Missouri River, Cascade, MT
Missouri River Trip May 6 & 7, 2009
Bill, PJ and I met up at PJ's house on Tuesday morning and headed out for Montana in my truck. We stopped at the Clark Fork Trout & Tackle Shop
in St. Regis, MT. so PJ could get his fishing license. Jackie Sanford, co-owner, was working the shop as Brooks was already over in Cascade, fishing and guiding on the Missouri River.
We arrived at the Prewett Creek Inn, owned by Phil & Joan Camera. The Inn is located in the Canyon section of the river, west of Cascade, MT. www.prewettcreekinn.com
We checked in and then I made a mistake, we went to a local eatery and I ordered a New York steak. After eating a few bites of it I decided I didn't like the flavor. Later on that night I found out why, I came down with a mild case of food poisoning. Needless to say the next morning when I was supposed to go fishing with Brooks, I was in no shape to go out on the river, so I gave my place with Brooks to PJ so he and Bill could fish out of separate boats. I figured it would help them catch fish as the winds were absolutely horrible during the night and they were calling for strong winds in the afternoon again.
PJ & Bill each had decent days out on the river, catching fish and having fun. As for me, after I started to feel better, I spent some time interviewing Phil Camera for a future newsletter article. Later I drove into Craig to look around, came back and took a nap and over all just got well.
We had a BBQ out on the front porch of the Inn, Brooks had brought some North Dakota beef with him for such an event. Joan brought out potato salad and corn on the cob and we had a green salad. It was windy but we enjoyed ourselves.
The next morning found us leaving the Inn a couple hours earlier than Bill & PJ had left the day before. Brooks told me that there was a stretch of the river below Holter Dam that he wanted to spend a couple hours fishing. We launched at the dam and Brooks took me to the spot. Talk about a fish haven, yep, that was it. For two hours I caught at least one and sometimes two fish on each pass of the area, and if I didn?t catch one then I had one on but would not get it to the boat.
I have no idea how many really nice Rainbows and Browns I caught during those two hours, but it made my day. No matter what happened the rest of the day, I was one happy fly fisher.
We were nymphing, using mostly a pink and gray Amex (spelling??) nymph, tied on a size 16 and a variety of droppers, but mostly a Lightning Bug tied on a 16 and some on an 18. The river was really flowing, as they were dropping the level of the lake, so it was running around 9,000 cfs. That called for long leaders, at least 10 feet below the strike indicator and either one or sometimes two split shots. The Amex was tied bead head style with a tungsten bead. The Lightning Bug had no weight, nor bead, it just floated along behind.
After two hours we decided it best to head down the river. The rest of the day was spent fighting the wind. Sometimes it slammed us coming upstream but most of the time it as blowing down the river. There would be times when it would settle down to a dull roar, then pick back up again.
But, I still managed to catch a decent number of fish after leaving the Haven area. Some really nice Bows (they had finished spawning two weeks ago and were hungry) and some great Browns. My biggest Rainbows, two of them, were 20.5 inches long and the biggest Brown was 21 inches. All fought like mad. My reel was actually singing a few times.
Hatches, I tell you there were plenty of those. Thousands of Midges, tons of Blue Wing Olives and a few March Browns. At times they covered large areas of the river, yet very few fish came up to feed. They just wanted the nymphs. I did try some dry fly casting going after what were most likely Whitefish that were slurping the surface but that didn?t last long.
By the way, the takes were really and I mean really subtle. The slightest movement or lack of movement was a good indication of a take. I made many false sets but that is the name of the game as many were not false, nope, I would raise the rod and feel the weight of the fish, oh how nice that was. In the strong winds, the movement of the strike indicator was hard to determine at times but it is better to be wrong on a set than miss a good fish.
By the way, the Dearborn was dumping massive amounts of mud into the Missouri so no one was fishing down river of that spot.
I finished the day happy but tired. We would pack up that night and head for home the next morning. Oh yea, it snowed the next morning just above the level of the river. We drove through a lot of it on our way to Lincoln, MT for breakfast, and ran into more west of there. One we got to western Idaho, the sun started shinning and we had sun all the way across Washington.
Last edited by sagefisher; 05-11-2009 at 03:37 AM.
Organizations and clubs I belong to:
IFFF Life Member
IFFF Presidents Club
IFFF Fly Tying Group Life Member
Washington State Council IFFF
Alpine Fly Fishers Club
President & Newsletter Editor--The Dead Drift
North Idaho Fly Casters club