I am back! I would like to apologize for not having my reports updated. I have recently been elected a Board of Trustee for the school in my hometown and I this has taken a lot of my time and energy. But I am looking forward to this season and getting back on the water this summer. The powers that control the mystery of what the flows coming out of Holter Dam will be have learned a lesson from the large snowpack and floods from a couple years ago. Looking at the current flows at Holter Dam, you can see that it is officially game on! The flows have been reduced to the levels conducive for great dry fly fishing. The inflows have dropped with the peak of run off and flows indicating a steady decline, the Dam flow can be lowered and begin letting the reservoirs fill up. The Missouri has produced some spotty dry fly fishing the last couple months during higher than normal flows. Now that the reservoirs have room for our above average snowpack, the flows can be reduced in order to fill up the reservoirs. Get ready for some great fishing. There will be caddis, yellow sallies, pmds, and more all on tap for the coming weeks. Dropper fishing will be good as trout look to fatten up after a long winter and especially the rainbow spawners that need to regain their strength. I like to use about a 24-30 inch size 14-18 tungsten dropper under a high floating caddis or attractor. If you are tying your own droppers, use a curve shank scud hook for strength and make a ptail or something with a little red and always add some crystal flash. Lots of inventions can produce trout on your own pattern. If you want to tie a cool high floating caddis pattern. Tie a little foam to the hook and wrap it tight and then dub some tan rabbit over that and make a good post and wing combination, a little crystal flash in the wing can never hurt. If you are looking for patterns to buy, then you can’t go wrong with Bloom’s Caddis. If you want to fish a single dry or double dry always keep in mind that an x caddis pattern can be deadly when presented well! These levels are great for wade fishing and keep an eye out for the monster risers. If you are floating look for the big nose and sometimes anchor from a distance and study the rhythm and make delicate presentations and let your fly drag out of you don’t get the hit. Trout become more wary and will sense any line disturbance on the water around them. The ultimate dry fly training grounds for guides and anglers alike is here. The stage is set for a great season and feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions if you are going fishing on the MO. Stop by the Prewett Creek Inn Fly Shop for questions or shuttles and hopefully I will see you on the water!
The Missouri is fishing pretty well. The heat wave made the fishing a little difficult, but now the cool down is dropping the water temperatures and helping the fishing. The tricos are still around and that has concentrated some anglers on the upper sections. The hopper bite is picking up in the canyon and down low. The classic triple threat is always available. Nymphing, streamers, and dry flies. I have found some nice trout on streamers in the faster water. Dont use the giant bunny stuff, but slick smaller stuff is better. Nymphing is good, but you have to be able to rip the salad off your line that can be a little bit of a pain. The terrestrial dry fly fishing is my game and although it can be tough at times, when you stick with it, it can produce some nice trout like above! Good Luck!
First of all I want to apologize to those of you that read my reports for not reporting lately. I have had some personal life issues that have hindered my ability to focus on my business. So what is going on? Well the Mo has been fishing great all spring and now the heat has started the caddis hatch. Since the reservoir will not be released, the flows are stable and the water temperatures are rising faster than most years. I have had great fishing small droppers like ptails, caddis, and personal patterns that are on a size 18 curve shank. If you want to tie some great Missouri nymphs, using curve shanks are always recommended and tie little ptails, or copper johns and add some crystal flash to the wing. The biomass in the Missouri is so large and active right now that I think finding the trout is more important than the fly. I have spent several days on the Missouri and the transition to caddis hatches and summer fishing is happening fast. Look for the afternoon caddis hatch more than the evening hatch, but that will be changing fast. When you get to the river in the morning and you see swarms of caddis over the bushes, that means the evening hatch is getting bigger. The photo on the right is Phil Camera from the Prewett Creek Inn. Stop in for shuttles and advice. I have not been using indicators, but if you do, then the distance to the bobber does not need to be more than 5 feet for most areas. In fact, a lot of the big fish are hanging out in shallow water. Look for swifter, shallower runs during the afternoon hours and look for caddis risers. In most swifter waters, 4x is fine but the slower waters that have sippers on mayfly spinners and caddis might need 5x. The pmds are on the horizon and the heat is going to start the pmd regatta sooner than most years. Good luck and feel free to call for advice.
