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Missouri River Fly Fishing

 The Ultimate Montana Tailwater Fly Fishing Experience

Missouri River Fly Fishing Trips

Fly fishing the Missouri River with our Montana fly fishing guides is the ultimate Montana tailwater fly fishing experience. The tailwater stretch of the Missouri River below Holter Dam boasts the unique combination of 5000+ trout per mile, thick hatches throughout the season, large pods of rising fish, and all set in one of Montana’s historic river valleys. Simply put: some of the finest fly fishing you will find.

While we offer guided fly fishing on the entire length of the Missouri River from the Missouri River headwaters at Three Forks, MT and down to Cascade, MT; the 40 mile Missouri River tailwater below Holter Dam near Craig, MT is the primary destination for our anglers. This stretch, commonly referred to as ‘the world’s largest spring creek’, is a year-round fishery, that offers true blue ribbon fly fishing.

Craig, MT is the quintessential Montana trout town and our home base on the Missouri River. The river runs right on the edge of town and while there are no stop lights in Craig, anglers will find plenty of fly shops, lodging, and bars: all you really need for a successful Montana fly fishing trip.

Anglers can expect to float an 8-15 mile stretch of river per day on a guided fly fishing trip. The river flows through historic Lewis & Clark country, and anglers can expect amazing scenery to accompany the blue ribbon fly fishing. Fly fishing on the Missouri River is well suited for both seasoned and beginner anglers, offering challenges, learning opportunities, and success for all anglers.

Fly Fishing the Missouri River

The Missouri River is famous for its thick hatches of mayflies, caddisflies, midges, terrestrials, and stoneflies as well as the large pods of rising trout that follow. As a result, the Missouri River offers anglers some of the best dry fly fishing opportunities in Montana, especially for technical sight fishing. Our Missouri River fly fishing trips are dry fly focused, and our Montana fly fishing guides are all experienced professionals that work hard to teach anglers the technique and skills required to effectively fly fish the Missouri River. The Missouri River is the best river in Montana to consistently target trophy-sized trout with dry flies.

While dry fly fishing is the main attraction for our Montana fly fishing guides and anglers, over the course of a full season we employ all tactics to consistently catch trout: nymphing, streamer fishing, and dry fly fishing. The Missouri River fishes well all year-round and is one of the few rivers in Montana that you can fish in the dead of winter with good success. April through November are the best months to fish and anglers can expect solid dry fly fishing opportunities throughout this time. May, June, and early July are primetime on the Missouri River. Many of our Missouri River fly fishing guides are booked over a year in advance during this time, so we strongly recommend booking your trip well ahead of time.

Between the Missouri River’s headwaters at Three Forks and Canyon Ferry Lake, the Missouri River is a classic freestone river. While trout per mile numbers are not as high as the blue ribbon Holter Dam tailwater, this stretch can offer great fly fishing for trophy trout during the Fall and Spring months. Mid-Summer fly fishing for carp can be excellent. Trips to this stretch of the Missouri River can be based out of both Craig, MT and Bozeman, MT. While not ‘blue ribbon’ fly fishing, this can be a great day trip for anglers that enjoy solitude.

Land of Giants

The ‘Land of Giants’ is a short stretch of the Missouri River, upstream of the Holter Dam tailwater, which runs between Hauser Dam and Upper Holter Lake. This stretch of the Missouri River is famous for its fly fishing for trophy trout during the spring and fall months as well as the scenic and historic canyon it runs through: the Gates of the Mountains. The rainbow and brown trout average 19-22” and larger trout are common. Primetime is April-June and September-November. Our guides on this stretch of river are all USCG-licensed captains that operate Jet Boats to access this fishery. Availability is limited and booking in advance is recommended.

Book Your Next Montana Fly Fishing Trip

Plan Your Trip

Prime Season:

May 1-July 15 and September 1-October 31

Notable Hatches:

Mother’s Day Caddis (Mid-May); PMDs (June 1-July 15); Summer Caddis (June 15-July 31); Tricos (July 20-August 31); Hopper-Season (August 1-September 30); BWOs (September 15-October 31)

Nearby Towns:

Craig, MT; Helena, MT; Great Falls, MT

Nearby Rivers:

Blackfoot River, Dearborn River, Jefferson River

Trip Offerings

    What Our Clients Say


    My wife and I had a wonderful experience fishing with Montana Angling Company. Max was able to teach my wife to fly fish from scratch and she caught 5-10 really nice 18-20” fish her first time! He was very patient and knowledgeable. Thank you for such an amazing day! I would highly recommend from beginners to advanced fly fishermen and women.


    - Cooper M.

    What Our Clients Say


    Max is the perfect guide and teacher. My wife and I are newly retired and wanted to try fly fishing for the first time. We learned tons and caught lots of trout float and wade fishing. Can't wait to come back for our sophomore course. Thanks Max and Peter.

    - Cliff B.

    What Our Clients Say


    I've been guided by Max and his guides on the Yellowstone, Madison, and Missouri rivers and have had a blast every time. Their guides are knowledgeable, respectful, and patient--even when I tangle my line. The Montana Angling Co is a great choice whether it's your first time fly fishing or you're a seasoned pro--these guys know where the fish are and what they're hungry for.

    - Maggie O.

    What Our Clients Say


    Max’s professional demeanor, unmatched knowledge of fly fishing, and top rate gear combine to make any guided trip with him a special experience. Regardless of your ability or experience, you will not only catch fish, but you will have an excellent time as well.

    - Josh W.

    What Our Clients Say


    I have fished with guides across the United States and South America, and can say with confidence that Max's patience, passion, and knowledge of fishing are second to none. Whether you are an expert angler or fishing for the first time, Max is the guy you want to have in your boat.

    - Wesley R.

    What Our Clients Say


    We had an awesome experience with Montana Angling Co. Max worked with us to make sure we had the perfect day to go fishing. Our guide was Guy Flynn, and he was great. He was very patient with us and we enjoyed the conversation. He was putting us on fish all day long. Overall, we had a great experience, and I will definitely use Max's company again on our next trip to Montana.

    - Bryan L.

    Don't Wait, Book Your Fly Fishing Trip Today!