Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Couple Days On The Missouri River

Last week I spent a couple days in the front of the skiff with John Arnold from Headhunters Fly Shop on the sticks.  I've known the fellows at Headhunters for several years now and greatly respect the fly shop and following that they have built over the years.  John and Mark (along with Julie, Sara, Ninch, and the entire guide staff) have a keen sense of the industry and always know what's going off on the Missouri River.  I was stoked to get to spend a couple of days and nights in Craig hanging out with the Headhunters crew and already looking forward to getting back at some point.

The first day on the Missouri River was tough with a few trout caught but John and I left the river kind of frustrated.  We picked up a couple on nymphs and dry flies but it wasn't the day we expected it to be.  Luckily more of the pieces of the puzzle fell into place on the second day with better conditions (the wind didn't show up until the afternoon) and nymphs working from the start of the day with a few skwalas taking over in the afternoon giving us a better dry fly bite.    

John and I banged around the river for a couple days and here's a few notes from the trip...

- I brought a bunch of fiberglass fly rods with me but ended up spending most of my time fishing the Swift Fly Fishing Epic 686, Graywolf Rods Signature S-Glass 9' five weight, and Orvis Superfine 8' five weight.
- Wind is the great equalizer on the Missouri River.  No wind means easy casts and the possibility of hatches.  High winds can about wreck a day and make casting not a lot of fun.
- The right nymphs, in the right colors and sizes, can make a huge difference on the Missouri River.  Thanks to Ninch and Jared for putting a selection together that worked. 
- I am still very impressed with the Epic 686 and it did everything on this trip from big foam skwala flies, to nymphs, to streamers.  The Epic 686 worked good in the wind which was definitely needed on this trip.
- Orvis Sonic Guide Waders are bomber.  John's been wearing a pair of prototypes for months now and I've spent a few days in mine and both of us are nothing but impressed.  Good fit and durable.  Now, if Orvis can design and manufacture a sturdy, guide worthy, wading boot they'll have the complete package.
- The Craig Trout Camp cabins are a great basecamp while in Craig.  The cabins are clean, priced right, and in the backyard of Headhunters Fly Shop and Izzak's.  
- This was the first trip with the Bozeman Reel RS 527.  I like it.  The matte finish and look might not be for everyone but it performed flawlessly and I didn't have to worry about it getting banged up or scratched in the boat.
- The skwala might not have been around in big numbers but getting a few eats against the rocks and grassy banks was worth fishing a big dry fly instead watching a bobber all day.
- The new Orvis CFO purrs wonderfully and is the perfect compliment to the Superfine Glass fly rods.
- Adipose Flow skiffs are total lux for floating river water.  Lots of room, storage for gear, and extremely stable.
- Craig might not have a lot of options for eats and drinks but Izaak's Restaurant was a great place to end each night with a big dinner and a couple pints.  The brisket and slaw gets high marks.

Here's a mash up of snaps from the two days on the Missouri River from our cameras.  Click images to view larger.

All in all a very good time and I really appreciate John taking the time to hang out and fish me for a couple days.

Headhunters Fly Shop is all over the internet so follow along on the Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, and Instagram to get your Mo fix daily.


Arizona Wanderings said...

That fly box is impressive. Looks like a good time. Thanks for sharing.


Jay said...

Missouri is always a joy to experience.

ratfacedmcdougal said...

I think you're having way too much fun as the AmGlassador. I'm not jealous mind you just very green with envy. Good for you.

Howard said...

I've always wanted to fish the Mo so thanks for taking us along.