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Still time for April fly fishing on Montana's Missouri River

Here's your must-know guide

Less than two weeks remain to take advantage of April fly fishing. It’s an awesome time to fish Montana’s Missouri River because the moments in between spring storms can produce perfect conditions for memorable fly fishing before May rolls around. It’s a confusing time for the fish so they make some mistakes. You want to be there when it happens.  

Lots of people are asking me what’s happening right now on the Mo’. Here’s the lowdown: 

1.     Nymph fishing: This is the bread and butter of April. Fish are hungry and ready to gobble up anything the looks remotely edible. Guides like to use sow bugs with some kind of scud or sow bug attractor. Fire bead sow bugs, pill poppers, worms, and rainbow czech nymphs are all on the menu. Like finding the perfect home, successful nymphing this time of year is all about location, location, location. Local guides know how to kill it; do-it-yourselfers not so much. Snag yourself a guide who knows the river like the back of their hand. 


2.     Streamer slinging:  In April, we like to throw streamers until clients’ arms give out. Like nymphing, location also matters when it comes to streamer fishing. While you may be tempted to chuck big ol’ flies into fast, sexy water, try to show some restraint. The fish aren’t everywhere yet. When the water is cold, they tend to hold in softer, deeper spots, In general, I don’t recommend big flies this time of year; medium to small patterns are best. Find a color or size that gets attention and stick with it. 


3.     Dry-fly drama: Don’t get your hopes up too high for the dry. Dry fly fishing in the spring is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Midge hatches happen daily and BWOs come off on a grand scale, but the fish only eat on top when everything lines up perfectly – weather, location on the river, time of day, your lucky fishing hat. It can be pure magic, but let’s face it, you ain’t no Houdini. It’s purely serendipitous to find dry fly Valhalla this time of year. Baffled and bewildered Missouri River newbies always ask, “How can there be so many bugs yet no fish rising?” My response – the fall BWO hatch is much better, my friends.

What are you waiting for? We still have guides available in April, along with a spring special until May 1. Save money. Catch fish. Make memories.


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