April 14, 2013
The spring fishing on the Missouri has been a lot better and producing dry fly action earlier than most springs. Just like I said in my early report, look for things to pick up on dry fly fishing when the water temps are above 40 and especially 42. The current winter blast will shorten these dry fly windows dramatically for now, but later this week, when milder weather returns, the dry fly fishing should pick back up again. Not sure what the “Dam Guys” are up to. but the flows were dropped down to a under 4000 CFS last week and now we are back up to 4460 CFS. The river gauge at Holter shows this, but I like watching the temperature graph at this time of year. You can see the temps up to 43 a few days ago, but they will drop a little from the winter storm, but not much and I am predicting some great fishing later this week into next week. I caught some nice trout on dries on the lower river last week, but I bet the cold snap has turned the dry fly bite off a bit. What used to be a great secret on this river that has changed with some of the posts and blogs from local fly shops is that there can be great skwala fishing in the spring. This action usually does not pick up towards the late parts of April and beginning of May, but like I mentioned things have started early this year. We caught some nice browns like the one above on some of my skwala patterns, and all of them were scanning the river with these dries and not seeing rises. There were lots of Blue Wings out, but with some unstable weather and wind, there were very few rises. The other theory about these stoneflies is that they come “out of the Dearborn” or something like that. Although the canyon reaches and stretches near the confluence of the Dearborn have a higher concentration of stoneflies, these critters are on all stretches. They are least prevalent in the upper “tailwater” stretches than anywhere. The substrate of larger rocks and boulders in the canyon reaches have more stoneflies than the rest of the river, but like I said they are everywhere. On a magic day there can lots of skwalas, but even if you just see a few females wiggling around on the water surface with their egg sacs, you the trout are seeing them. How would I fish the Missouri? Well once again there is the common triple threat tactics to decide from. Put on the ball and chain with some sow bugs and other classic tailwater nymphs, streamer fish, or try the dry. If you are a “numbers” guy then choose option 1. If you are a size guy, then you can choose option 2 or 3. The streamer fishing can be hit or miss. One suggestion I can make is to try and use smaller, sleeker streamer patterns than the huge bunnies and sculpins. If the dry fly is spotty or you want to work the edges more, then try a skwala with a dropper. Use a size 16-20 tailwater type nymph on 4x Fluoro about 24-30 inches under the dry. If you start getting a few dry fly bites, then take the dropper off and you will be able to work the shallower edges better. The Missouri is one of the best trout fisheries in the world, but it can also be a one of the best rivers to find a good piece of humble pie! So good luck and have fun in the warmer temperatures later this week because I think the fishing will be good. If you want to experience a Missouri River Fly Fishing Trip, with Dixon Adventures, I have spring open dates and great rates! Good luck and be Safe!
March 12, 2013
Wow has this been a hot summer! Well with heat comes photosynthesis and thus the grasses grow. The Missouri flows at Holter are just under 4000 cfs and with less water the sunlight can penetrate the water more and the grasses grow thick. The grasses are not unhealthy, in fact, they are part of the health of this tailwater that functions like a spring creek. The fishing is not easy, but I have been catching some nice trout on hoppers, ants, caddis, and spinners. The trico hatch is dying down but there are some trout on the upper stretches junkin on tiny spinners and other spent mayflies. Most guides are frustrated with the fishing. The grass can be frustrating, but I always say it is the price we pay to fish for big trout in this system at this time of year. We have turned the corner though. There are some fish rising in the mornings and evenings and there are some evening hatches that reveal fall is coming. In the heat a week ago, except for some tricos on the upper river, there are no hatches. The nights are getting longer and the fall fishing will be good as soon as some weather starts changing. We have been starving for weather! We had one cold day a couple days ago and now we are back in the eternal high pressure weather. The crazy thing is that there has been almost no wind for a month, with the exception of a couple systems and some thunder storms. The lack of wind helps the grass just end up all over the water. So how do you deal with the lettuce in the water? Well I teach what I call the cut cast. When you get some weeds on your hopper, then bring the bug withing 10-15 feet from the boat or where you are wading, then put about 4 or 5 feet of slack on the water and rip the line off the water. This slack or basically what I call an intentional bad cast can help create extra surface tension that can rip some of the weeds off your fly and you can cast again without manually removing the grass on every other cast. I am catching some nice trout, but the fishing is not easy. Persistence and patience are key because sippers, slow fishing, heat, and lots of grass in the river drive most guides and anglers crazy. So be prepared for battle and focus on having fun fishing, rather than being aggravated, and you can be rewarded with a trophy brown!
