A few days into a great week of fishing on the Missouri River near Craig, MT and camp was pretty much settled in. We’re into our norms – when people get up and shake off the whiskey, PBR, and way more food that you should eat from the night before and start thinking about getting back on the water. That means breakfast, and breakfast means a big meal so that lunch on the river can be the easy one for the day.
Planning meals for a large group, even with a base camp, can be an occupational hazard. Luckily, this group is pretty easy about food – if it’s hot and had at least two legs, it works. I’m a big fan of breakfast, and eggs are good binders for peppers, meat, onions, and cheese. In fact, most breakfast’s were either left over London Broil, Venison smokies or Elk backstraps. Throw in some pig and it’s done. It’s a good thing we brought five dozen eggs, cause the cardboard container they are housed in can get moist in the cooler, and well….the dogs came in handy for clean up.
The fishing was outstanding. Most days consisted of getting on the water around 11 am, and watching hordes of midges take over the surface of the river. There were few boats, mostly we were the only anglers on the water. Over the course of the week, we developed a nice pattern on the lower river, between Stickney and Mountain Palace. Midges, BWO’s, and when it got slow on top, drifting a Fire Bead Czech with a Ray Charles underneath. Now, this particular style of fishing – in the words of a local guide, can be very technical. And it’s true – the fish were in specific spots and depths. Sean McAfee, who guides for Linehan Outfitting Company, knows this river well and shared just enough to get the rest of us in line. Fish the braided water over the weed beds, 8 foot leader, a split shot – well, for those who enjoy sub-surface fishing, this is what works. I prefer to fish dry flies, and the Comparadun in size 18 worked.
Among the basic camping sites along the Missouri, this was the most appealing. Away from Hwy 15, at the terminus of great dry fly water, and wide open. The Fly Fishers Inn, in the background, was once the hub of activity on the MO – prior to the sleepy little town of Craig becoming a Mecca for tailwater fishing in the West. When your home water is blown out, the MO is a sure bet.
I heard that the property is for sale – a little more juice than I have in the pitcher right now, but the location sure is sweet and it’s turn-key. If you want to own it, maybe we can work something out….
It’s quiet on the MO at night – except for here. This apparently is breeding central for Canadian Geese, and the males were competing for cliff-side nesting space, and for females. And we heard about it all day and night long.