Missouri River Fishing Guide

							Missouri River fishing trip near Wolf Creek

Missouri River Fly Fishing

The Missouri is the longest river in North America with its origins near Three Forks, just west of Bozeman. The Gallatin, Jefferson, and Madison Rivers form this magnificent waterway and create a unique, blue-ribbon Montana trout fishery near Craig, Montana.

This 35-mile stretch of river offers some of the finest Montana fly fishing. Cold water releases from Holter Dam create a productive tailwater fishery. Rich in invertebrate biomass, the river supports a robust population of Rainbow and Brown Trout.

Upstream of Holter Dam, the river is a mix of warm and coldwater fisheries that are each unique, appealing to a wide range of Montana anglers.

Missouri River Fishing at its Best

"Just spent the best 3 days of fly fishing on the Missouri River between Craig and Cascade, MT that I have ever had! Many thanks to Toby Swank of Fins and Feathers of Bozeman for his excellent guiding skills. Numerous rainbow and brown trout were caught each day due to Toby's superb knowledge...”

- Tese S.

Sections of the Missouri River near Bozeman

							Fins and Feathers guide and guests flyfishing Montana on the Missouri River

Holter Dam to Cascade

This is the premier Missouri River trout fishing section that most anglers refer to when they speak of fishing the “MO” in Montana. Steady flows and relatively stable, year-round temperatures are created by deep water releases from Holter Dam.

Meandering through a mixed patchwork of agricultural and scenic canyons, the river is wide with a deceptively strong and steady current. Weed beds, mid-river islands, and rocky outcroppings create myriad holding areas for the river’s trout. The fine gravel streambed shifts with the season, creating drop-offs and depressions that fill with feeding trout during insect hatches.

This is a dry fly angler's paradise during the many prolific hatches throughout the year.

							Missouri River Rainbow Trout below Hauser Lake

Canyon Ferry to Holter Dam

Three, large dams between Townsend and Wolf Creek Montana form two, small tailwater sections of the Missouri River where Trout thrive.

The most famous is the 3 miles of Missouri River below Hauser Dam known as the “Land of the Giants.” Wade anglers can access this Missouri River fishery at Hauser Dam and near the town of York. Large, hatchery trout from Holter Lake move into this section of the river en masse during spawning seasons in the spring and fall.

The Canyon Ferry tailwater section is short and very wide, making it difficult to fish for the fly angler. Walleye thrive in Hauser Lake so the trout here tend to be low in numbers, but large in size. Power boats are needed to effectively fish either section while floating.

							Missouri River fishing for carp on the fly

Headwaters to Canyon Ferry

The river is formed at the bottom end of the three large Montana drainages in the Gallatin, Madison, and Jefferson. The agricultural demands on these rivers and streams leave them low in streamflow by the time they reach the Missouri River Headwaters.

A small hydropower dam impedes river travel upstream of the small community of Toston. Trout are present in low numbers throughout the summer months. A few, trophy Brown Trout come to hand every fall between Toston and Canyon Ferry

Carp thrive in these waters and are a popular summertime pursuit for experienced Montana anglers. They cruise shallow water flats in search of Crayfish, presenting sight-fishing opportunities during the dog days of summer.

April Fishing

Warming water temperatures bring spring hatches of BWO and Midges on cloud days during the stable river flows of April. Nymph fishing improves as the month progresses…

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May Fishing

Nymph fishing becomes the focus as the river slowly warms and Rainbow Trout leave the important spawning tributaries of the upper river as the runoff season begins…

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June Fishing

High water quickly recedes in early June and the summer dry fly season begins in earnest. Caddis and PMD hatches make for memorable Montana fly fishing...

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July Fishing

Aquatic weed growth and recreational floaters start to become a nuisance by early July, making Missouri River fishing best suited for early-rising dry fly anglers throughout late summer…

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August Fishing

Low flows and warm temperatures take their toll on the trout fishing experience in August when trout are most active during the few morning hours when Trico spinner falls occur.

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September Fishing

Cooling water reinvigorates the river system near Craig as BWO and Pseudocleon hatches blanket the river on cloudy days, bringing pods of rising Trout to the water's surface...

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							Anglers prepping their boat at Wolf Creek bridge

Missouri River Fly Fishing Trips

We have been guiding Missouri River fly fishing trips in Montana for over 23 years on the tailwater section below Holter Dam. Exceptional fly fishing is experienced by anglers of all skill levels between mid-April and mid-June.

Missouri River fishing trips with our Bozeman fly fishing guides at this time of the year have been a client favorite for over two decades.

The Headwaters and Toston sections offer unique Montana fishing experiences, ideal for experienced anglers interested in pursuing Carp on the fly.

Missouri River fishing trips can be reserved online, via e-mail, or by calling us at 1-406-468-5019.

							Missouri river fishing brown trout

Missouri River Fishing Reports

The tailwater section of the Missouri River below Holter Dam is the premiere wild trout fishery of this storied watershed in Montana. Hatching insects keep Rainbow and Brown Trout actively feeding on nymphs and dry flies throughout the year.

The Fins and Feathers Missouri River fishing report is based on angling feedback from our team of Montana fishing guides and friends in the angling community.

Our Montana fishing reports are updated regularly with current condition updates. recommended fly patterns, and the most effective fly fishing techniques. Current stream-flows, Montana river shuttle information, and localized maps are all available as well.

Montana Fish of the Missouri River

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