July 14, 2012
So what is going to happen to the levels on the Missouri this summer? We are already lower than we have been in the last couple high water years, and hopefully we can have some timely rain to keep the water temps down and the levels above 4000 cfs. It will be tricky though. I remember when about 5 years ago during the peak of drought season the Missouri was flowing very low and only at about 2700 cfs! The levels at Canyon Ferry are still high and gives us a little buffer for now, but if the heat and low rainfall continues, that might change. The flow at Toston is way below the median at 2400 cfs and the water temps are warm, which they typically are, the river is running out of snowmelt and influx water. The reservoir is full but keep an eye on the levels as we push into the next month to try and understand dam level predictions. The Holter Dam level is doing well and the upper streches seem to have the most fisherman for now. So at least for now there is some decent fishing with some tougher conditions and lower water potentially on the horizon! So what is going on?
Well, the tricos are starting on the upper stretches and in some of the canyon stretches. The tricos are pretty scarce on the lower canyon and lower river, however they are found in a few spots. They like hatching in riffles and doing there dance before they mate and die quickly. They are site specific on the lower sections and I will let you try and figure that out, but when they hatch, the upper river can be boiling! Boiling trout does not mean easy fishing! O contraire mon frere! As a matter fact this can be some of the most sadomasochistic guiding and or fly fishing of the season till the deep fall when pseudos and baetis come out and trout start podding up for fall consumption. What is a good technique for tricos? Tricos are all technique, flies and presentation are key! I like to use a small point fly like a size 16-20 parachute (depending on your vision) and then drop a nice size 18-20 spinner about 14 inches from the point fly. There is no mending in my world on this game it is all aerial mending and parachute casts with pin pointing drifts. The fly selection is fairly simple by 10 or 11 AM they are eating spinnerfall. You need to make your initial casts count, but there is also rhythm. I dont need to change flies when I have a good spinner pattern. These are super easy to tie. Your casts must be precise and delicate and you cannot recast until you glide out of the trout and use stealth. I contend that one should not have to use 6x, but I have had many an argument with guides on that one. I contend that 5x is suitable for all these conditions with proper understanding of trout vision. Besides these little maddening bugs what else is going on?
The PMDs are still hatching and the heat in the afternoon is still beating down making some of the hot afternoon/evenings tough. You can start trying hoppers and attractors with about 30 inch droppers. There are lots of people recreation on the Missouri this month, so please be courteous and have patience with the families and kids enjoying the river. If they get in your water, they just dont know any better. I will be looking to throw some ants and attractors with droppers if it gets tough.
Good luck out there!
Week of June 20, 2012
Ok so all I can say is that the Missouri flows at Holter are matching Toston and they will not be getting any higher. The fishing right now is pretty awesome. You never know with the big winds you can experience from day to day, but the high pressure ridge is setting in, and I will have say, let the head hunting begin! The solstice is here and with over 15 hours of daylight, there are lots of times of day to try and fish, including all of them! The hatches are prolific and there are numerous different cycles that can occur at different times of day. The yellow sallies will be busting out between noon and 2. The spent caddis and pmds are already on the water in the morning and there can be some great head hunting early too. The caddis mating cycle will be heating up and the magic hour in the late evening will have trout rising on the insect masses. Water temperatures and levels are fantastic for some of the best dry fly fishing in the state. You can scan with dries and droppers or you can find yourself in a humble situation of trying to target a big brown in shallow water with a minimum of a 40 foot cast. The hatches are pmds, yellow sallies, even some larger goldens are around, caddis of many kind, and other mayflies I will not pretend to know! There is also some fantastic nymphing on 4 to 6 foot rigs. You dont even necessarily need a split shot if your first nymph is a heavy tungsten or something that can help it get down. Look for trout rising on seems and in the 1 to 3 foot water anf if you are nymphing, look for the cliff eddies and aquarium holes. There is too much info for me to go on so I will finish by telling you that the fishing is great and the flows will be dropping almost everyday, like they did today! Good luck and May the Force Be with You!
June 13, 2012
Well the dam guys never cease to amaze me. They dropped the flows to under 4500 cfs and the reservoirs filled up so they had to jack the flows to over 8000 cfs. The good news is that the Toston Flows are dropping fast, so the flows at Holter Dam have dropped to around 7000 cfs. The dam guys never cease to amaze me. I don’t know what those guys arte thinking! They dropped the flows under 5000 cfs which filled Canyon Ferry Level to 99.9%! Then they had to jack the dam up because the reservoir was full. Well duh, if you just left the flows at around 6000 we would have had stable flows throughout the spring. So what has been going on with the fishing?
