The Missouri River is the longest river in North America stretching over 2,300 miles. Beginning in Montana’s Rocky Mountains and ending at its confluence with the Mississippi River. Its size and grandeur are matched only by its significance in American history, as it played a vital role in the Lewis and Clark expedition. Today, the river continues to captivate adventurers and anglers with its untamed beauty and exceptional blue ribbon fishing opportunities.
Prime Trout Habitat:
This tailwater fishery is formed at the confluence of the Madison, Jefferson, and Gallatin rivers near Three Forks Montana. Fly anglers are most interested in the river from Holter Dam down to Cascade, a distance of approximately 30 miles. The Missouri River’s waters are a thriving ecosystem teeming with wild rainbow and brown trout.
Approximately 2.5 miles down river from Holter dam begins the is the Wolf Creek section. Characterized by stunning scenery, shallow flats, long riffles and big rainbow trout. Further down river is the town of Craig. Craig is the epicenter of when it comes to fly fishing the Missouri River. Guides, drift boats, fly shops, lodging and dining makeup this little trout town. Further down river beginning at stickney creek is the canyon stretch. Stunning geology and towering cliffs and plenty of rising brown trout. Once out of the canyon you’ll have views of the big belt mountains and the wide open prairies down to the town of Cascade. Cascade, another little trout town along the Missouri offering anglers everything they may need on and off the river.
Seasons on the Missouri
Each season brings its own delights for fly anglers on the Missouri River. In the spring, as the river awakens from its winter slumber, hatches of mayflies and caddisflies. As the weather warms the bugs and fish become more active. Summer brings long days and warm temperatures with prolific hatches of caddis, PMD’s, terestals and trico mayflies. Fall ushers in a riot of color and often times snow, providing a stunning backdrop for a day on the river. Even in the depths of winter, dedicated anglers brave the cold when fly fishing the Missouri River in pursuit of trophy trout.
The Land of Giants Section of the Missouri River
This famed stretch of the Missouri River is just a short drive from downtown Helena. Flowing from Hauser Dam down to upper Holter lake. The Land of the Giants is truly a world class trout fishery. It is not uncommon to see large rainbow trout in the 22-24″ range with some fish pushing the 30″ mark. In addition, The Land of the Giants can provide anglers with opportunities at Kokanee salmon and Walleye during the spring, summer and fall. While some wade fishing opportunities are available,this stretch of river is best fished by jet boat with a licensed captain US coast guard captain.