Missouri River Report
August 15, 2017
Small Flies, Light Tippets and Weeds
If you want to hook a bunch of fish on the Missouri River this week, covering the water from the dam to the Wolf Creek Bridge is the way to go. If you fish 5X, you’ll hook lots of trout, but likely land very few. If you fish 4X, you will hook some and if you are careful, you’ll land most of them. The standard fly of choice is the good old Zebra Midge. My favorite variation is the Tufted Zebra. Most tiny mayfly patterns also work, especially with copper or dark colored beads. I like the Tungsten Death Metal in #20 and the Two Bit Hooker in #18.
The challenge is not so much getting the fish to bite, as it is getting them to the net. The weedbeds are where the fish are hanging out and it’s where the fish charge into once they are hooked. They also have the habit of exploding in the opposite direction of hooksets, ending the battles before they can even begin. I’m pretty sure they like to show off their new piercings to their buddies.Terrestrials and Attractors
If you want an enjoyable float trip, put on the hopper and cover some water. You can also fish with ants, beetles and various attractors like the Stimulator or Chubby. Since we are not talking about hatch matching, a lot of different patterns are working.
Part of the fun is discovering your own successful patterns and color schemes. Just be prepared to try a few flies. One day the fish seem to like a yellow hopper. The next day they might prefer pink or a more natural tan. Rusty ants can be strong. Black beetles are always a consideration. Olive, yellow, orange and Royal Stimulators can be the trigger, too. The only way to find your favorite pattern or color is to try some.
The daily Trico hatches are still a major event. We’ve had a few cooler nights and mornings lately, and the best fishing has been shifting a little later. I have seen little surface activity until about 9 a.m. recently. After the females hatch, the male spinnerfalls soon follow. Depending on wind and when the females hatch and join the males, the activity can be sporadic, but often extends toward noon or even later.
If you enjoy wading, look to the shallow flats and riffles. A few caddis are always about and, at times, it’s hard to beat working your favorite caddis over some skinny water. You might be surprised at how many fish are paying attention. You can roll out the caddis before or after the Tricos, or just fish it all day if it’s working for you.Streamers and Floating Weeds
If you enjoy fishing the streamer, you are in for hard times. It’s not that the fish don’t want or won’t take them, but there are simply so many floating weeds in much of the river that you will be battling them on almost every cast. If you pick your targets and focus on places where the weed flow is minimal or obstructed by islands, you can definitely find some players. Early morning or late in the day are generally the times to try streamers.
I’ve had a blast on my recent days on the water. The fishing traffic is light. The cooler weather has made it comfortable and the fishing has been plenty good. If you are heading out soon, stop in and grab what you need. The coffee is always on and we speak fish.