Part one of our Upper Missouri River National Monument Canoe Trip. You can get a bite all day long with the nymphs. While fishing pressure is far from heavy, lots of local anglers make the trip here (it's the best place to catch large trout in the eastern half of the state), so this stretch of the Missouri River receives a surprising amount of use. The Missouri River has some of the best access and easiest wade fishing in Montana. The river is separated into 3 different sections that are all give or take 50 miles. Trout fishermen are mostly concerned with the 35 mile section below Holter Dam near the towns of Wolf Creek, Craig and Cascade. MISSOURI RIVER MONTANA FISHING. Reels with quality drag systems and 50+ yds of untangled backing are required. The only trout fishing to be found on the Lower Missouri River is located in a short couple mile stretch just below Fort Peck Dam. The most popular dinner spot in the area is Izaak’s Restaurant in Craig, which serves incredible BBQ, amazing steaks as well as seafood and pasta specials. Most campsites are at State of Montana Fishing Access Sites (FAS), and will see their share of late night partying, some road noise, and boat ramp traffic. Appropriate watercraft is required for safely enjoying the river. The free-flowing river offers a good setting for sauger in the spring and fall. Large northern pike, walleye, catfish and smallmouth bass make up the bulk of the fish in the Lower Missouri River. This section of the Missouri River courses through the Montana badlands, designated as a Wild and Scenic River in 1976. They know what’s working and what’s not. The Oasis and the Frenchman & Me in Wolf Creek are the other two dinner spots in the area. Rich in history, the Missouri River flows through the Missouri Breaks and is classified as a Wild or Scenic River for more than 150 miles downstream from Fort Benton. Check us out on YouTube, Facebook, and our rapidly growing IG account! Below Fort Peck Lake, the river generally runs clear enough to allow productive fly fishing action for the warm water fish found there. The Upper Missouri chapter has been particularly vocal about liberal walleye regulations in Canyon Ferry and no limits in the Missouri River below Holter Dam. When hatches thin or weather does not permit dry fly fishing, indicator nymph fishing is world class, and size and numbers can sometimes be mind-boggling. These photos are a journey from the sky of our favorite places on the river. Special Directions. Solitude can also be found below Fort Peck Lake, although access points are somewhat more frequent and the river skirts a few small towns. West Boundary Charles Russell Wildlife Refuge : 330. Great bartenders, drinks, juke box, and thick with local flavor. If you’re looking for RV hook-ups, you have options at Headhunters, the Sterling Ranch, Mid-Canon, and Prewitt Creek. For its entire length, the Missouri River offers floaters true solitude. Lightweight breathable waders are preferred during spring and fall months (we use Simms Waders). And fed by the high nutrient water of the Missouri River, these fish can get really big, making for interesting fishing stories. Match it to your rod or “line-up” if you like it that way. They truly make evident the vast expanse beyond the shores of the river, and, moreover, the deep, twisting, braided gullies, coulees and drainages that form the lower section of the Upper Missouri River Breaks. On the other hand, we encourage all of our customers to get out and fish on their own. Thus, the Missouri River, particularly between Fort Benton and Fort Peck Lake (where the river flows through no towns and has no bridge crossings on this section) is an awesome place for long float trips. Fort Benton to Coal Banks- Beautifully maintained farm land with an abundant supply of birds and wild life. The entire Upper Missouri Breaks area is world famous for its big game herds; the elk, sheep, and deer herds there are consequently highly valued by hunters. Weight-forward floating lines with the energy to push through the wind are preferred for most Missouri River dry fly and nymph situations. Our professional staff fishes every day. Boaters' Guide Judith Landing to James Kipp Recreation Area This “tailwater” section offers some of the finest fly fishing in the Western US, and is a destination for fly fishermen and women from all over the world. Kayaking the Missouri River is one way to experiences the "Big Muddy." Methods vary, and certain times are better for certain methods. Most of our fishing involves technical dry fly or indicator nymph techniques. Fees 2. The Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in Montana is one of those places. ©2017 HEADHUNTERS, LLC – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. About half of the fishing on the Missouri River in May is straight nymph fishing but we do get sporadic hatches of Mother’s Day Caddis and Blue Wing olives. If