Mo in October - too many trout in Missouri river Montana - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-23-2017, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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Talking Mo in October - too many trout in Missouri river Montana

Just got back from a week long trip to the Missouri river in Craig, MT.

After years of poor steelhead and salmon returns, I have switched over to spey trout fishing for the first time.

Have to be honest - this fishery will surely spoil you.
Tons of rainbows, some huge browns, and some whitefish were caught.
They say swinging flies are a low percentage game ? Not this fishery - almost every other cast was a bump, tap or bite!

At this time I don't have the urge to fish any other trout water because this fishery has so many fish I don't need to go anywhere else.

Most of my time was spent at Wolf Creek, Craig, and Cascade areas of the river.
Fished all the FAS walk in spots and had 2 days of guided fishing.
Beautiful country and the most friendly locals in the state.


The best time: fishing in fall on the Mo with a trout spey - not crowded and easy to walk / wade to many streamer spots.
  • Fly rod that caught the most fish: 5wt G Loomis Pro4X 10'6" switch rod w/ Airflo Scout
  • Great swinging fly combination: October caddis pupae soft hackle and Kreelex streamer.
  • Dry fly: Used SH rod and saw hatches morning, noon, evening - tons of fish rising but very technical presentation made it tough to hook them.
  • Awesome guide: Whitney Gould - THCI & world champion spey caster now at Headhunters Fly shop in Craig, MT. Whitney put me onto tons of fish and spent very little time on the boat which made my day.


The only bad things about fishing this area are:
1. Wind - lots of wind made fishing on dries tough. Had to switch to subsurface fishing with the spey rod to cut thru the high speed winds.

2. Lack of cell and internet communications. Was able to text & call at certain parts of the river but no data available on either T Mobile or Verizon (had both phones). Very poor infrastructure but then that might be the appeal - no one can get a hold of you on the river...


Photos show some of the fish caught - many more caught on video I took....
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-23-2017, 02:48 PM
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Sounds like you had a great time. Good to hear, thanks for the report.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-23-2017, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
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Here's some more photos of this beautiful land made for anglers:
Wolf Creek Bridge over the Missouri:


HeadHunters fly shop @ night where we all gather to make cell phone calls and text:


Wolf Creek Anglers - very nice fly shop with basic motel lodging:


Good location for trout spey:


Headhunters guide Whitney Gould's drift boat:


Whitney Gould holding a trout I caught on a 5wt trout spey (switch) rod:


This one I caught on a streamer (zonk-zilla) fishing from an island with my 5wt G Loomis Pro4X rod, Airflo Scout, Rio T8 iMOW:
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-23-2017, 07:49 PM
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Thanks to your post, next time you go there even bigger the crowd of anglers will be waiting for you. Just keep posting........
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-23-2017, 08:21 PM
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Great report Sally!

i believe many others will follow your example and take up trout Spey in light of the circumstances of steelhead


If you want to have some fun with big bows that run line hell and you're out East look me up. I'll take you. Great attitude! Love Head Hunters

Whitney Gould is awesome. Lucky you!!


Good stuff
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-24-2017, 12:45 AM
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These rainbows on the photos, out of the water, must be very happy……

Try to wrap tightly plastic bag around your had and breath for a while. Then you will know how much fun they have……
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-24-2017, 02:35 AM
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These rainbows on the photos, out of the water, must be very happy……

Try to wrap tightly plastic bag around your had and breath for a while. Then you will know how much fun they have……
lol Sazan

Rough day amigo? Hope you are doing well. I quite agree with you however that was pretty funny if not unlike you
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-26-2017, 08:21 PM
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Glad you had a great trip!

I lived in Cascade for 6 years and fished the river anytime there wasn't ice on it. October always treated me well. If you know what you are doing on that river, you can often catch 12 or more trout an hour. It definitely ruins you for normal trout fishing though.

Wind! What wind!? You'll know when it is really blowing when you see a semi-truck get blown over on its side on I-15 as you are traveling south from Great Falls where I was working to Cascade where I lived. If the wind is blowing like it was the day I saw the semi-get blown over, it is too much wind to fish. Otherwise, a nice 15-30 mph breeze just keeps the duffers away.

Side note, did you happen to stop in the Mountain Palace? It has decent food, great atmosphere, good beer, and good company. And on Friday and Saturday nights they used to have live music. And who needs cell service in such a beautiful place on such a great river?
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-26-2017, 08:41 PM
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Take me with you next time! Please!

