Blue Stream Fly Fishing
Fly Fishing Report for:

Missouri River - Below Holter Dam - Montana

Hatch Chart - Best Access/Spots - Local Fish - About

Water Flow Chart

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Using Water Flow Charts & Weather Reports: Begin with our water flow charts to grasp stream velocity and volume – look for stable or rising trends to pinpoint ideal fishing times. Learn to interpret sudden spikes or drops, which can indicate potential challenges. Next, consult our weather reports to understand ambient conditions. Pairing the two, you can anticipate fish behavior, choose the right gear, and select the best fishing spots. Use these tools together for a holistic approach to your next fishing adventure.

In-Depth Weather

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Directions To Location

Hatch Chart

Month Hatch Time of Day Recommended Fly Sizes Popular Fly Patterns
January Midges Most Active During Warmer Hours 18-22 Griffith's Gnat, Zebra Midge
Blue Winged Olives Mid Day 20-22 BWO Emerger, CDC Dun BWO
February Midges Most Active During Warmer Hours 18-22 Griffith's Gnat, Zebra Midge
Blue Winged Olives Mid Day 20-22 BWO Emerger, CDC Dun BWO
March Blue Winged Olives Mid Day 18-20 BWO Emerger, CDC Dun BWO
Skwala Stones Noon-5pm 10-12 Double Bead Skwala, Skwala Adult
April Blue Winged Olives Mid Day 18-20 BWO Emerger, CDC Dun BWO
March Browns Noon-Evening 14-16 March Brown Sparkle Dun, March Brown Cripple
Caddis Afternoon-Evening 14-16 Elk Hair Caddis, X caddis
May Caddis Afternoon-Evening 14-16 Elk Hair Caddis, X caddis
PMDs Noon-Early Afternoon 16-18 Parachute PMD, PMD Emerger
June PMDs Noon-Early Afternoon 16-18 Parachute PMD, PMD Emerger
Caddis Afternoon-Evening 14-16 Elk Hair Caddis, X caddis
Yellow Sallies Mid Day 14-16 Yellow Sally Stone, Crystal Stimulator
July Tricos Morning 20-22 Trico Emerger, CDC Trico
Caddis Afternoon-Evening 14-16 Elk Hair Caddis, X caddis
Yellow Sallies Mid Day 14-16 Yellow Sally Stone, Crystal Stimulator
August Tricos Morning 20-22 Trico Emerger, CDC Trico
Hoppers/ Terrestrials All Day 10-12 Hopper Juan, Foam Beetle
September Tricos Morning 20-22 Trico Emerger, CDC Trico
Hoppers/ Terrestrials All Day 10-12 Hopper Juan, Foam Beetle
October Blue Winged Olives Mid Day 20-22 BWO Emerger, CDC Dun BWO
October Caddis All Day, Peaks Late 8-10 October Caddis Pupa, October Caddis Dry
Midges Most Active During Warmer Hours 18-22 Griffith's Gnat, Zebra Midge
November Midges Most Active During Warmer Hours 18-22 Griffith's Gnat, Zebra Midge
Blue Winged Olives Mid Day 20-22 BWO Emerger, CDC Dun BWO
December Midges Most Active During Warmer Hours 18-22 Griffith's Gnat, Zebra Midge
Blue Winged Olives Mid Day 20-22 BWO Emerger, CDC Dun BWO

While we strive to ensure the precision of our hatch charts, some reflect broader river region insights. Through ongoing partnerships with local guides and fly shops, we’re committed to refining our data. Should you notice any inconsistencies or have feedback, we welcome you to reach out. 

Best Fishing Spots

The stretch of the Missouri River downstream of the Holter Dam is a renowned haven for fly-fishing enthusiasts. Several spots are marked as top-rated places:

  • Craig: Found 40 miles north of Helena, this area offers a scenic backdrop for captivating angling experiences. It’s abundant in brown trout.
  • Land of the Giants: Located near the Holter Dam itself, this area promises larger trout, thanks to the deeper water.
  • Dearborn Confluence: A perfect place for dry fly fishing particularly in the summer with hatches of mayflies, caddis, and terrestrials.
  • Stickney Creek Outlet: A buffer zone between the faster and slower moving parts of the river – it boasts good catch rates.
  • Mountain Palace: Ideal if you are fishing from a boat due to its tricky bank access, but it guarantees a rich population of rainbow trout.

Best Access Points

Fly fishers are served with some amazing spots on the Missouri River below the Holter Dam. Some of the standout locations include:

  • Craig Crossing: A quintessential access point situated right in the hub of Craig, this spot is easily accessible.
  • Mid Canon: This spot is not too far from Craig and provides ample fly fishing opportunities. It’s perfect for those who want to fish in peace.
  • Stickney Creek: This spot is a bit further down the river but offers some of the best fly fishing in terms of size and quantity of fish.

These access points provide different types of water and terrain, enhancing the fly-fishing experience. Remember to respect local regulations and always practice catch and release to help maintain these fantastic fishing spots for future generations.

Local Fish

  • Rainbow Trout: Known for their strong fight and aerial acrobatics, they make for an exciting catch on the fly.
  • Brown Trout: Prized by anglers for their elusive nature and potential for large size. Hatches of mayflies, caddis, and other insects attract these opportunistic feeders.
  • Mountain Whitefish: Another trout-like species providing good sport for fly fishers, they’re resilient, robust fish that eat a wide range of insects and small fish.
  • Cutthroat Trout: Native to the Western U.S., including the Missouri River, Cutthroats provide great sport for anglers who enjoy sight fishing and dry fly tactics.
  • Brook Trout: Though not as common as other species, if found in lower numbers they can be particularly fun to hook on a dry fly.
  • Percidae: This group of perches, particularly sauger and walleye, often hit fly patterns that resemble baitfish.
  • Northern Pike: Known for their aggressive hits and thrilling fight, Northern Pike offer a unique fly fishing challenge.
  • Smallmouth Bass: While not a traditional fly fishing quarry, these aggressive and hard-fighting fish are more common in other sections of the Missouri River, but can sometimes be hooked below Holter Dam.

About The River

The Missouri River – Below Holter Dam is a quintessential piece of our nation’s deep-seated history. Carving through the sceneries of Montana, this stretch of the Missouri River has been a significant waterway since times immemorial.

Here are some key points regarding its rich history:
  • The Dam itself, built in 1918, is an example of early 20th-century engineering marvels and has been crucial for irrigation and electric generation.
  • Renowned explorers Lewis and Clark navigated this part of the river in 1805, making it an inseparable part of their Expedition’s tales.
  • The river was a significant lifeline for the native American tribes and later became a conduit for westward expansion and trade.
Renowned for its fishing abundance, especially brown and rainbow trout, the vibrant river continues to nurture local communities and tourists alike with its timeless beauty and rich history.
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