Trouting in the snow on the Missouri River Montana

This past Tuesday I sat in the Eugene Airport contemplating the weather. The Willamette Valley was looking at 65-71 degrees, perfect water conditions and steelhead. My destination Helena Montana was looking at snow and temps down to 7 degrees by weeks end. I had to be back in Eugene by Friday night for our Two Fly Tournament, this was going to be a quick trip. Was it a good idea to leave ideal weather and prime time at home? Honestly I almost bagged the Montana trip.

The trip was set up by Simon Gawesworth and John Harter of RIO Fly Lines. A chance for selected dealers to get to know some of RIO’s new products, learn more about the company, fish the Missouri guided on RIO’s dime, discuss the state of the industry, and bounce ideas off each other.

Simon and John are great guys and epitomize passionate anglers running a fly fishing company. They design fly lines for optimal angling performance, and have very specific tolerances in mind when they set out to create a product. RIO  won’t let something get to market unless it’s perfect. RIO’s high tech fly line manufacturing equipment allows for unique tapers and composition to be achieved in every fly line.  RIO has been in business for 20 years now and despite the lagging economy had it’s best year ever in 2009.

Now for the fishing report

Insect life is so prolific on the Missouri that even the whitefish are fat and happy

Simon elated with his catch

Day one it was cold


Fishing was great



Day two was cold and clear but we pounded on them with streamers all day




We did get to use some new gear RIO is introducing for 2010. The new Indicator Fly Line has a 67 foot front taper and is a half line size up, a 5 is a 5.5. The line casts incredible with multiple flies and split shot, mends well, has an orange tip and nice welded loop. It is by far the best line to “huck junk” and bobbers I have ever used.

Outbound Short Coldwater Intermediate. The Outbound short has a 30 foot head and a short sinking tip. The line bombs streamers with little effort.

RIO Trout LT. The Trout Light is an awesome presentation line, but not so delicate that you can’t make a presentation cast at 50-70 feet. The line roll casts great, will cast two medium sized wets, and does great when you need to accurately place small dries. Dual Tone to easily identify the loading point in the line.

Indicator leader. RIO’s Indicator leader is an extruded mono leader built the way you would tie an ultra fast sinking right angle nymph leader, only this leader has no knots. Take a 4x Indicator leader, 10ft in length, RIO’s version has 2 feet of butt and 8 feet of tippet, this leader gets down in a hurry.–CD

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4 Responses to Trouting in the snow on the Missouri River Montana

  1. Cory Dixon says:

    The Mo is one sweet river.

    I just can’t believe Simon isn’t out speycasting on the Clearwater or Snake right now?

  2. Beautiful fish and really amazing scenery. Thanks for the product updates—always fun to hear about a new must have fishing thing.

  3. David Jensen says:

    Thanks, Chris for the report and photos. It brings back memories of 6 days and nights there, same stretch. But clear skies, blazing heat (over 100 several days), but amazing numbers of big browns and bows up top (and on nymphs). I hired a guide there, as I have in other places I couldn’t trailer a a boat to, or have access to a boat. The point is that very few of your readers go to another state to fish, with or without a guide, for planters. Keep up the fight to get ODFW to say no plant at least above the dam, preferably no plant above Hayden Bridge. It will be better for Mother Nature, the fish, and even the guides, though many guides think we are nuts.

    Thanks to you and Matt for starting the public debate.

  4. curt mcchesney says:

    Folks, I have lived in Mt for 57 years and have lived through the era of “we cannot quit planting fish, what will we eat and no one will stay in our hotels and eat in our cafes?”. We have survived quite well and yes the meathooks can still eat a few fish. The fisheries in Mt have never been better since we quit this method of fish production and turned to fisheries management. We have not planted a fish in moving water since 1973 and last Loch Laven (brown trout) was in planted in the Big Ho;e in 1968. I encourage you all to read a excellant book titled “Saving Home Waters”. Great read about a few folks who had the balls to make BIG changes in fisheries in Montana.

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