The Mighty MO
One of the best in the West
The Missouri River, also know as in the fly fishing community as the MO, is located below Holter Dam and is home to some of the best trout fishing in the western United States. Boasting up to 5,500 trout per mile with an average size of 16 inches or better, there are few other western rivers like the MO. Whether you like to throw dries to rising trout, nymph foam lines and seams, or hucking large, nasty streamers for aggressive and often times large brown and rainbow trout, the MO is your river!
Where We Fish The Missouri River
The main hub for fishing on the Missouri River is the town of Craig, Montana, known as a quaint little town with a fishing problem. Most anglers prefer to fly into Helena, Montana and then drive to Craig (40 minutes).All amenities a fisherman needs can be found in and around Craig, such as lodging, food, fishing supplies and, of coarse, the world-famous Craig Bar are all within a 10 mile radius. Our guides can either pick you up in Helena or meet you in Craig.
When We Fish the Missouri River
At Wild Montana Anglers, we love to fish the “MO” and generally find ourselves on it’s river banks in the months of April and into June while our home river, the Flathead is off color and unfishable due to runoff. We also love to fish big streamers for large brown trout in the fall months.
How we fish the Missouri
At Wild Montana Anglers we fish the Missouri River using the most effective methods to get our clients into a trout of a lifetime. Whether you are a fan of the drift boat or prefer to walk & wade, we are happy to accommodate your preference to make your trip the best Missouri River Experience. We will let you know what we think is going to best methods for you, the angler to achieve your goals of getting that fly fishing experience that you will always remember. But ultimately it is about you, and we will accommodate whatever preferences you prefer for fishing for trout.
Where to Stay
Lodging is available in the spring, summer and fall months. There is a good chance rooms are at discounted rates in the spring and fall months. These are considered the shoulder or non peak season for this river. Summer (June- August) can be difficult to find lodging. We recommend booking summer lodging in Craig well in advance. Our favorite lodging connection on the MO is Craig Lodging. Some clients prefer to camp or bring an RV while they fish the Mo. No problem. There are several established camping and RV areas in and around the Craig.
The Missouri River referred to in the fly fishing world as the “MO” is considered one of the best trout fisheries in the world. Starting it journey near Three Forks Montana, in the Missouri Headwaters State Park, this magnificent river flows through the western and central parts of the United States and eventually reaches the Mississippi River in St Louis, Missouri. Although there is fishing throughout the length of the Missouri River the “trout paradise” is located downstream of Holter Dam between the towns of Wolf Creek, Craig, and Cascade Montana. This 35 mile tail water section of river is know to hold between 3,500 and 5,500 trout per mile on average for any given year. The average size trout is also impressive. Rainbow and brown trout on average are 16” or better throughout this 35 mile stretch of water. Like a lot of tail water fisheries, the population of trout is cyclical and changes from year to year. With that being said, even in low populations years, this river still holds more trout per mile than most trout streams in Montana.
The MO Is A Trout Factory.
How does this river produce so many quality fish? The simple answer comes down to the biodiversity of bug life found in the river bottom and along it’s river banks. The shear mass of invertebrate species that this river is able to produce is mind blowing in scale. On any given day throughout the year there is a good chance that there is some type of identifiable hatch going on. Whether it is blanket hatches of midges in the winter months, countless species of mayflies in the spring, scuds throughout the year, terrestrial fishing in the summer, the list goes on and on. The trout found in these waters are well fed, and that is blatantly clear once you have hooked your first fish on this river.
The “MO” Has It All.
Love to dry fly fish? Awesome, there is a good chance that trout are rising to dries on the MO throughout the year. Prefer to nymph fish? Great, this is a tried and true method to catch dandy trout most months out of the year. Streamer guy? This is one of the best places in the Western United States to hook into a large brown trout that will probably humble you by the time it is all said and done. No matter the way you prefer to fish, the Missouri River below Holter Dam will rarely disappoint.
We recommend that all of our anglers bring a 5wt rod (dries and lighter nymphs), a 6wt rod (nymphs and lighter streamers), and a 7wt rod for getting down and dirty and throwing big nasty streamers for large brown and rainbow trout. As with all of our trips we ask that anglers bring weather appropriate clothing, sun glasses.
The density of hatches on the Missouri River can be mind blowing and depending on the time of year, an angler can expect to see all the familiar hatches of western rivers. Bugs such as midges, mayflies, caddis, and terrestrials are all present during certain times of the year. The trout on the MO are also known to be aggressive meat eaters. Patterns that imitate small bait fish, juvenile trout, crayfish, and small rodents will all get the attention of large trout in this river.
Come Fish with Us!
Here at Wild Montana Anglers, we recommend the Missouri River to any person that loves to trout fish. A beautiful river that is full of healthy, hard fighting trout, this section of the Missouri River truly is a world class fishery. Book a trip with us today and we will show you what the mighty MO is all about!