May 31, 2015

RIO Fishing Trip - Missouri River, Montana

The Guys at Rio Fly Lines invited several guys up to Craig, Montana for three days of incredible Missouri River Trout fishing.
Montana Sunrise
Sunrise in the eastern sky lights the way to a most memorable trip. A trip that would include new experiences, new friends, beautiful landscape and Trout! Lots of Trout; Big Browns, Big Rainbows slamming streamers and sipping Baetis all day until darkness pulls the shade and leads to the tribute paid for the lifelong memories in the making!
Sasquatch? No! Just me trying to keep up with Simon
We arrived at the Helena, Montana airport on Thursday around noon. Collected our gear and headed on our way to Craig, Montana. Craig is only about 30-40 minutes from Helena airport. Immediately after unloading Simon asked "who wants to go wet a line?" So we grabbed our gear and took off down the dirt road and found a pull off. A short distance trek and we were in the water wetting our lines. Fish were rising everywhere! Simon eased into position for a quality cast and laid out a presentation this rainbow couldn't resist.

The hatch is on!
Even at this angle the smile on Simon’s face is quite identifiable. Not sure if it is due to being the first hookup of the trip or the sound of a Sage Click reel screaming its way to the backing on a beautiful 20 inch Rainbow!
First of many!
Day one greeted us with blue skies and sunshine and just a touch of morning fog. Immediately after launch we started the day chuckin’ Streamers. Blue skies made fishing a bit slow but still managed to get several grabs and land a couple chunkies. Later that day the Callibaetis started hatching and we started seeing heads rising. Wasn't long and we started hooking fish on dry flies and the bite carried on the rest of the day.

Mark Raisler of Headhunters Fly Shop guided Aaron Stiny (Rio) and me on day one. The only rules I heard mentioned went like this…
…And release fish of course!
Aaron Stiny (Rio) and Mark Raisler(Headhunters Fly Shop)

The Missouri is an amazing river. It’s loaded with fish and the Montana scenery is breathtaking, wildlife of all types make their living here. I watched everything from eagles soaring to deer getting a drink at water’s edge.
Accommodations was this cool lodge called Lookout Lodge operated by It has a great view overlooking the river with river access also. You can rent the top or the bottom separately or rent the whole thing for larger parties. Its situated a couple miles from town down a dirt road with very little traffic.                                                              
Day two is Streamer Time! Sage One 691-4

The Sage One really is a sweet rod and handles average size streamers with ease. The Sage Method was my rod of choice for all day Rio StreamerTip line casting of the larger breed of streamers.

Large Streamers caught some large fish as seen here…
Day Two
This Beauty came on day two brought to hand by Steve Dally of Dally’s Ozark Fly Fisher. Steve Operates on the White River, AR… big Brown Trout waters. I hope to catch up with him soon for some of that Streamer action.

Scotch and Streamers

Rio Perception Fly line 

The line of choice for all the dry fly fishing. It floats high on the water for excellent drag free drifts and the long range hook sets are positive and secure due to the ConnectCore technology. I also want to note how well this line cast on a variety of rods. It loads great, shoots great and presents flawlessly. Without any doubt this is my new “go to” favorite dry line.

Clear and chilly = Extreme Headwear
Mike Kuhnert of Evolution Fly Fishing guiding John Harder (RIO R&D Manager) and Leo Siren of Fish First out of the bay area. It was a clear blue sky chilly day and I was a bit envious of Leo’s Simms Gore-Tex Extream Hat he was sportin’.

Bobo came on a Fish Skull Skulpin Bunny with a Sage Method 691-4 equipped with a Rio Streamertip Cleartip fly line.
Secret Sauce
Mike Schultz of Schultz Outfitters in Ypsilanti, Michigan has my attention with his knowledge of Streamer fishing. We also share the Steelhead affliction and swinging flies with two hands rods. Mike guides Steelhead Alley in the Midwest, the very place I connected with my first Steelhead which changed my view of fly fishing forever.
Mike and Steve putting together a game plan for the day.
Sage One 4116 Switch test swing
Simon brought his Sage One 4116 switch rod and I had to give it a swing. Equipped with a Scandi Short VersiTip using the intermediate tip and a tandem rig of soft hackles I managed to swing up my first Brown Trout. I went on to swing up several more Rainbows that day. I think swinging for Trout is becoming a new passion for me. I felt connected to this rod and could really feel the fly. As Simon put it “The tug is the drug” and he couldn't be more right! I've since added to my arsenal my own 4116 and plan on putting it to use on my Southwest home waters of the San Juan and Rio Grande rivers as well as the Northwest waters of the Deschutes River Redsides come next spring. Call it my homework for the winter. Stay tuned for updates on what I find.
Montana Sunset
Our trip ends with a fire in the sky shot as we round the last bend before the takeout. Not a minute was wasted as darkness overtook the light. We loaded boats in the dark and headed back to Craig, Montana. We celebrated our trip with a barley toast at the corner bar and relived our favorite moments of the past three days. Back to the lodge for incredible feast presented to us by Sherri Walls of Canyon Cooking Catering. Special thank you goes out to Sherri for keeping all of us healthy and well-nourished for our stay.

I’ll finish this up with this, There is something magical about a group that comes together all sharing the same passion for the sport. I have experienced it a few times before and can’t explain what it is but I can say that it is very real and I witnessed it again on this trip. All of us came from different areas and a couple even born and raised abroad but the bond of the sport ties us all together with a sense of total unselfish passion to teach and share the sport that has hooked us for life.
Thank you,