Lewis and Clark County, Craig, Montana, June 19-22, 2008
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Fast water. Big fish. Great action.

We floated different sections of the Missouri River and with each trip Joe and Greg of
Big Sky Anglers used different tactics and flies to bring up trout that were holding outside their normal haunts due to the high, fast water.

Except for a few instances where we fished quiet water with dry flies, we usually used a variety of nymphs and fished them deep. We used 6-weight medium-fast to fast action rods, weight-forward floating lines and leaders anywhere between 9-feet to 14-feet long.

We caught a lot of fish. Not so much because of our skill but that of the guides, who knew the water well and where trout were holding, directing our casts to the correct spots.

Because of the high water we were speeding down river at a pretty decent clip. I was told to toss a cast at a small pocket of quiet water behind a boulder next to the bank. You only get one shot but I managed to hit it and within seconds there was a big brown trout on the end of the line which we took for a ride downstream through the fast water then fought it out in the flats.

WHAT TO BRING: As for clothing and equipment, always consult your guide or a local fly fishing shop if one happens to be in the area. We brought everything from thermal underwear to hot weather shirts because it can be in the 30's at night but 80's by the afternoon (it snowed a week before we arrived). The town of Craig has several fly fishing shops and we hung out at Headhunters Fly Shop which is right next to Izaak's Restaurant (a great place--the Bison burger is killer). We had problems with missing luggage because of a flight delay, however I had all my fishing stuff (including waders) in my carry-on, which consisted of one rolling bag and a rod tube for 4-piece rods (can hold five sticks) with extra clothing packed in. I wore my Korkers wading shoes with the normal walking soles and had the spare felt soles in my bag. I did have to buy another shirt, but the fly shops there are well stocked and everyone needs a souvenir shirt or two. As far as underwear goes, well, let's not discuss that at this point in time.

EQUIPMENT: I brought a 9' 4-weight medium action rod for dry fly fishing, a 9' 5-weight fast action rod for dry fly fishing in heavy wind and as a general use backup, and a 9' 6-weight medium fast rod for general fishing with a Rio Nymph floating line. I also brought a 9' 8-weight with a floating line and a sink tip just in case we had to fish really heavy streamers in deep water but I could have left this one at home. The guides are also well equipped with a full lineup of rods and reels, so you could leave your stuff home and fish their rigs if you like. They use quality material so no worries.

THE GUIDES: Not much to say here except to offer advice which can be applied anywhere you decide to use a guide. They're professionals. They know the territory. Listen to them and the fish will come.