There has been some very unpredictable and difficult fishing over the last couple weeks. As I stated in my last report the water temps dropped so fast that the fishing just got down right tough! Then just as the temps climbed back up and there were signs of hope, the brainless wonders running the dam had to jack up the flows. So the fishing has been tough and there are some dry fly moments here and there and nymphing again, but overall not so fun. But there is now hope! Hopefully there will not be a huge rainfall and runoff combination that increases the inflows, because now there is no room for it. So look out for a big beneficial rain because in my understanding of the system, the dam will have to be released again in such an event. But things are looking good right now. The flows have declined and there is some good fishing coming!
June is an exciting time of year, especially when the flows are not over 20,ooo cfs like they have been for the last 2 years. Go out there and choose your triple threat option. Dry, Streamer, or Nymphing, hopefully in that order. The PMDs are out and as soon as this hatch starts so does an onslaught of other hatches. There are caddis, black caddis, yellow sallies, and other mayflies that I know most guides can’t identify. Look for risers and dont be afraid to prospect with a dry and dropper if you don’t want to throw the Walmart ball and chain rig. To finish off this report I would like to quote a line from Vegas Vacation with Chevy Chase. Now that I have discussed how the dam works are there any Dam Questions? Yeah “Where can I get some Dam bait!” LOL
Good luck all!
June 2, 2012
The Missouri has had kind of baffled me lately. There was something that happened that I am trying to still figure out. Sorry about the delay in the report, I am back!
The temperature has dropped a significant amount since the big heat we had in May. The picture above was last weekend in 35 degrees and the hatches shut down. The really strange thing is that there was some great fishing going on and groups of trout that were showing up after spawning, but now they somehow disappeared. I mean really disappeared. I have no idea what happened, but I even scouted a few spots that I used to be able to see trout cruising around, and they were not even visible. The talk of the Missouri is how the cold has made the fishing more difficult, and it has. There is always fishing up by the dam, but the rest of the river is tougher. I still caught the nice brown above on a caddis the day after the cold snap, but that was just an individual trout rising. So look for heads in the heat of the day and otherwise you have to nymph or streamer fish. One suggestion I have is running a small 16 or 18 dropper about 30 inches under a dry fly. I was using a very buoyant caddis with my dropper and it worked every now and then and was much more relaxing than setting the hook on every other cast with an indicator. If you are going to try streamers try and use a smaller style streamer than the usual big stuff. Look for the fishing to improve with the increase in water temperatures and hopefully those rainbows that disappeared with the changing temperatures will come back from their cold water hide outs!
May 17, 2012
The Missouri is fishing great right now and the water levels are at an incredible condition. The Missouri River Streamflow is at 4500 and the temperature coming out of the dam is an optimal 51 degrees! I can remember some of these fishing conditions during the drought years and since we have had 2 years of enormous flows, it is nice to have great dry fly conditions. There are some baetis and large Rithrogena March Browns still around but the big hatch is the mother’s day caddis. The caddis have been hatching in full force with some of our record heat days. Now that the temps will drop back down , the caddis will still continue to hatch. The dominant time for dry fly fishing seems to be between 1 and 4 and the evening hatch has not been as good as expected. I have been throwing double dries during the prime window. I have had success on x-caddis and other caddis patterns I tie along with a smaller parachute or cripple. There have been a lot of trout taking the parachute during the caddis hatch. The success is dominated by presentation. Perfecting the reach cast and a good drift will increase your strikes. The trout are really hot right now. A 17″ trout can spool line of your reel and you may have to learn some lessons the hard way before you can land them. As I always tell my clients “honor their power, if they are running you have to let them run!”
Streamers work best in the faster waters where the trout are predacious and opportunistic, but the streamer game is not consistent throughout the river, site specific I call it. If you are going to try and get into some trout on nymphs, just use about a 5 foot rig with 1 B or smaller weight on 4x or 5x. I have had success on caddis pupa, purple lightning bugs, rainbow warrior, and many other little flashy bugs in the 16-18 size. Some guys will run a “short leash” even shallower than that since the river levels are clear and low and the trout are starting to hold on the shallow gravel bars. I have some open days if you want to try a “Dixon Adventure.”
Good luck out there, the conditions are great!
May 6, 2012
I had a great week on the Missouri last week. We caught some monster browns on dries and then there was a magic day when there was overcast and low wind and a regatta of March Browns. The March Browns are big beautiful mayflies. They seem larger than the western freestone March Browns and the trout were loving their first monster hatch. I was fishing some of the canyon sections and the lower river and there was a shift that was noticeable to me.
