Fly fishing the Land of Giants in a jet boat is a unique experience for any angler. Most fly fisherman have fished from drift boats but never a jet boat. Jet boats provide access to an entire river system.
Fishing the Land of Giants and Holter Lake
Located below Hauser dam, this famed stretch of the Missouri River is just 30 minutes north of downtown Helena. Known for its large brown and rainbow trout that live below Hauser dam. These fish can grow quite large. Trout in the 30 inch range are very possible when casting large streamer flies. . The scenery is spectacular, with towering cliffs, long deep pools and rolling hillsides providing the perfect backdrop for a day of fishing.
Streamer fishing in this area is a very effective method for targeting trophy size fish. Streamer flies typically range from small wooly buggers to 6” long articulated flies. When fished correctly, streamers can provoke a predatory response from larger fish, especially big Brown trout.
Access to the Land of Giants
Jet boats are a common sight in the Land of Giants. These boats provide quick access from the Gates of the Mountains. Jet Boats make the run across Holter Lake up to the best fishing spots. The power drifter jets are all equipped with oars just like one would see on a drift boat. These specialty boats allow anglers and guides to fish more efficiently. The oarsman will be working hard to maintain the boat in the position so the angler can cast at objectives along the river bank.
Rods and Reels for Giants
Streamer fishing the Land of Giants means heavier fly rods and sinking fly line. Seven, eight and even nine weight rods are ideal. Paired with a large arbor reel and plenty of backing. Anglers will definitely get into their backing on some fish so a smooth drag is key when fishing lighter tippets. We often fish intermediate and full sinking fly lines to get flies down in the water column. Sink rates can be important to match the depth of water you are targeting. A heavy butt section tapered down to 0x or 2x tippet is best. Leader lengths and tippet sizes vary based on the size of the fly and the type of water being targeted.
Land of Giants Streamer Fly Selection
A variety of patterns and colors can be effective in the Land of Giants and Holter Lake.
- Woolly Bugger: The Woolly Bugger is a classic streamer fly that deserves a place in every fly box. Its versatile design imitates a variety of prey, including leeches, minnows, and small baitfish. The Woolly Bugger’s marabou tail and palmered hackle create lifelike movement in the water, making it an irresistible offering for rainbow and brown trout. Black , brown and olive are top producers on the Missouri River.
- Sculpzilla: The Sculpzilla is an excellent choice for imitating sculpins, a favorite food source for brown trout. This streamer fly features a big profile, with a heavily weighted head and a rabbit strip tail. The Sculpzilla’s realistic appearance and enticing movement make it a go-to fly for targeting larger, trophy-sized brown trout like we have at the Land of Giants.
- Circus Peanut: The Circus Peanut is a large, articulated streamer fly that mimics a wounded baitfish struggling in the water. Its multi-segmented body and lively action trigger aggressive responses from big predatory trout. This fly is particularly effective when fishing deeper in the water column and targeting territorial fish.
- Sex Dungeon: If you’re looking to entice the largest brown trout in the river, the Sex Dungeon is a fly you don’t want to overlook. This monstrous, articulated streamer features a combination of flashy materials and aggressive movement, making it an irresistible meal for trophy-sized browns.
- Sparkle Minnow: The Sparkle Minnow is a versatile streamer pattern that imitates various baitfish species. It incorporates flashy materials like Krystal Flash and combines them with natural-looking materials such as marabou or squirrel tail. This fly is particularly effective in stained or off-color water conditions, where the added flash can grab the attention of hungry trout.
- Zonker: The Zonker is a classic streamer pattern that imitates small fish or fry. With its rabbit strip body and pulsating action, the Zonker produces a lifelike swimming motion that brown trout find hard to resist. This fly works exceptionally well when fishing in smaller streams or when targeting brown trout in low-light conditions.
When it comes to targeting trout with streamer flies, having a diverse selection in your fly box is key. However, it’s important to experiment with different sizes, colors, and retrieval techniques to determine what the fish may respond to.
Missouri River Streamer Tactics
When streamer fishing, it’s important to work the fly methodically. Big fish gravitate to structure, and that’s what we are targeting. Submerged logs, boulders, and drop-offs. These areas provide safety and cover for large fish. Swinging the runs and tail outs can be very effective. Casting across and down and letting the fly dead drift before stripping it back towards the boat. Vary your retrieve or even bounce your rod tip until you find what the fish responds to. If you see a fish follow your fly but not commit to eating it. That’s a good indication to change the color or size of your fly.
Patience is key when streamer fishing the Land of Giants. Streamer fishing can be slow at times, but patience and persistence will be rewarded. Remember streamer fishing is not a numbers game , save that for the nymph fisherman. The Land of Giants is home to some of the largest trout in the world, and to hook and land a giant takes perseverance. The thrill of watching a two foot trout track a big fly down and inhale it, is well worth the effort.
Streamer fishing the Land of Giants below Hauser Dam in a jet boat can be a thrilling experience. With the right attitude and a strong double haul you can increase your chances of landing a fish of a lifetime. Give us a call to get on our calendar and experience some of the best fishing in Montana.
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