large foam attractors are your style, July, August and September should be your focus. The Missouri River enters North Dakota from Montana just west of Williston. It can be a little rowdy, but it’s still kid friendly. Below Fort Peck Lake, the Missouri River continues on towards the North Dakota border, meandering through the rolling prairie of eastern Montana. The elk harvest on the Monument almost matches its famous neighbor — the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge — in regards to hunter success. Craig is the most popular area, and our cabins fill quickly and a year in advance. This opens up otherwise unreachable hunting and fishing locations. Rich in history, the Missouri River flows through the Missouri Breaks and is classified as a Wild or Scenic River for … The Weeds are non-existent and the fishing is utterly consistent. Instead, you have to arrange a shuttle, which means less time for fishing. The Missouri River is one of the longest rivers in the world, and most have heard it’s name. Fly Rods for the Missouri River are typically 9′ 5 weight, fast action rods. Rentals are very popular and reservations should be made in advance. The Upper Missouri Breaks National Monument encompasses 377,000 acres east of Great Falls and borders Russell National Wildlife Refuge. Visitors enjoy a plethora of fun activities such as kayaking, hiking, fishing, floating down the Missouri River, and more. Streamers are an excellent fly to use for the rainbows in this section, especially on a sinking or sink tip line. To-go burritos, breakfast sandwiches and cinnamon rolls can be had at Papa’s burger stand right on Bridge Street, or at the trout shop. This monument consists of 375,000 acres of public land in central Montana and straddles the Missouri River from Fort Benton to the Robinson Bridge on US Highway 191. Nearly everyone is eating lunch on the river, but if you do find yourself in Craig and need a bite head over to Papa’s for a burger, taco and some Huckleberry ice cream. Explore Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in Montana with Trout fishermen are mostly concerned with the 35 mile section below Holter Dam near the towns of Wolf Creek, Craig and Cascade. January 21, 2021. The Missouri River offers great access, easy floating and excellent hatches. BIKE THE RIVER’S EDGE TRAIL. How you want to catch them should dictate the “when” for you. So what’s Craig Like? It is packed with beautiful scenery in every direction you look, including a roaring river and monumental cliffs and bluffs. During the off or “swing” season, two-handed fishing with ultra-light spey rods has become the go-to method on the Missouri River. If you’re a dry fly geek, we recommend April, May, July and October. The cool, controlled waters of the dam create a fertile breeding ground for large rainbow trout. Caddis and Mayfly hatches can reach intensities that bring every fish in the river to the surface. Photo by Dawne Olson. The access isn’t good, it’s great! “Quaint” and “peaceful” aren’t words we use to describe Craig. The countryside the river flows through is quite unique, with tall canyons, large arid buttes and awesome rock formations lining the river. Fishing Conditions. On the lower river, the Anderson Ranch Co. allows the same. Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument This national monument covers about 377,000 acres of BLM-administered public land in central Montana. For those who desire to learn as much as possible about holding water, casting techniques, fish behavior and hatches, we definitely recommend hiring a guide, even if only for a day. Called "The Breaks" by locals, it is a series of badland areas characterized by rock outcroppings, steep bluffs and grassy plains. Plan well and come prepared for a Missouri River Breaks hunt. The Missouri River is very easy wading with a flat bottom comprised of small gravel in most places. The Lower Missouri River, which is loosely defined as downstream from Fort Benton to the North Dakota border, is a beautiful and secluded river. Exploring the river by canoe or kayak is a great way to see the park and what Lewis and Clark may have experienced during their 1804 and 1806 travels. The Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument became a part of the National Landscape and Conservation System in January 2001. Pass by the vistas Lewis & Clark described as "scenes of visionary enchantment", sites of American Fur Company forts, and landmarks whose names' recall the days of the western frontier. The Missouri is rarely affected by runoff – and even when it’s high and off color, we get ’em – so no matter when you come, you’ll find good fishing. One of the most popular trout fisheries in Montana, the Missouri River continually produces some of the best fishing in the state, and arguably the largest average fish size. As usual, a lot of fish are feeding on nymphs up near the dam but you can hook up in any stretch you fish. And the wading? Boating is popular on the Missouri River and Fort Peck Reservoir. The Sterling Ranch near Craig allows public access for fishing. The 149-mile section of the Upper Missouri National Wild and Scenic River that flows through the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument allows visitors to experience untouched natural scenery similar to what Lewis and Clark originally saw. ... Up to this point, the Missouri Breaks Backcountry Byway is a fairly easy and sedate drive that even 2wd passenger cars shouldn't have problems with except during the mud season. The nymphing is great with the tail water standards and small midges. 