it's not too hard to figure out why the Missouri ranks up there with many people's favorite places to fish!

Nearest Airport:

Helena, Great Falls


Psuedos, Terrestrials, Caddis

Best Time to Fish:


Best Stretch:

Dam-Craig, WC to Craig, Stickney Creek to Mountain Palace, Dearborn to Prewett Creek

Best Access:

Holter Dam, Wolf Creek Bridge, Craig, Stickney, Mid-Canon and walk-ins off the Recreation Road.