The water is high but the fishing is good. Big fish are being caught on the Mighty Missouri River!
One of the best ways to learn more about fishing Montana’s Missouri River is to hire a guide your first time or two. The mighty Mo can be a real challenge to fly fishers who have never fished here before. We as guides see it all the time, first time Missouri anglers with all the right flies but no fish in the net. Usually new anglers have the right flies, weight and depth as prescribed at the fly shop. The common factor is poor rowing ability and lack of knowledge on where to look for trout. The Missouri is big and flat to the average eye. One must look close at the surface to understand the subtle shelves and drop offs below.
I see many first timers only catch a fish or two on a multi day fishing trip. Maybe they are too proud to go guided or simply can’t afford it. Either way a guide can help you get started on the mighty Mo! When we have our famous hatches, finding those trout can be a lot easier! Wade fisherman can actually do well if the flows are within reason for wade fishing. Good luck and happy fishing!
May is a great time to fish Montana’s Missouri River. We are on the verge of a large caddis hatch along with a some sizable drakes. The water volume is at the upper limits for the fish to rise well but I’ve seen some big fish rise in the past with similar conditions.
As of now nymph fishing is really good some days and really tough other days. Most guides are getting it done day to day. Most do it yourself guys are having some really tough days, especially in the sun. I have not heard many great reports about streamers but as the water warms fishing certain banks can be good.
My favorite time to fish is in the spring. Spring brings new hope for all of the hatches to come. Spring brings hope for all those big fish you never caught last year! I prefer the first half of the season more than the second half.
The first major Hatch begins in April. The BWO hatch is quiet major and can happen for 3 weeks or so. This is not the hatch that you can depend on day in and day out. These small may flies are effected by weather. Just when you think it is raining to hard for a good dry-fly bite, boom a bunch of big fish up and eating! Sometimes you think it is to sunny. Wrong, big browns up and vulnerable! Some days the conditions seem perfect for the big hatch and it doesn’t happen. The streamer road is always ready!
When the hatches are lacking, I always like to throw streamers. On occasion some big fish fall to streamers in the spring! The nymph fishing can be really hard to beat this time of year as well. Come on over to the Missouri river in April. You will be glad you did!
We are moving into spring! We all start to feel the need to fish this time of year! The water temp is getting close to 40 degrees on the Mighty Mo. I usually don’t start fishing until the water hits 40. That is when fish start to chase things. At about 42 degrees you can get those blue wing olive hatches, that’s when big dumb ones eat the dry fly! Hope to see you soon.
Some of you may have read the story of Mike’s incredible buck in the latest issue of Eastman’s Hunting Journal. Congratulations to the hunter Mike LaVoy on great Buck!
Just a few thoughts on this truly giant mule deer buck. The Hunter and guide have been humbled by our good fortune. Even though Mike’s buck made the cover story of Eastman’s and we possibly harvested the biggest buck taken in Montana in 2016, we are still just a couple of average guys who love the outdoors!
Sometime dreams do come true! We will never forget the morning that all the planets aligned and we were able to harvest this tremendous Mule Deer! Good shooting Mike!
This hunt takes place in mid November. You except good hunting during this time of year due to the rut. I was in between hunts and just hanging out at our ranch house, glassing some hay meadows. We had around 22 does coming in and out of the fields within view from the house. I had not seen a big buck with these deer yet this year.
As I was glassing from the sliding glass window, drinking coffee, I spotted a big heavy horned buck. I watched him leave the fields with a couple of does. He was heavy horned and older! The buck grazed up and into the shade and laid down. I could see he had a rather long kicker on one side and beer can bases. I wish I had a hunter here!
When my hunter got in the next day, I was hopeful to see the big bruiser again. We drank coffee and glassed from the house at first light. Of course the buck did not show! We loaded up and headed down valley. Two canyons down and we ran into about 12 deer. Their he was and he had not seen us yet.
We needed to walk way around to get in a low spot that would provide us cover up the deer. My hunter Pete was moving slow as he didn’t want his hunt to be over so quick. I pulled him a-side and had a little pep talk! You are going to shoot this big ass deer! To put it mildly! Once we where on the same page, we continued the stalk.
As walked up the cow trail fully out of sight of the deer, I was thinking this is going to be easy if the deer are still there. I peeked over when I thought we were close. They had moved but I could see them. 80 more yards and we would make our stand! We made a bit of ground and I set us up on the steep edge of our coulee. Not to comfortable for Pete to shoot but it was all we had. He was propped up on the pack and I ranged big boy at 275.
Let him have it when he turns I hissed! The buck was grazing but some does were looking our way. Shoot I hissed. Pete took the safety and let one fly. It was a hit, shoot again! Miss then a hit. The big buck laid down and died right then. As we approached the buck, I was surprised at the extra points and mass. I told Pete, You just shot a caribou! This was a magnificent buck, he scored 191 inches and had 44 inches of mass. A monster Montana muley!