1. Missouri River Montana FLy Fishing. And you just might find world class dry fly fishing during those months. “This river is nothing to play around with,” Greg agrees. Most lodging in the canyon is limited to home rentals, but there are some smaller motels in Wolf Creek and Cascade. Additionally, its remote setting combined with far flung access points make day use difficult. Several public boat ramps allow access to the Missouri River for canoes, rafts or even jetboats. This series covers the 149 miles of the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument. During the winter, you can keep up to date with snowpack and runoff forecasts at our blog and fly fishing report for the Missouri River. However, the Lower Missouri River offers floating and rafting trips like no other place in Montana, and throws in the additional benefits of plenty of solitude in a very unique and historic setting. During the winter, we switch to spey rods and experience some of the best trout-swinging around. Although there can be, at times, good trout fishing in … If you want to sit down, you’ll need to head up to the Frenchman & Me in Wolf Creek. But, they’re fun places to stay and you’ll meet anglers from all over the world! Headhunters offers a full time shuttle service, and is the only service that does evening shuttles on the Missouri River. Montana Weather – Highs in the 60-70s Lows in the 40s Other than this short stretch, the Missouri River is a warm water fishery downstream from Fort Benton. The state of Montana has a dozen Fishing Access Sites (FAS) and combined with Montana’s liberal stream access law you can walk to most of the river. The Upper Missouri River Breaks encompasses an area of 375,000 acres that parallel the Missouri River landscape from Fort Benton on US Highway 87 through central Montana north of Lewistown and the west end at the CMR National Wildlife Refuge and US Highway 191. Entire Upper Missouri River. If you don’t much care – but don’t like crowds – we think March, late-August and November are tough to beat. During the spring and early summer anglers seek big fish tight to the bank with gaudy streamers. The mild start to winter is providing for some great days of fishing. Both have agreements with the state that allow miles of bank access to some of the most productive stretches of the Missouri River. It’s also known for producing huge northern pike and walleye, which draws many spin anglers in search of a trophy. Listed below are selected river miles on the Missouri River, from Great Falls downstream to the North Dakota Border. If you love to rack up big numbers on nymphs, we think May, June and September are the primo months. Boating (by any type of watercraft) is one of the premiere activities in the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, as you can obtain access to the sweeping "breaks" views, numerous camping opportunities, homestead viewing, hiking and premier hunting and fishing. Finding lodging on the Missouri River can be difficult at peaks times. Because there’s not much else to do around here besides fish, eating & drinking are very popular activities. A perfect recipe for the DIY angler, even if they are unfamiliar with the Missouri River. It should be noted that between Fort Benton and Fort Peck Lake, the Missouri River generally runs turbid all year, severely limiting any fly rod action. Rental boats are hard to come by on many western rivers. These lands hold a spectacular array of plant life, wildlife, unique geological features, endless recreational … More than 57 miles of trails line the scenic Missouri River in the … All have outhouses, but none have water or garbage (pack-it-in/out). The Missouri River is one of the longest rivers in the world, and most have heard it’s name. The gradient is shallow so heavy currents are not an issue, though high water periods in June and early July can make the wading near impossible and dangerous (flows above 6000CFS). T he Lower Missouri River, which is loosely defined as downstream from Fort Benton to the North Dakota border, is a beautiful and secluded river. The most important wading access, however, is provided by the Sterling Ranch on the upper river, and the Anderson Ranch on the lower river.