"It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing"
- Duke Ellington
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-27-2017, 10:35 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by flytyer View Post
Glad you had a great trip!

I lived in Cascade for 6 years and fished the river anytime there wasn't ice on it. October always treated me well. If you know what you are doing on that river, you can often catch 12 or more trout an hour. It definitely ruins you for normal trout fishing though.

Wind! What wind!? You'll know when it is really blowing when you see a semi-truck get blown over on its side on I-15 as you are traveling south from Great Falls where I was working to Cascade where I lived. If the wind is blowing like it was the day I saw the semi-get blown over, it is too much wind to fish. Otherwise, a nice 15-30 mph breeze just keeps the duffers away.

Side note, did you happen to stop in the Mountain Palace? It has decent food, great atmosphere, good beer, and good company. And on Friday and Saturday nights they used to have live music. And who needs cell service in such a beautiful place on such a great river?
Yes, you know the area well.
This river will definitely spoil you - never have I caught so many fish on every single day ever!
Now I don't have any inclination to go trout fishing anywhere else now...
Matter of fact, I am already planning a Mo trip for next fall with my local fly club and I get to lead it because I am so stoked about this river.

I did notice the Mountain Palace inn at the boat launch but did not get to stop in - looked dark like it was closed for the season ?
A lot of places had closed for the season - Izaaks in Craig and Oasis in Wolf Creek had closed.
As a matter of fact, we were able to get half off prices at Izaaks on the last day of the open night....

The wind is ferocious - yes it is but 15-30MPH is too much for most anglers. The group I went with ended up with chapped wind burnt face and lips!
Had to run over to the fly shop and buy a lot of Simms lip balm!
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-27-2017, 02:37 PM
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Nice, I have been wanting to try swinging streamers there. Last October I did a float there we caught a few trout on dries and a few whitefish nymphing. I did not try any trout spey but seemed like it might have been tough with how much weed growth there was. Did you run into that at all? Free drifting vegetation etc?

"It is not the fish that is hard to figure out, but we the fishers, why we do what we do. For a fish survival is enough."
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-28-2017, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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Nice, I have been wanting to try swinging streamers there. Last October I did a float there we caught a few trout on dries and a few whitefish nymphing. I did not try any trout spey but seemed like it might have been tough with how much weed growth there was. Did you run into that at all? Free drifting vegetation etc?
The weeds are decreasing but the majority of drifting vegetation, bottom growth weeds and green filamentous growth are at the Holter dam to Craig area.
I ended up learning that fishing further downstream the canyon has much less weeds. Very little green filamentous weeds past the Stickney Creek FAS / boat launch....

Cleaned the flies about every 3-4 casts. All I did was use my 5wt trout switch rod w/ short chunky skagit head (Airflo Scout Skagit), iMOW T8, and 6' fluro leader w/ 2 flies.
When the wind picked up where the 5wt would not get out far and needed to cast out with a heavier head, I switched over to my steelie rod: 7wt spey w/ OPST Commando head w/ S2/S3 tip and short 5' tapered leader w/ 2 flies.

The streamer bite is picking up but the safest was to swing #12 and #14 soft hackles.

I had more hookups on the soft hackle while a Kreelex streamer was not touched....

I prefer walk and wade - even my drift boat guide liked to pull over and let me fish the islands.

Kreelex:
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-01-2017, 10:21 AM
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2. Lack of cell and internet communications. Was able to text & call at certain parts of the river but no data available on either T Mobile or Verizon (had both phones). Very poor infrastructure but then that might be the appeal - no one can get a hold of you on the river...[/COLOR]

This is a bad thing?
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-01-2017, 12:37 PM
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Cell Service

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This is a bad thing?
Nope, has never bothered me.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-02-2017, 10:19 AM Thread Starter
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This is a bad thing?
You are correct - it's a good thing to be disconnected.

Now that I know what to expect, next time I will be prepared.

If you look at the Verizon, AT&T, and TMobile coverage maps online, it shows cellular coverage continuously from Helena to Great Falls.

Maybe the signal coverage map is not realistic or maybe it is just for the I-15 travelers ????

My next visit, I will just unplug and leave modern technology communications behind.

Although, I thought about carrying my 2m/70cm ham radio portable just in case ???
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