Missouri River, MT - 1993
(Below Holter Dam)
Saturday, March 13, 1993
Fished several places between Wolf Creek Bridge
and the Fly Fisher's Inn. The areas with the best ripples
and cover were near both of these places. There are a lot
more good access areas than my map shows. This stretch of
water is worth exploring more. I got on the water at about
9:30 and left for home around 2:00. The water was cold and
clear, but the fish were not biting my spinners. The day was
nice and sunny; high temperature around 50.
Saturday, April 10, 1993
Spent the afternoon and evening fishing the Cow
Chip Access between Craig and Wolf Creek with my new fly
After a few practices earlier in the week, I'm
beginning to feel confident. Confident, not successful. I
saw either trout or whitefish rising in lines for gnats
upstream of the access about 200 yards.
The owner of The Parrothead Fly Shop set me up with
some Griffith's Gnats but I couldn't keep them floating
because I didn't have any floatant. He took some interest in
me because I'm from Michigan and his father taught English
at MSU a long time ago.
The weather was a cold, overcast, and windy. The
Parrothead guy said the water was still too cold, about 40
degrees, for any good fishing. At around 7:00, the wind died
down and it was gorgeous. Saw a bald eagle swoop out of
large pine, take a fish out of the water, and return to the
tree to eat it.
Sunday, May 9, 1993
A warm, sunny day but the river was four feet
above normal and still colder than optimum according to two
guys from Fish and Wildlife. The high water was caused by
several days of rain earlier in the week. It was windy until
about 7:00 and then a hatch of small mayflies began.
According to the FW guys, I should have used a Blue
Winged-Olive. I didn't have any so I used a weighted Woolly
Worm. Still no luck and I tried above and below Craig.
Nevertheless the sun was worth it.
Tuesday, July 27, 1993
The river was still quite high and covered many
of the islands. Nevertheless, after three weeks of rainy
weather, it started to go down and the weather warmed up. As
a result, the caddis fly hatch was incredible. At times I
was swarmed over so badly I had to swat them away. Also,
many mayflies and some gnats were hatching.
I fished the cow chip access today which had grown
over considerably since I was there last. I was not alone.
Many people drifted by and about six of us were wading along
The fish responded phenomenally to the hatch. In the
evening, I fished the large eddy on the upstream side of the
access without catching a thing although the rises, leaps
and lunges were nearly constant. Never had I seen so many
fish feed so actively &endash; often, many large trout
jumped a foot clear of the water. Although I used Elk Hair
Caddis, Royal Wulff and Missouri River Special flies, my
flies were like a needle in a haystack to these fish. The
hatch was that incredible!
Saturday, August 21, 1993
Tried the down river side of the Cow Chip
Access. The river has gone done considerably, so wading was
a little easier. In the early afternoon, there were a few
rises but I still didn't get any trout. However, I got a 20
inch whitefish on a bead head nymph with a split shot on the
line. It was like reeling in a log. Still plenty of mayflies
and caddis flies to attract the trout.
Saturday, August 28, 1993
Tried the same spot as last week, only this time
it was raining constantly and about 60 degrees. Again tried
the hares ear nymph with split shot and hooked two trout.
One was very brief. The second was a huge rainbow that
leaped twice and made my reel zing several times. I kept a
lot of pressure on the fish, but suddenly it was off my
hook. I think it's due to pinching down my barbs. I was
incredibly excited while playing it; probably the biggest
trout I've ever had on the line. When the rain let up a
little, the trout started rising and leaping so I switched
to a Royal Wulff. It didn't do a thing, so I left soaked and
cold after two hours.
Thursday, September 2, 1993
Again, the Cow Chip Access. Tried the same
set-ups as last time, but caught nothing. Then, tried
further downstream near the bend. Access is pretty good and
it's easy to wade. Caught nothing but saw quite a few rises
just before sunset.
Sunday, September 19, 1993
Same story, same ending. And tried virtually
every fly in my box.
Saturday, November 6, 1993
After the first snowfall of the year that stuck
around, I tried the Cow Chip Access again.
After several months, I was finally able to land an
18 inch rainbow from the upstream pool. It took a leech
pattern that I had cast across the pool, allowing it move
from the fast current to where the river began to turn on
itself. I then pulled the line in slowly to match the speed
of the water going upstream. This big trout took it just as
the leech began to turn upstream. I fought it for maybe a
minute before I easily brought it up to the shore. I thought
of keeping it, but it was just too beautiful to
I also had on other rainbow on the line but it threw
the hook. It was a cold day and somewhat breezy, but there
was no pressure because hunting season is on.
Saturday, December 11, 1993
Took Chris with me to the Cow Chip Access. There
was very little surfacing, perhaps the slowest I've ever
seen it. When we first pulled up, the access was filled with
cows but they moved off as we entered. Neither of us caught
anything, but since the weather was great (about 60 degrees)
it was worth getting out.