Fly Fishing Vacations

Missouri River Fly Fishing Vacations

Does not include pre & post-trip lodging, guide & camp staff gratuities, fishing licenses, or alcohol.
Fly Fishing Vacations

Missouri River
Fly Fishing Vacations

Montana Fly Fishing Guides

Montana’s Missouri River is one of the country’s finest blue-ribbon tailwater trout fisheries. Hosting nearly 5,000 trout per mile, the river from Holter Dam to Cascade flows approximately 35 miles through gently rolling hills, vertical canyon walls, and high prairie. Expansive views of Charlie Russell country greet your eyes with every bend - flat top buttes, distant mountains, and grassy foothills dappled with glowing wildflowers. The “Mighty Mo” is treasured by anglers worldwide for its prolific hatches and vigorous wild trout.   

Fishing the Missouri is best from March through early July and again in the fall. Drift sowbugs and mayfly nymphs in nutrient-rich grassy runs, riffles, and graveled buckets. Chuck streamers underneath overhanging willows along riprapped railroad banks. Catch an evening caddis hatch or hunt for heads penetrating the river’s transparent currents, gulping Pale Morning Duns, baetis, or tricos. Drift hoppers tight to undercut banks or twitch crawdads and Zirdles over weed beds during warm summer days. The river’s abundant population of acrobatic rainbows and brawling browns make blistering runs when hooked, averaging 15” to 20”, with big boys far exceeding 20”. 

You will fish runs dubbed the Bull Pen, Trestles, California, Peas & Carrots, Hemingway Flats, Jackson Rock, Marshall Lanes, Cookie Jar, Doll House, Crack Whore, and Grassy Banks. 

For variety, you may take day trips to the nearby Blackfoot and Dearborn Rivers or float through the magnificent Sluice Boxes of Belt Creek. Overnight fly fishing river trips are available on the Dearborn, Marias, Missouri, and Sun Rivers.

Pulling into Craig, you’ll immediately notice this is a bustling fishing town. Drift boats are parked everywhere, and three fly shops are located within a block of each other. Craig’s vibes are among the coolest in the country, with wader-clad and quick-dry garbed anglers walking the streets, loitering in shops, and chatting it up outside of bars. Get some professional advice from the staff at Headhunters Fly Shop and shoot the shit with guides over a beer or whiskey outside of Joe’s Bar.

Before heading out to fish in the morning, grab a quick breakfast sandwich or burrito from the Trout Shop. Or sit down at Shotgun Annie’s in Wolf Creek for a hearty breakfast. Izaak’s in Craig serves fantastic barbeque, steaks, burgers, walleye fish & chips, and more. Izaak’s is the hopping social center of Craig, full of anglers reliving their day’s events and guides rubbing elbows at the bar. Scrumptious dinners are also available at Shotgun Annie’s and Missouri River Bar & Grill. Drive into Cascade for tasty burgers and bar food at the Driftwood Bar & Grill and Angus Bar. Thirty minutes north of Craig, the Beef N Bone Steakhouse in Ulm is famous for its mouthwatering steaks.    

We know all the best places to stay along the Missouri River. Your base camp will be one of the many vacation homes, lodges, cabins, or rooms in Craig, Wolf Creek, or overlooking the banks of the Missouri River. Premium lodging includes Hidden Canyon Lodge, the Lodge at Eagle Rock, and Missouri River Ranch.

Plan on booking several days to experience the best of this fantastic fishery. The Missouri River’s superb fishing, bustling atmosphere, excellent food, and well-appointed lodging assure a memorable Montana fly fishing vacation you will likely turn into an annual tradition.
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Missouri River Guided Fly Fishing Trips
Holter Dam to Cascade
The world-famous section of the Missouri River that anglers are most familiar with bubbles up from the turbines of Holter Dam, built between 1908 and 1918. Holter, and the dams above, hold back spring runoff and filter out turbid waters, creating clear, cool, nutrient-rich waters which support the river’s thriving trout population.

From the dam downstream, past Craig to the Dearborn River, the Missouri River flows through pleasantly undeveloped country comprised of undulating grassy glades mixed with Ponderosa Pines and scrubby brush. During May and June, brilliant shades of spring-green envelope these hillsides sprinkled with vividly glowing arrowleaf balsamroot. The river gently drifts through picturesque country accented with rocky outcrops such as Coburn Mountain. Shallow riffles lead into slow, deep runs where anglers fish “inside-out,” casting flies from drift boats into the river’s seams. Crustaceans such as sowbugs and scuds are staples on the upper river along with midges, PMD and baetis nymphs, and, ahem, worm patterns. Streamers like smaller leech and bugger style patterns stripped slowly or swung through tailouts work well at times. Spey casters frequent the waters of the Missouri and its copious breadth of water, swinging soft hackles and Thin Mints in runs and tailouts. 

