Easter on the Missouri

“If fishing is like religion, then fly-fishing is high church.”
– Tom Brokaw

Ok, so we went fly fishing on Easter.

We booked a guided trip (with Brent) through Headhunters Fly Shop in Craig, Montana, the day before, kind of on a whim.

What a good whim it was. It was a little chilly early on, but there was a mild breeze, plenty of sunshine, and very large rainbow trout.

It was a little slow to start, but things really picked up after we stopped for lunch. Our┬ácompliments to the gal packing lunches now for Headhunters. One of the best on-river lunches we’ve had in a long time – home-made fried chicken fingers, broccoli carrot and fruit salad, cut strawberries, and cheesy lemon cake.

But I digress – the fish and the fishing! The Missouri is a wide, slow river where we put in up by Holter Dam. There are those spots where the old saying, “It’s called fishing, not catching” is very apropos.

However, twice, just as I was ready to sit down and take a break during a long, slow drift, I caught a fish. One time I actually said to Ron, “Well, as soon as you start to light it up … woah! I got a fish!”

We’ve learned you fish the Missouri differently than a free-stone river. Our guide called it fishing “inside out.” Instead of throwing to a cut bank or under a bush or tree, most of the time you’re casting to mid-river. We did have some success casting into what Ron calls “diamond water” – areas that ripple slightly and reflect the sun’s glitter.

While most folks we ran into seemed delighted to be outdoors, at one point we could overhear a guy on the boat across from us saying, “I couldn’t look at a strike indicator all day. That’d be so boring. I can’t believe people can do that. It’s so boring. Just looking at a bobber all day. I couldn’t stand it.”

Then suddenly, Wham – my bobber went down! I had a jumper on the end of the line. I laughed and reeled, then laughed and reeled some more, as the judgmental bastard across from us floated on down the river.

Our guide Brent had asked us earlier in the morning, “What do you like? Streamers? Dry flies? Some people are particular.” Ron and I both said, “We like to catch fish.”

We caught about a dozen large rainbows. The biggest were 21 and almost 22 inches! Beautiful, strong, healthy, fish. All in all, a great way to celebrate a Holy Day.


“Some go to church and think about fishing, others go fishing and think about God.”
Tony Blake