The Missouri River begins in the town of Three Forks, which is where the Gallatin River, the Jefferson River and the Madison River come together. The river will go through several dams and river section before it finally emerges into a great trout stream just below Holter Dam. The 30-mile stretch between Holter Dam and Cascade is where all the excitement is. This is the best fly fishing on the entire river.

This stretch of water is cold and perfect for the large population of trout. It is said to contain about 1,000 fish per mile making this portion of the river a very popular stretch. This stretch of river is popular for waders and drift boats, and because of the pressure you will need to bring your “A game” presentation techniques.

There is great access to this river along this stretch which adds to the pressure, but maybe a day off during the week will increase your odds of finding the best spots. Just below this stretch the water warms up and holds the Brown trout. Though not large in quantity, you will find some with great size.

Some of the insects you will see on this river include the Blue Winged Olive, and Pale Morning Dun. At times the PMD hatch can last all day and presentation will be key if you want to land the bigger fish. Hares Ear Nymphs work great along with Pheasant Tails work great as Nymph Flies. Be sure to bring your best grasshopper imitation in July as the fish see a lot of hoppers in this section.

There are several other locations to fish the river since if flows for 700 miles in the state before reaching North Dakota. You will find opportunities around Great Falls and other stretches along hwy 287 and interstate 15 but they will not compare to the stretch from Holter Dam to Cascade. Bring your camera, as this large river will give you great photo opportunities.

On the Eastern part of the state, just below Fort Peck Dam you will find some good trout fishing. The water is cold and the fish are big. You should not find the fishing pressure on this side of the state that is common in the western portion.

River map.

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