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Missouri River

Updated 12/11/2017 at 5:01pm

Conditions At-a-glance


Weather Forecast

° / °

Our Report

The Mo is always a great bet for winter anglers.  Nymphing is the name of the game until the wind dies down and the temps are above freezing – then the midges will come out and the fish up.  Don’t forget the streamer opportunities here.  Can be exceptional swinging and perfect place to practice two handed fishing.

BEST TECHNIQUES – Double nymph rigs leading with a hot bead (scud, Charles, sow…) or worm and back it up with zebra midge.

OUR TIPS OF THE WEEK – Once you hit a couple fish in a run, stay on it and continue with the same rig.  Winter fish tend to congregate and usually feed on the same stuff. Just saying.

7 DAY OUTLOOK – Air temps continue to be warmer on the Eastern Front than under inversion hell on the Western side of the divide.   Wind is limiting the midging but nymphing is good.  Expect more company than other rivers but there is plenty of fish and space.

Even if we don’t get guides on the MO for the week we always are in touch with those who do and we always stock a great selection of tail water flies.  Stop in and see us at Blackfoot River Outfitters on Reserve Street in Missoula.  We are open every day. 406-542-7411

Good luck from our team at BRO!



Conditions on the Missouri are exceptional for winter angling right now.

The Hatch

Scuds, sowbugs, midges down under - midges on top.

Fly Patterns

DRIES - griffiths #20, parachute or thorax midge #18-20, sipper midge #18, para purple haze #16. NYMPHS - green machines #18-16, sow bugs and scuds, zebra midges, pink scuds, bwo split backs, tung head jigs pink or olive all in #18-16. STREAMERS - Pencil thin cone heads, sparkle minnow, brown buggers #8-4, crawfish patterns in olive or tan.


Water Flow


Link to Water Flow Graph



Water temperature at mid-day

about 38* Steady up near the dam but changeful downstream.

Water Condition

Clear and minimal moss.

Best time of day to fish

All day for nymphs, mid-day for midges, afternoon for streamers.

Best stretch

Below Holter Dam to Craig is good but busy with boats. Lower reaches fishing fine but temps rising and moss coming on strong

Best access point

Multiple access sites.

Fish species

Rainbows, browns, whitefish, carp and a couple cuts below tributaries.

Fishing season

Open year round, but catch and release for trout this time of year.

Nearest airport

Helena or Great Falls

Recommended fly fishing leader

9' 4x

Recommended fly fishing tippet

4 or 5x

Best fly fishing rod

Crisp to cast but soft enough to fight big fish.

Best floating fly line

Is the one that fits your rod and style the best - fly shops will help discover this.

Best sinking fly line

Is the one that fits your rod and style the best - fly shops will help discover this.