Monthly Archives: May 2014

Headhunters Guided Trip on the Missouri River

Missouri River brown trout

Ron with a nice Missouri River brown trout.

Just the facts, ma’am. If you’re old enough, you probably remember Joe Friday on the show Dragnet used to say those words in his distinctive, low, gravelly voice. Great show, and a good way to get some words written about a pretty neat guided fishing trip on the Missouri River last Friday.

The facts are these: High, fast, murky waters – running over 8000 cfs. We floated 16 miles in about nine hours. Put in at Craig, Mont., had lunch at Mid-Canyon, and took out at Prewett Creek (get map here). Caught probably 20 fish – about equal numbers rainbows and browns, with a few white fish for variety. Nymph fished the whole way, though around noon-time we saw lots of bugs on top.

purple articulated nymph

Ron’s purple articulated nymph.

Honorable mentions: Eagles, pelicans, a mink near the bank, a lively crawdad at the take-out. And cliffs, the most beautiful cliffs! Wide slow water. A bit of wind, a bit of rain, clouds and sunshine. Big brown trout with a jutting jaw, caught on a first cast with Ron’s new tiny purple articulated nymph.

The guide: A talkative fellow who told us everything he knows about the river, the fish, casting, writing, marketing, real estate, restaurants, fly tying, birds, cliffs, bugs, giving back to the community, filming of the movie “The Untouchables,” and more. Wow. He said his guides don’t keep anything to themselves. True dat, and thank you!

Headhunters Fly Shop had dontated this trip to the WestSlope Trout Unlimited Chapter. Ron and I purchased it for a little above retail-value, and we had an absolutely glorious day afield, or I should say, ariver.

Most notable: Jumping fish. Yes, on three different occasions, we witnessed a trout sail straight out of the river at a ninety degree angle – for no apparent reason. Talk about laughing out loud. What a unique, silly phenomenon. Our guide said, “They’re teenagers, just playing.” And indeed, a bit of research confirms that seems to be the consensus. The jumping could have something to do with spawning or itchy parasites, but the idea of trout playing in the river … well, that’s just special.

by Ron and Tracy Watt
fishing trip on Friday, May 9, 2014