The lower river has had some cool dry fly hunting for some nice browns, but it seemed to me like New Zealand. There were just a few fish every other mile, but some of them were fun to hunt when they were holding on a lane and eating Baetis and March Browns in rhythm. So in the middle and lower sections there were very little signs of rainbows eager to eat a dry. Of course a lot of rainbows are interested in the social behavior they have during spawning and less interested in feeding. There are still some trout spawning, but there are a lot of them that are done and the river is filling back up with rainbows. The magic day had lots of fish rising on all sections of the Mo and it was nice to start seeing pods that were not just focused on midges like they have been on the upper sections. The nymphing has been great and the trout are on the prowl for food as the temperatures start approaching 50 degrees. I have had success with a variety of nymphs so I will not bore you with a mile long list. Just set it up at about 6 or 7 feet with a single split. Dont be afraid to experiment with some different set ups, like going shallower with no weight and fishing some of the shallower sections. There are definitely some nice trout starting to hold on some of the shallow bars. I am primarily a dry fly fisherman, so I am looking for rises and also running some 24-30 inch droppers under the dries and that is working for me in the right spots. The one thing I can tell you is that the fishing is about to get even better. I have seen some caddis coming out during the heat and the buffet of caddis is about to cause a spring feeding frenzy. I am curious to know what will happen this year to the dam releases. I checked out the Canyon Ferry reservoir level and it is currently 86.5% full. Here is a cool link for the current level. Canyon Ferry Level If the pool fills up, then Holter Dam will experience some releases. I don’t think there will be much, especially compared to the last couple years.
Midges, Baetis, March Browns, and Caddis are starting!
May 1, 2012
Wow what a week. The heat brought the tributaries (Prickly Pear and Dearborn) on a big rise and was dumping mud into the river. The lower river looked off color, but still “bugger green” and fishable. I went from feeling like I was in the tropics mid week to feeling like I was in the tundra by the end of the week. I saw something I don’t think I have ever seen before. I actually saw a couple caddis in the heat and I had not seen a March Brown yet. Really? I saw a caddis before a March Brown. The caddis arent out yet, but it was just a reminder of things to come. The weather at the end of the week was nasty and I saw a lot of Baetis and March Browns. I was fishing the lower river which is tough at this time of year, but I was able to catch some nice browns on top, but not many. I chose to head hunt rather than join the gumball circus upriver. There is some good dry fly fishing up river and in the canyon, but the “numbers game” is definitely still throwing nymphs. Take your choice on nymphs, there are always plenty of varieties that work. Some of mine would be Czechs, P tails, sow bugs, and anything that is good for the mayfly aquatics that you can whip up on the vise. I have not found too many trout starting to venture into the bars in the middle of the river and the best fishing is on seams on the banks. This will be changing in the next couple weeks as the rainbows finish there task of making more trout and start to migrate all over the river. The river is fishing well and there are many different styles to choose from. The streamer bite was ok, but not great. That means we were turning some nice trout every now and then, but you had to work for them. I am heading over today so check out my facebook for updated photos and info.
April 18, 2012
Well I can tell you what everybody else is saying. Fly Fishing the Missouri River this spring has been some of the best spring fishing I have seen since the drought years. There are some exciting reports from fisherman, but of course, some anglers are not doing as well as others. What does that mean? Well, that depends on what you call well and what type of fisherman you are.
Flyfishing the Missouri River has all kinds of options and consequently, attracts all types of fisherman. As a guide we have what are called numbers clients. Of course, most “numbers” anglers are not concerned with how they catch fish, they just want to catch trout. So, usually that means nymphing and that style is producing. With all the trout that are in the upper river, when you get the right system, the catching can be incredible. There are rainbows visibly on reds and then there are the “planters” that everyone is talking about.
We have not stocked our rivers since 1976 and stocking occurs in ponds and lakes, including Holter Lake. So last year with the apocalyptic flows, some of the stocked rainbows spilled over the dam. This is sad to me because it will disturb the gene pool that has been diverse for years. Everything will be fine and I have heard the argument that the river trout were planted at one point too. True, but we have had years of genetic diversity that has created immunity of some strains to Whirling and many other diseases. We will see but now we have a new gene pool that has limited diversity and some of these strains may be more vulnerable to disease. Nothing to be alarmed about, but I thought I would just include a little genetics in my report. If you want a good nymph rig, play around with the usual tailwater bugs (czech. scuds, sow bugs, baetis, P-tails, and especially hand tied varieties of ingenuity. Use about a 6 foot rig, but don’t be afraid to shorten or lengthen the system depending on the run you are fishing.
