Streams Outside of Yellowstone National Park
.............................Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park


Fly Fishing Missouri River, Montana - Part 3

The very first problem I had the following morning was finding an imitation of a Trico
mayfly. I didn't travel to Montana to fish a Trico hatch but at that time, on the Missouri
River, I was looking at a huge Trico hatch. It was getting on up in the day and the hatch
would soon end and I would have myself another excuse for not catching anything. I
could not find anything in my vest or vehicle that resembled a Trico at any stage of life. I
had enough flies to open a store in West Yellowstone but no Tricos. We left and didn't
return to the Missouri for another week.

To make matters worse, I ran into a guy on the Ruby River that was telling me about the
great trip he had just returned from on the Missouri River. That was just enough to
make me upset to the point that I found myself back on the river the following day. Not
because I was following another angler's advise or tip. I never fall for that, but because I
was really upset at the fact I had not caught any there. Pictures in my head of those
large trout rising to insects and not taking my fly was really getting to me. I had spent
only a short time on the Missouri - one afternoon and again, early one morning with no
flies for the Trico hatch. I had not really taken the time to catch anything on a new

It was noon when we arrived at the river the third time. I decided to fish the West side of
the river not far below the dam. The conditions looked exactly like they did the first
afternoon I was there on the other side - the weeds beds, the slow moving, slick water
but strong current. There were no fish rising that I could see. Then I noticed a guy in a
float tube that drifted by and hooked a rainbow that begin to jump all over the water
about fifty yards from me. I had no idea what to do. I picked up Angie's rod with a size
18 Parachute Adams tied on it and waded into the river. I had not fished but about 5
minutes when a rainbow trout smacked the fly and went airborne. It turned out to be
over 16 inches long. I really found it hard to believe. I finally had figured it out or got
lucky one or the other.

The next three hours proved I got lucky. I never had another trout as much as look at
the fly. About 3:00 or 4:00 PM I began to study the water. I netted the surface using my
skim net. There was a huge number of insects in the net but it was a mixture of all kinds
of things from midge pupae, to several types of caddisflies and some mayflies. I still had
no idea as to what to do or how to fish. About 7:00 PM things changed. Caddisflies
began to cover the water and the trout began to eat them. I tied on a size 16, caddis
imitation that looked like a Spotted Sedge and begin to cast it around the edges of the
weeds. From that time until it was completely dark, I caught six nice rainbows most of
which were about 12 inches long but including one that touched 18 inches according to
the mark I made on my rod. That was seven nice rainbow trout in about total or 6 or 7
hours of fishing. I had finally caught some Missouri River trout. More tomorrow.

                                                                                          Copyright 2009 James Marsh
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