Jawbreaker Joe loves the Missouri. We took another drift down the river this week and had a great day. The wind was light, so we did not have to battle our way down the river. With the hot weather, we put in early and discovered that the river is way down from just a few weeks ago.
Our goal was to search for places to fish that others ignored. The usual pods and primary holes were full of guides and clients pounding the risers with Tricos. Once they gave up, the guides were rowing to the next pod as the clients drank and talked. Few were nymphing.
Joe and I found some places stacked with pelicans. Other fishermen went right past them. We spooked them away and within several minutes, trout began rising again. Tricos were thick and the trout were picky, but we managed several nice fish apiece. Slower waters were tougher than moving water. Sizes 16-20 were the surface ticket. Good presentation means a better chance for a hook up.
Most guides kept their crew aboard and quickly drifted past the best fishing. Use the boat to get to a place and then dissect it. Slow the day down and take your time. It is way cooler to be wet in the river wading than sweating in the boat. We saw hoppers along the banks, but the fish were not yet on them.
Nymph fishing is great using bead heads and attractor nymphs. On one stretch I fished a hundred yards of bank and drilled a dozen nice rainbows. Presentation was critical, but the fish went wild. I was wade fishing along the bank while Jawbreaker Joe ate a sandwich.
Try using some streamers and strip them around the cover. The rainbows are especially aggressive. Drift dry lies down stream and longline your casts. If you do what everyone else is doing, expect the same results. We saw one bait fisherman with a trout on his stringer and one fly fisherman hook and lose a fish.
Our day was full of bent rods and screaming reels because we did things differently. Several trout well over 20 inches were netted and two fish were over 25 inches. The water is warming up, but the fish are active, strong, and exciting.
Take what the river gives you!
For more Montana Grant, hook up at www.montanagrantfishing.com.