The river draws dry fly only or “DFO” anglers from abroad. On slick micro-currents, challenging dry fly fishing conditions require downstream drag-free drifts with long, fine leaders. Prolific hatches of baetis occur in the spring and fall; PMDs, yellow sallies, and caddis in June and July, and tricos in July and August. These blanket hatches trigger wise, discriminating trout to feed upon these tricky currents, frustrating the best of dry fly anglers yet rewarding them in moments of glory.

As the river approaches the Dearborn confluence, it transitions into a canyon stretch for about 10 miles. Canyon walls begin to encroach, and Interstate 90 traces the river for stretches, with cottages and vacation homes lining the river in places. The river makes swooping bends to and fro the interstate, offering respite from the whirring traffic. Sugarloaf Mountain, Eagle Rock, and Mountain Palace stand like sentinels above the river. Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep staddle precariously on overhanging precipices, bald and golden eagles soar thermals, and muskrats paddle shorelines with willow branches in their bucked teeth. Purplish-gray shonkinite cliffs and dikes, brushed with orange lichens, protrude through Ponderosa hillsides overhead. Anglers fish inside runs and riffles, periodic channels, and outside riprapped banks adorn with overhanging willows where hook-jawed browns charge streamers. Recirculating back eddies are stacked with trout sipping crippled mayflies and spent caddis stuck in the foamy meniscus or slurping emergers beneath the surface. Short-leash nymphing is often deadly in these eddies.

The river curves around DeLacy Point, under the Hardy Bridge, the scene of “The Untouchables” movie finale. Flowing past Tower Rock, the river exits the canyon dropping over Half Breed, or, more politically correct, Pine Island Rapids. This swift section more closely resembles a freestone river where caddis patterns and Pat’s Rubberlegs or “Turds with Tails” are productive. Between these “rapids” and Pelican Point, the river surges past the Adel Mountains and rising rimrocked buttes through medium-deep runs with weedy, graveled shelves and pockets. Large browns and rainbows pick off caddis nymphs, PMDs, worms, sowbugs, and crayfish.

From Pelican Point to Cascade, the Missouri twists its way around oxbow bends through prairie grasses, cottonwood groves, and pastoral land. Grassy runs, gravel buckets, and long, calm stretches define this reach. Targeting rising bank feeders with caddis and PMDs is exhilarating. Pods of fish sip tricos on summer mornings or baetis on overcast spring and fall days. Brown drakes emerge on hot, late June evenings, trout slurping these giant mayflies well into the dark. Attractors and hoppers with droppers and terrestrials are productive during the summer months. Streamers provoke hulking browns and rainbows on cloudy days or dimmed morning and fading evening light.  

The Mighty Mo is a vastly diverse fishery with offerings for anglers of all preferences. Contact us to schedule a guided Montana fly fishing trip on the Missouri River.

Required Licenses & Fees
Craig is a small town located midway between Helena and Great Falls, Montana. Check out the annual fundraising Caddis Fly Festival in Craig with its BBQ Cook-Off, vendors, and parade. Non-anglers often enjoy riding along in the back of the boat as you fish, taking in the action, scenery, photographing, reading a book, and relaxing. While you’re fishing, non-angling partners and family may also take scenic day hikes, mountain or road bike, or take a scenic boat tour of the Gates of the Mountains. Rafts and kayaks are available to rent to float the river. Take a scenic drive north along the Rocky Mountain Front to Augusta and Choteau. The annual Augusta Rodeo, one of Montana’s oldest, is worth the drive in late June. 

Guests often plan several extra days exploring the area combined with their fishing trip. Explore Glacier or Yellowstone National Parks’ natural wonders, or take a trip floating through the wild and scenic Upper Missouri Breaks National Monument. 

Forty-five minutes south of Craig is Helena, the capital of Montana. Visit museums, historic districts, and Last Chance Gulch’s restaurants, bars, and shops. Check out local craft beers at Blackfoot River Brewing and Lewis & Clark Brewing. You can also soak at Boulder or Broadwater Hot Springs. Live music, concerts, and festivals occur throughout the year in Helena and Great Falls. 

