The Missouri River is the fourth-largest drainage in the world, and the river’s headquarters is the town of Craig. “We have 38 voters, three fly shops, two bars, one attorney, and 4,500 fish per mile,” says Mark Raisler, co-owner of Headhunters Fly Shop, which keeps a cooler of beer on the porch for customers. Raisler says the average fish in the 25 miles between Holter Dam and Pelican Point is a 17-inch rainbow, although many run over 20 inches. “We have 180,000 insects per square meter,” Raisler says. “It’s a food factory.” All those bugs make for excellent dry fly-fishing, especially in June, when trout rise to caddis, pale morning duns, and ants. The top eight miles of the river offer excellent wade fishing — unlike the slippery boulders in most Western rivers, the Missouri is paved with pea-size gravel. Floating is also effective, especially the 7.5 miles from Holter Dam to Craig. And almost any month of the year will do. “The fishing gets better every day from January 1 to July 4,” Raisler says.
For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!Back to top