So then there is the streamer game. This is a game of perseverance. Occasional you can experiment with streamers and find a ridiculous amount of chases and action, but these are the miracle days. You want to play the weather to try and find these magic days. The nastier the weather, the better chance of a great streamer bite. You don’t always have to use large patterns, in fact using some of the smaller patterns will give you more chances at both large and average size trout. So what is the most popular game to me?
The Dry Fly! I was fortunate to catch some of these nice browns on both a blue winged olive and a stonefly pattern. Yes there are stoneflies in the Missouri and there are resident stoneflies, they don’t all come from the Dearborn and tributaries. It was interesting to me, between me and my guide we landed numerous trout (I am not a counter) on the upper river on the nymphs and there was only 1 brown trout. When we fished lower in the canyon, we caught a bunch of nice brown trout and rainbows. Look for rock walls and don’t expect to have no dry fly fishing with no rises, you can prospect and catch some nice ones. The March Browns will be coming out soon since the baetis have started. The blue wings come marching out around 2 PM or so, but this time can vary depending on weather.
I expect this river to fish very well this year. So what kind of angler are you? You have the triple threat of options! I am not a counter, I like the Dry fly challenge. When you see a trout rising and have to use skill to put the pieces of the puzzle together, the rewards are greater than just watching your gumball shoot up river. Good luck out there, and I have open days if you want to put your skills to the test.
April 1, 2012
March 27, 2012
The Missouri is getting there. Water temps coming out of the dam are getting closer to 39 degrees and the baetis hatch is around the corner. I have not been fishing the Missouri this spring yet, but there are reports of some great midge hatches and rising trout, as long as the conditions are right. To be successful at this time of year you need to be able to switch tactics. Do some nymph fishing, look for a midge head to post up on, and then toss some streamers on some rock walls or other waters that look productive. This big male brown was caught on a streamer on the lower river and the surface activity will be sparse until those lake temperatures keep rising. Spring fishing on the Mo can be exciting and I am looking forward to head hunting and I do anticipate some great hatches and the snowpack is looking like we might not have a giant runoff which equals great river flows and dry fly fishing!
March 20, 2012
The Missouri River has been fishing pretty well throughout the winter, as far as winter fishing goes. Last week the river was flowing under 5000 CFS, but now it has come up after these winter squalls hit during the spring equinox. These storms are a reminder of the potentials of heavy precipitation this spring like we had last year. I am not a true winter Missouri junkie, but I have put my telemark skis and ski pass away so it is time for me to come out of hibernation and give some real reports! I will always keep my reports real because I have nothing to sell, so here it goes. When I fish the Missouri this early it is clear that the nymph game is the ticket. However, the dry fly midge fishing can be fun in the ideal conditions. I have seen some of the largest midge clusters I have ever seen on the Mo in early spring. Just like pseudo fishing in the fall, this can be a great way to put yourself on a dog leg par 5 early in the season. Translation, you have to use good technique and have arial mends and precision. This game is my favorite, because it is a challenge and much more rewarding than the bobber. I am not too picky about fly selection; grifith, buzzballs, or just any little fuzzy thing. I actually like using a classic renegade as a point fly on 5x and then trail a small size 20 thing of your choice on a 14-16 inch dropper. The main game is presentation. Work on your aerial mend parachute or stack cast and try and feed the patterns in their lane and try and match the rythmn of their rise. Nymph fishing is pretty basic. The same old Missouri tailwater bugs like ray charles, lightning bugs, small pheasant tails, copper johns, zebra midges, and more. Run them tandem on 4x and 5x and at about 7 feet unless your are fishing the slower deeper runs. The rainbows will begin to feel the migration bug as flows fluctuate in the spring as they feel their urge to create more trout for us to stalk in a couple years. The key for me to get the urge to fish the MIssouri is when the water temperatures begin to climb over 40 or 41 degrees. Right now the temperature is 37 or so. When the temperature climbs, the fishing gets more exciting. The blue-winged olives and march browns will get trout looking up more and then the potential of catching some big trout on skwalas gets better as temperatures climb over 44 degrees. So keep an eye on the flows and the river temps and enjoy the river cause you might find yourself in a dream world like the photo below.
Have fun folks and good luck!
Midges, Skwalas, Baetis, and March Browns coming!