Great Falls is located 45 minutes north of Craig on the Missouri River. There are plentiful restaurants, bars, and shops. Grab a local beer and burger at Jeremiah Johnson Brewing or Might Mo Brewing. Or enjoy a cocktail at the legendary Sip ‘N Dip Tiki Lounge, watching mermaids swim behind the bar. Yes, mermaids! Check out the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, Charles M. Russell Museum, and Malmstrom Museum & Air Park. Walk miles of trails along the river on the River’s Edge Trail and visit Giant Springs State Park. 

Five formidable waterfalls greeted Lewis & Clark on their upstream journey – Great, Crooked, Rainbow, Colter, and Black Eagle Falls. Today, all are visible except Colter Falls, which Rainbow Dam submerges. From 1890 to 1958, power companies built hydroelectric dams on top of these falls; Great Falls - Ryan Dam, Rainbow Falls - Rainbow Dam, and Black Eagle Falls - Black Eagle Dam. Crooked Falls remains untouched and is the only waterfalls on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers without a dam sitting atop it.

West of Great Falls, hike the interpretive loop at First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park or drive north to visit Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge. East of town is Sluice Boxes State Park, with hiking and scenic views of its spectacular limestone canyon. Northeast of Great Falls on the banks of the Missouri River lies historic Ft. Benton, Montana’s oldest town, founded in 1846. It was the upstream terminus for steamboats chugging up the Missouri from 1860 to 1888, prominent as the “world’s innermost port.” Spend a night and enjoy a gourmet dinner at the historic Grand Union Hotel.

Weddings, Bachelor & Bachelorette Parties 
Celebrate with guided Montana Fly Fishing Trips, Montana Fly Fishing Vacations, and Montana Overnight Fly Fishing River Trips for your guests or as exciting bachelor and bachelorette parties! 

Family Reunions 
Are you planning a family reunion? Let us assist you with accommodations, meals, and arrange guided Montana Fly Fishing Trips or a Montana Overnight Fly Fishing River Trip for the whole family. 

Business & Corporate Meetings 
Are you looking for an attractive location for business meetings? Many accommodations are available with meeting facilities and media for large groups and events. We can help arrange your group’s accommodations, meals, transportation, and plan corporate and business fly fishing retreats.

Montana Fly Fishing Trips are a popular way to entertain important clients and excellent employee and sales rewards.

Medical & Health Care Fly Fishing Retreats
Host continuing education and training events for business, medical, and health care parties, combined with Montana Fly Fishing Vacations.

Team Building & Leadership Fly Fishing Retreats
We partner with a professional facilitator for on-the-water outdoor leadership and team-building events. Why hold these indoors? You can bond with your team on the river on Montana Overnight Fly Fishing River Trips, or Montana Fly Fishing Vacations.
Clubs, Non-Profits & Hosted Trips
Are you a member of a club, a non-profit organization, a women’s group? Let us put together a Montana Fly Fishing Vacation for your group! Involved in a fly shop or fly fishing business? Host a Montana Fly Fishing Trip.
Reserving Your Fly Fishing Vacation 
We recommend booking your Montana fly fishing vacation well in advance to ensure the best guides and accommodations. Guides and accommodations may be hard to reserve on short notice. A 50% deposit is required to finalize your Montana fly fishing vacation reservations. Please read the Terms and Conditions for complete details. 
Arrival & Ground Transportation
Upon your arrival, your guide will pick you up, or ground transfers will take you to your accommodations. You may also choose to rent a vehicle. Having independent transportation allows more flexibility and freedom during your trip.  
Trip Expectations
We recommend arriving the day before your fishing begins. Upon arrival, you may purchase any last-minute provisions and settle into your accommodations. Relax, explore the town and local area, enjoy your favorite beverages and appetizers at a local saloon, and dine at one of the many excellent restaurants. 
Each day, after coffee and a delicious breakfast, you will make final preparations and drive to your fishing destination, where you will enjoy an exciting day of fishing and adventure. Most fishing locations are within an hour of your lodging, though some can be a bit further. Expect to spend six to eight hours on the water fishing, taking in the scenery, watching wildlife and songbirds, photographing, trading jokes, and having a great time. Savory lunches with non-alcoholic beverages are served on the water daily; feel free to bring any alcoholic beverages of your choice.
After a full day of fishing and adventure, return to your comfortable accommodations, perhaps stopping at a favorite watering hole on the way back. Back at your accommodations, clean up with a refreshing shower, relax and enjoy apres fishing. 

Then head out for some local “culture,” sample regional craft beers at a taproom, or spirits at a local distillery. For dinner, sink your teeth into a juicy ribeye steak, grab an elk burger, a healthy salad on the lighter side, or sushi and sake. Wrap the night up with a nightcap and live music before settling in for a rejuvenating night’s rest. 

