Missouri River, MT


Location: Craig, MT
Spring & Fall 2024 April 20-25, Oct 13-18
Price: $3375. Inquire about pricing for private lodging and guide.
Deposit: 1/2 trip price, holds your spot
Hosts:Joe Donsky and Mark Shimazu
Extras: Travel expenses, alcohol, gratuity for guides and caterer.

The Missouri River is arguably one of Montana's best, and most consistent, trout fishery. Some years fish counts can break 6,000 adult fish per mile! It is a great trip for all levels of anglers. Flows are regulated below Holter Dam, so water temperatures are stable and it provides optimum growth for trophy trout.

On our hosted travel to the Missouri we will stay in or near the town of Craig. You will find the lodging clean, updated and very comfortable. We fish from Holter Dam downstream to the town of Cascade, with multiple put-in's and take-out's along the way. The talented staff from Headhunters Fly Shop will be doing the rowing, teaching and guiding you into all the the Missouri River has to offer.

Early season provides a few options for techniques. So expect to see hatches of midge, baetis and a skwala stonefly or two. Pods of trout can be found sipping mayflies in the afternoons, if the wind doesn't kick up. It is a sight to see multiple sixteen to twenty plus inch fish sipping dries just off the banks and seams of the mighty Mo'! (see video below)

Late season, September through October, is a wonderful time to be on the river. Fall mayflies, blue-winged-olives, will be the dominate hatch. Streamer fishing and trout spey are also excellent, as the resident brown trout start their aggressive pre-spawning behavior.

Traveling to the Missouri - Craig is located between Helena and Great Falls on Interstate 15. Drive time from Seattle is roughly 10 hours. Flights in to Helena (HLN) are reasonable and can be booked through Alaska Airlines.

For those who have never been to Craig, it's pretty easy to navigate. Once you get of the interstate, take a right onto Bridge street. You'll see fly shops, a restaurant, a bar, and a law office. That's really about all there is in town!

Please contact us at [email protected] or call 206-362-4030 for more details.


October, 2023 Speaking of 2023, we ended our season with a bang with our annual October to the Missouri River. Simply, fishing was fantastic as was the weather. If you have never fished the “MO” it can be hard to comprehend how good the fishing can be. Rainbow and Brown trout stretching well over the 20" mark is the norm and this year’s largest fish stretched to an impressive 23”. Short leash nymphing was the main tactic of choice but we also had some awesome “hopper” dry fishing as well. Hopper fishing in October? You bet and it was incredible!

One of the best part of trips is getting ready. Flies need to be tied and more importantly equipment needs to be readied and for this Missouri trip I was really looking forward to fishing my new Echo Trout X 590-4 rod. I had heard a lot about this new stick and had casted it but until it hit the water I didn’t know how it would fish. Well after four days of fishing I can say this medium fast rod was fantastic. It threw nymph rigs with indicators, small Pseudocleon dries, large hopper patterns and streamers with ease and had the backbone to turn the largest trout. Come by and give this rod a shot. You won’t be disappointed. I certainly wasn’t!

April, 2016 Montana's Missouri River is without question one of the finest trout rivers in the country if not the world. Swimming in its cool fertile waters are an incredible population of both brown and rainbow trout of impressive size. For the past four years, the Avid Angler has been privileged to host an annual trip or two to this fly fishing factory.

With anticipation in the air this year's group met up in Craig, Montana on April 12 for four days of fishing, great food provided by Sherri, comfortable accommodations and festivities! As usual the fishing was very good with everyone catching their share of beautiful rainbows and browns highlighted by Harry Wunders impressive 21" brown on a #18 BWO. I'd like to say the dry fly fishing was great but despite some of the most incredible BWO hatches I have ever seen the dry game was a challenging one. Also unlike the previous year the Skawla hatch never really got going but we will certainly be looking for it next year. Perhaps the varying weather conditions we experienced (70 degrees one day, snowing and blowing 40 mph the next) played a part in the mixed results but one could easily see the possibilities under the right conditions.

As tough as the dry fly fishing was the nymphing was incredible at times. Fishing sow bugs and small mayfly nymphs resulted in many fine catches for the group with numerous fish pushing and exceeding the magical 20" mark. Our guides Ben, Nick, Beth and Max from the Headhunters fly shop in Craig were top notch. Patient, friendly, creative and knowledgeable they put in long hours which was a big key to our success. Blue Ribbon describes not only the Missouri but the Headhunters guide staff as well.

Lastly, we want to extend our warmest and sincerest thanks to our guests Lee Brown, Doug Hanel, Mike Fann, Ira Smith, Galen Dolstad and Harry Wunders who made our job an easy one with their good will and appreciation of this fine fishery. We hope to see everyone next year and if any of you might be thinking of joining us in 2017 please don't hesitate to give us a call at the shop for details. We would love have you join us. You won't regret it!

October, 2012 This trip was a classic fall trout trip. The weather was factor, which made the dry fly fishing hard to come by, but the streamer fishing was excellent. We threw typical olive and black streamers, along with a variety of silver, gold and copper flashy streamers. The fish were all over them!

We had one day where the wind layed down and the fish came up. The classic pods of Missouri trout were up and feeding big time! We threw standard blue-winged olive patterns, along with emergers and cripples to fool the larger fish. The most notable fish, of the day, was a twenty two inch rainbow taken on a Quigly Cripple.

The guides from Headhunters were hard working and very enjoyable to spend the day with. Lunch was always freshly made and, I assure you, we never had a chance of going hungry.