Missouri River

Big fish, small flies, fine tippet and prolific hatches sum it up. The "Mighty Mo" is perfect for the dry fly enthusiast and for anglers that want to put their skills to the test.

The Missouri River contains several dams along its journey, making most of the river a tailwater (flowing from a reservoir out through a dam) fishery. Its rich aquatic life allows rainbow and brown trout to become very large in size. We offer drift boat trips below Holter Dam, near Craig Montana, and for the past 15+ years Trout On The Fly, LLC and its select team of U.S Coast licensed captains offer jet boat trips in LAND OF GIANTS (L.O.G.), below Hauser dam, only 20 minutes north of Helena Montana. L.O.G. is mostly a rainbow fishery averaging 18″-22″ in size, a miniature steel-head if you will.

Are you an experienced angler that needs to be challenged? Look no further, this is the place to test your skills – The upper stretch of the Missouri River (the “Mighty Mo”) from Toston, MT to Townsend, MT, has very calm moving water with large spooky rainbow and brown trout, requiring long accurate casts delivered smoothly. To give you an idea of how spooky these fish can be if an angler slaps the water with the line or is dancing the two-step in the boat while casting, the fish are not going to hang around. However, the payoff can be large. Using mostly dry flies, rainbow and brown trout will average 20 plus inches. Did I mention Carp? Yes, the Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio) is a wild species introduced from Eurasia into Montana’s rivers and lakes. Taking a carp on the fly is as challenging, if not more so, than taking a trout. Carp are becoming increasingly sought after with the fly, and for good reason. Most carp in the “Mighty Mo” average 8 pounds and know how to use that weight to their advantage.

If the name “Land of the Giants” does not get you excited, then maybe the chance at a 24″+ trout will! As one of a select few licensed U.S. Coast Guard Captains, Captain Nate Stevane and his team of captains offers a special Jet Boat trip on the Missouri River. The jet boat is set up like a drift boat with oars, anchors and knee locks, and is used to motor up river to areas where you cannot launch a drift boat, and then float back down. The Missouri River is very large, and walk-n-wading from the bank limits your area to fish, not to mention the difficulty of trying to land a “Giant” that runs out into the current. Using the boat we can chase large fish if needed, and bring them to the net. Jet Boat fishing on the Missouri River is best in April and May, mid-October through November. Mostly a rainbow trout fishery averaging 18″-22,” this trip is a must!

Holter Dam to Cascade is considered a Blue Ribbon section, known for incredible Trico hatches from late July to early September. PMD’s, Baetis, caddis and midges are other well-known hatches to keep an eye out for when fishing the “Mighty Mo.” 5x and 6x tippet is not uncommon when trying to match these hatches, and for the extremely wary fish 7x might be needed. Floating in a drift boat is recommended for this section. At Trout On The Fly, we are happy to make recommendations for lodging based on the section of river being fished.

The Conditions at
Missouri River

River Discharge

Hatch Chart

Water Temperatures

  • “Hi Nate! Thanks for following up we me on our recent guided outing with Paul. We had an outstanding time learning from Paul and catching numerous large trout in a remarkable setting. I’d like to commend you (and Paul) for your organization and attention to detail. Your email communications and Paul’s advance call to me covered all the bases and allowed us to show up at the right place, at the right time, prepared with what we needed to head out and get fishing without delay. Lunch was well executed and we thoroughly enjoyed Paul’s experience and company. My 15-yr old son, Declan, has really taken to fishing over the past 3 years, but he had not yet landed a trout on a dry fly. Paul took that to heart and eventually set up my son for targeting rising trout when they started feeding off of the surface. A little coaching and a couple of casts later, he’d hooked, fought and landed his largest trout to-date. It was remarkable! (Photos below.) I expect we will want to treat ourselves to future outings in your magnificent part of the country. When we do, I will be certain to reach out to you to book another guided trip. All the best, Mark (and Declan) Kavanaugh“
    Father & Son Team,
    The Kavanaughs
  • “Good morning Nate, We had the best time ever! Your guide Paul Fawthrop was the best ever. He got us to the right fishing holes to make sure our experience in Montana was spectacular. He gave us an amazing guided tour and informed us of all the history of the lake and rivers. We could not have had a better guide! Thanks again for setting us up with an amazing guide. Travis Woodard“
    Travis and Mark,
    Anglers from California
  • “Jeff Johnson was extremely professional, knowledgeable, and patient.  Even though the activity was slow, he kept our lines in the water and kept changing flies to find something the fish would bite.  He had a positive attitude throughout, offering instruction and encouragement all day. I especially appreciate your flexibility in allowing me to add an angler at the last minute. Thanks again.  I hope to be back someday.“
    David Spears,
    Virginia Angler
  • “Thank you for another wonderful year of fishing the Madison and Missouri Rivers. We have had experience to know how exceptional you are as a guide. No one is as good as you!“
    Janis and Joe,
    Return customers from Florida
  • “Dillon and I had a great time fishing with you and we both think our game was improved thanks to your patience. Absolutely beautiful country and great waters to indulge in. We could spend weeks… We’ll help spread the word about TOTF, but hope you don’t get too popular so we can do it again.“
    David and Dillon Cook,
    Dallas Texas anglers