We use many disciplines when fly fishing the Missouri River and they all can be productive. These are mostly dictated by season, time of day, weather and angler ability. The three most common methods for fly fishing the Missouri are; nymphing, dry fly fishing and streamer fishing.
Nymphing Fishing the Missouri River
One of the most common methods when fly fishing the Missouri river is deep nymphing. It’s effective and a great way for new anglers to learn and enjoy the art of fly fishing. A very standard nymphing set up is with a two fly set up using an indicator and split shot. The distance from the indicator to the flies and weight with vary depending on the depth of water being targeted. Most nymphing applications are in 4- 6′ of water. This is where most trout are feel safe comfortable.
Short Leashing Nymphing the Missouri River
Another method we often use on the Missouri is a short leash nymph rig. Attaching two flies with 4 or 5x tippet, a soft landing indicator ( I like a Palsa pinch on style.) Placing the strike indicator about 18 – 36 inches above the top fly. This method is used for targeting the shallow flats we have here on the Missouri. Larger fish will often stage in the skinny water to feed. Hunting the shallow water is a great afternoon tactic once the insects start moving and hatching.
Dry Fly Fishing the Missouri
The purest form of fly fishing and my personal favorite methods when fly fishing the Missouri. The most common and proven tactic of fishing dry flies is anchoring the drift boat above the rising fish with stealth being paramount! Staying low or even better, stay seated when casting. Using ariel mends like a reach cast and then stack mending fly line down stream. The beauty of this the first thing the fish sees is the fly. While you can catch fish on the Missouri river with an upstream presentation, ambushing them from above can be the most productive. Another dry fishing method is casting a large attractor dry flies while drifting. Targeting the broken water and fishy objectives. More about Dry Fly fishing the Missouri
Stripping and swinging streamers is an excellent tactic during the spring and fall seasons. Streamer fishing the Missouri can be a game of patients but well worth the effort. Especially on the Land of Giants sections. Watching large Rainbows and Browns track and chase down a big streamers can definitely get the blood pumping. When casting larger streamers we recommend using rods in the 6- 8 weight range with intermediate or full sinking lines. Flies range from small wooly buggers to the larger articulated flies.
In conclusion, fly fishing the Missouri River is an unforgettable experience, and hiring a guide can help make your trip even more enjoyable and productive. If you have any questions about tactics or methods for fishing the Missouri, free to reach out.