I want to give a big thank you to our men and women of the armed services. I have so much gratitude for our veterans! Thank You! Also a big Thanks to the Montana Wounded Warriors! Thanks for letting us do a small favor for some great men! Merry Christmas to you all.
Well, here goes hunt story number two. My wife says that everyone loves these hunt stories. I don’t really like to write the stories because it is hard to write sarcasm! This hunt took place about mid November. The deer were rutting hard but the Super Moon had showed up. The big moon plays a role in deer movement during the rut. The hunting had been stellar but I feared a big slow down due to the moon.
First day of the hunt for some great guys from San Antonio. Art was up to shoot first. We were looking for a big deer I had seen the hunt before. I thought he would go 180 or better. As we set up in our early morning perch, we glassed across a valley with hay fields on the bottom. We spotted a few young bucks and many does. Finally I seen a good one and put my spotting scope on him. He was a great young deer with potential for next year, we passed!
After glassing for quite some time it was time to move. As we got up I looked to our right and seen a good buck rutting does. He was under our nose the whole time. We needed to get a better look! The deer was only a half mile away but was now out of our sight. On the way we bumped a few doe with some small bucks in tow. As we approached the spot where we had last seen the big one. There he was laying in the wide open prairie with three does.
We had to get flat on the ground as not to be seen. We were able to look at the buck for a long time as he lay there chewing his cud. He looked like he was old and we could see he had some extras. I could not put eye guards on him but Kyle said he could. I propped up my pack and had Art get in position to shoot. We laid on the cold ground for quite a while waiting for our chance. I was starting to shiver but Art stayed calm.
The deer finally stood up, we all agreed that this would be a good first Mule Deer for Art! Just as Art was going to shoot the buck laid back down. The buck got up again and never gave a good angle, the tension was building! Finally he turned and Art put it on the money at 240 yards. I told him to shoot again but it was not needed.
As we approached Art’s first muley it looked good! I was surprised to see the buck had double eye guards on both sides! A big hook and nice mass, a real character buck! Nice shooting Art!
The first hunt I guided this season was with long time client Easy E. This was E’s seventh trip with me. We have had some great hunts together! Our hunts have not always been smooth. Easy has some bad luck in regards to weather. He has hunted some terrible arctic cold front that have left him stranded. E’s hunts have been earlier every year, in hopes of better weather. This year wouldn’t you know, it rained one and a half inches on his second day. Some of you may know that rain is worst scenario in eastern Montana, do to the gumbo mud that we have in the soil.
It rained so hard we stayed in all day and glassed from the house. The next day it dawned nice and clear. The roads were too wet to drive on. We took off on a walk from the house. Once on top, we had a view of many deer leaving the barley fields. We immediately glassed up 2 bucks. One buck was a good up and comer that I wanted to let live another year! The other buck was a big mature dude! He had a good 4×4 frame with deep forks.
We had to watch from our open location as the deer fed down into some canyons. I watched the big guy go down and marked him with an old telephone pole. We made our stalk to perfection! As we rounded the last hill there he was laying facing us. I looked him over as he lay there in an alert position. He was a beauty but he had no eye guards. E got a good look at him with his Lieca binoculars, he looked real big at 60 yards with that kind of glass!
As I pulled us away from the buck, I told Easy that he didn’t have eye guards. Easy E. had the best ever response! He said eye guards are not a prerequisite for me! That is a big buck! I almost went back to shoot the old boy but cooler heads prevailed. I maintained we had 3 more days and if it didn’t work out we could find that buck again. From there we walked in the opposite direction. We skirted around many coulees, glassing and stalking as we went.
We finally made it to a big coulee that the rancher told me was a wicked coulee, yes he called it wicked! I’ve never been the guy to pass up a wicked coulee. We started to glass and after a while I laid eyes on some whitetail deer. They were on their feet and coming in and out of the shade. At a mile away I could make out horns on one deer, I thought maybe we should check it out.
We trekked across some open country to get to the side the deer were on. As we started to get close to where I had the deer marked, we came upon a coyote. The coyote was stretched out on the ground and looked dead. At 40 yards I looked through my binos to see if it was breathing. I determined it was dead! A few steps closer and up jumps the coyote! The old boy had been napping and was caught off guard. He ran out 40 yards and stopped. I told E to shoot him, he didn’t want to blow our stalk on the deer. Cooler heads prevailed for the second time that day!
When we reached the last little hill, I peeked over to find a rather large buck within bow range. Four does were even closer and I knew it had to happen quick. Easy pulled up with his 300urm and made quick work of the buck. E’s first whitetail was a good one!