THE DETAILS

Missouri River, MT - 1993
(Below Holter Dam)
See the map

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 rod.

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 shore.

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 kill.

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.

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