Rinse and repeat daily as you see fit.  
You may choose to stay at all-inclusive lodges or other accommodations with onsite meals, or you may elect to sample the many local cafes and restaurants. On fly fishing vacations, your guide(s) will accompany you for the duration of the trip, hosting you for meals at our favorite restaurants. Foodservice and beverage gratuities are included in all-inclusive packages. If you prefer to dine on your own, Fishing & Lodging only packages are available; meals and alcoholic beverages are not included. 
Lunch, Snacks & Beverages
Shore lunches, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages are provided each day. 
Alcoholic beverages are included with meals in all-inclusive packages. Expensive wines and alcoholic purchases exceeding $100 per day will be billed to the client. All alcoholic beverages apart from meals are the responsibility of clients.

Since we do not have the proper licenses, we cannot provide alcoholic beverages for you on the water or at other times during the trip, except when purchased from licensed establishments such as restaurants and bars. You may purchase alcohol to bring with you on the water. 
Cell Service & Internet
Many towns and locations in Montana and Wyoming have good cell phone reception. Other locations have spotty reception or no reception at all. Cell service is often spotty while driving due to the mountainous terrain, rolling hills, draws, and river bottoms.

Wireless internet connectivity is available in most locations and accommodations. Some accommodations do not have cell service or internet connectivity. Be sure to notify people of your potential unavailability and take care of all personal and business tasks beforehand. 
Lodging Details
Sleeping Arrangements
Please let us know your lodging preferences for your customized Montana Fly Fishing Vacation. Depending on the location of your trip and availability, we may book the following accommodations for you.  

  • All-Inclusive Lodges or other accommodations with onsite meals
  • Private Vacation Rentals
  • Cabins and Cottages
  • Bed & Breakfasts
  • Secluded Guest Ranches
  • Historic Hotels
*Rates may increase for upgraded premium lodging facilities and services. 

On fly fishing vacations, your guide(s) travel with you for the duration of the trip. You will have private accommodations to yourself, while guides stay in separate accommodations. In some cases, upon your approval, your guide(s) may stay in shared accommodations with separate private rooms and bathrooms. In these instances, reduced rates are possible. 

Recommended Airports
Once you have confirmed your trip with us, you’ll want to make flight reservations as soon as possible. You may fly into Bozeman, Montana (BZN), Helena, Montana (HLN), or Great Falls, Montana (GTF).

Served by Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta, Southwest, United Airlines, and smaller carriers. 

Served by Alaska, Delta, and United Airlines.

Served by Alaska, Allegiant, Delta, and United Airlines.
Ground Transportation
Depending on your itinerary and preferences, your guide(s) may pick you up at the airport or we may arrange private ground transfers between the airport and your accommodations. You may also choose to rent a vehicle for greater flexibility and freedom during your trip. Major car rental companies are available at your arrival airport. We will work with you to finalize transportation details at the time of booking. 

Drive Times To & From Craig, Montana
Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport – 
2 Hours 
Helena Regional Airport – 40 Minutes
Great Falls International Airport – 45 Minutes
Departure Details
Please book departing airline reservations for the day after your trip ends. We may book accommodations with shuttle services to your departing airport, your last night. Ground transfers are also available to the airport if you do not have a rental vehicle. Your guide(s) may also drop you off at the airport, depending on your itinerary.
All-Inclusive Fly Fishing Vacation Rates
3 Nights/2 Days$2,495/person
4 Nights/3 Days $3,195/person
5 Nights/4 Days$3,995/person
6 Nights/5 Days$4,795/person
7 Nights/6 Days$5,595/person
Fishing & Lodging Only Fly Fishing Vacation Rates
3 Nights/2 Days$1,995/person
4 Nights/3 Days$2,495/person
5 Nights/4 Days$2,995/person
6 Nights/5 Days $3,495/person
7 Nights/6 Days$3,995/person
  • Rates based on 2 anglers/guide, double occupancy
  • Contact us for Single Angler Supplement Rates
  • Rates may increase for upgraded premium lodging facilities and services 
  • Additional fees may be charged for private chefs and caterers
  • Fishing & Lodging Only Rates Do Not Include Transportation, Meals or Alcoholic Beverages

Payment Options
A 50% deposit is required to finalize your reservation and is due within 10 days of booking your trip. We will invoice you by email, and upon receiving your invoice, you can choose to pay using the online ACH payment option. This option is a quick and convenient way to pay your trip deposit and finalize your reservation. 

