The Missouri River was always there in the background as I grew up in the suburbs of Kansas City. Here in Montana the river has been a constant in the foreground. Most weekends Mark and I would be found just outside of Helena below the Hauser dam fishing for giants. Most of the largest trout I have caught out here were caught below that dam in the stretch above Beaver Creek. There was always the thought in the back of my mind that if I floated downstream far enough I would eventually end up back home in Kansas City. Mark could just call my mom and have her drive over to KCK and pick me up.
I headed out of Helena and drove North up to Craig Montana. My timing was perfect, the Caddis hatch that usually arrives around Mother's Day had come a little early this year. This time of year had always been a busy time of year at the museum so I had never been able to be up here for this remarkable event. There are swarms of these bugs so thick that the banks of the river become swallowed by clouds and they crawl all over you and get in your ears and up your nose. It sounds horrible but the discomfort is well worth it when the trout are rising and feasting on these bugs. For me there is no greater joy than casting to rising fish for hours on end, up here in Craig it's even better. The fish that are rising are rainbows and browns that average 18 to 20 inches. The lure of Montana is still strong, I guess I wasn't in a big hurry to leave the state but being out of Helena has done wonderful things for me. Standing waist deep in the Missouri for a couple of weeks now has deepened my appreciation for this amazing river that Lewis and Clark followed. I hope they liked to fish too. The river has suggested that I follow it home, I know my mom would like that too.
May 10, 2016 Craig Montana