Fly fishing on the Missouri River has been pretty good. Not great, and certainly not terrible either. The biggest news of the past few days is the rising water levels on the Missouri River. We have gone from just over 7,00o cfs to 9,300 cfs in just a few days. So this has some of the fish a little freaked out. Unfortunately, this weather and water level change comes just as the caddis were starting to pop pretty well on the lower stretches of the Missouri River.
Prior to the weekend, we were just starting to get a few fish to look at a caddis dry here and there. And they were warming up to the nymph very well for us. But a little colder weather over the weekend, and a big change in the water, will slow that down for just a bit. So it was back to the sow bugs and such out there today.
The coming week looks very cold and pretty wet. High temps around 50 degrees, with overnights in the low to mid 30’s will be the norm. Maybe we have an outside chance of seeing some more midge and BWO action during the crappy weather, but we’ll believe that when we see it. Maybe the streamer game will be the way to go through some of this rough weather mid week???
The nymphing has remained very good… minus the changing water levels freaking some fish out. 5-6′ deep to a split shot, then any variety of scuds or sow bugs have been best. The wire worm works well, as usual. We tried a crawfish a little bit, but were not too impressed. Same with The Turd. But they did get eaten. Maybe a few degrees warmer and the fish will warm up to those offerings a bit more.
The higher water is going to make it a little tougher for the dry fly game. As will the fluctuating weather. But we will be ready out there with everything from midges to BWO’s or caddis. We’ll see what we can find out there. And we are always keeping our fingers crossed.
With the water continuing to rise and rain or snow in the forecast, we can probably expect even more water in the future. The way we see it, it could go one of two ways…
We were originally hoping that they would hold the river around the 7,000-7,500 zone throughout the runoff season and while filling all the reservoirs. That is a perfect level to fish every stretch of this river from a drift boat. The water would remain nice and cool for a long time, wade fisherman are limited in their access and there is still plenty of bugs to come off at these flows. This would be ideal.
With the recent bump in flows, and even more to come, outlook number two could be possible now. This would resemble more along the lines of cranking the water up much higher, but for a shorter period. Maybe we see as much as 12,000 cfs (all speculative) at some point in late May or June, but for a short period of time. Then as the rivers around the state begin to reside, we too would get back to the 5,000 cfs zone. This would make for some tougher dry fly conditions in the short term, as many bugs would be flushed downstream. But this would be great overall for the river. Imagine a nice “reset button” type situation for the river. A bunch of weeds and such would be flushed away for the remainder of this year and into next perhaps.
Hopefully, we see something closer resembling option one. But either way, it is great for the Missouri River and our fish. So we will happily take what we can get. More water is certainly better than not enough!
We are on the water all week. Check back as we continue to watch water levels, hatches and the weather. We will report back if and when things change again.
Contact Us with any questions, for an up to the minute report or to book your Missouri River fishing trip.
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