Payment reminders will be sent by email for open invoices with remaining balances due, which can be paid using the ACH option. 

Deposits and final payments can be paid with bank wire transfers, credit cards, or mailing checks payable to Greater Yellowstone Flyfishing Outfitters. A 3.5 % convenience fee is assessed for all credit card transactions. Please contact us if you prefer cash or other payment forms. 

Greater Yellowstone Flyfishing Outfitters Payment Options
  • ACH Online Payments – U.S. financial institutions and bank accounts only
  • Personal & Business Checks* - U.S. financial institutions and bank accounts only
  • Electronic Wire Payments - wiring fees are the responsibility of the client
  • Credit Cards – 3.5% Convenience Fee applied
  • Cash
  • International Payments can be made via wire or with a credit card.
*Client will be billed all associated costs for returned checks. The client will have 7 days to reimburse Greater Yellowstone Flyfishing Outfitters for returned check costs and provide an alternative form of payment; otherwise, trip reservations will be cancelled, and all deposits and payments will be forfeited.  
  • Accommodations
  • Transportation & Airport Pick Up and Drop Off* 
  • All Meals, Snacks, Appetizers & Associated Gratuities**
  • Alcoholic Beverages with Meals**
  • Lunch, Snacks & Non-Alcoholic Beverages on the River**
  • Fishing Guides – 2 Anglers/Guide
  • Flies & Terminal Tackle
  • Rods & Reels – If Needed
  • River Shuttles

Not Included
  • Airline Flights
  • Rental Car (Optional)*
  • Additional lodging and meals beyond your scheduled trip
  • Upgraded Premium Lodging
  • Private Chefs 
  • Catering
  • Fishing Licenses
  • Gratuities for Fishing Guides, Private Ground Transfers
  • Rental Waders & Boots - If Needed
  • Personal Expenses & Incidentals
  • Personal Items – See Gear List PDFs Below
  • Park Entrance Fees

*We may arrange private ground transfers between the airport and your accommodations. You may also choose to rent a vehicle for greater flexibility and freedom during your trip. Transportation not included in Fishing & Lodging Only rates. We will work with you to finalize transportation details at the time of booking. 

**All meals, snacks, appetizers, alcoholic beverages with meals, and associated gratuities are included in all-inclusive packages. Meals, appetizers, and alcoholic beverages are not included in Fishing & Lodging Only packages. Alcoholic beverages are not included on the river, but you may bring your own.
Our guides very hard to ensure an enjoyable trip, and we encourage you to tip accordingly. We suggest an appropriate gratuity from $100-$200/day/guide, although an excellent day of fishing, a memorable event, or extra effort on the guide's behalf may deserve more. Please consider that our guides work harder when fishing is slow or during adverse weather. Cash gratuities should be given directly to your guide daily or upon finishing multi-day trips.

Many variables beyond our control, such as weather, wind, barometric pressure, water temperatures, and fish behavior, influence the day's fishing. While fishing is a highlight of your trip, there are numerous ways to enjoy your fly fishing vacation. Please align your expectations with the conditions and your abilities. No expectations, no disappointments!

Clients frequently invite guides for drinks or dinner after fishing. Socializing is a great way to celebrate the day's events, plan the next day, and connect. While guides always appreciate the client's generosity, buying drinks and dinner are not considered part of or in lieu of gratuities. Socializing extends a guide's long and physically demanding day. Time is required before and after each day's trip for preparing, organizing, and cleaning. 

If you have any comments or concerns about your trip, please let us know.

Trip Insurance
We realize these trips are expensive, and much is at stake financially. For this reason, we highly recommend that you purchase trip insurance in advance. Unforeseen circumstances arise, and travel insurance is very reasonable should you have to cancel your trip for any reason. We recommend Travel Guard Travel Insurance and Global Rescue Insurance to protect your financial investment, which may cover trip cancellations for any reason. For more information or to purchase Trip Insurance, please visit Travel Guard or Global Rescue.
To receive complete coverage options and benefits, be sure to purchase travel insurance within 15 days of paying your deposit.

Medical Evacuation Insurance
We recommend Global Rescue’s worldwide medical evacuation and extraction services if you become ill or injured during your trip or due to natural disaster, COVID-19, and other reasons. Due to the remote nature of many of our trips, potential challenges receiving immediate professional medical help, and limited cell coverage, we highly recommend purchasing medical evacuation insurance along with your trip insurance. 
For more information or to purchase Medical Evacuation Insurance, please visit Global Rescue.
The Sphinx, Madison Range


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