The Missouri is big, flat, water with the typical tailwater hatches and fish behavior. With one of the highest fish per mile counts of area rivers, this is a great place to either float or wade while concentrating on smaller chunks of river. It’s one of our ace in the hole rivers during runoff periods west of the divide since the tailwater aspect tends to keep flows clear and predictable. While there is a ton of floatable Missouri, most of the drifting and wading done by anglers based in Missoula is around the Wolf Creek and Craig areas. From Holter Dam all the way down to Pelican Point is pretty self explanatory and uneventful water in terms of floating. There is one section of rapids between Prewett Creek (just after in fact) and Pelican point that is the worst you’ll encounter. The most popular floats are farther upstream, however, and usually consist of a drift from Holter Dam to Craig, or from Craig down to Mid-Canon. The launches are very tame and easy and the water character lends itself to driftboats. There are places to stay in both Wolf Creek and Craig.
1)Holter Dam to Wolf Creek Bridge: A very short float, 2 miles, but sometimes that’s all you need for more than a day’s fishing. You can extend that drift to 7 miles by going all the way down to Craig. There will be several channel slits on this float, all of which are floatable options. Map
2)Craig to Mid-Canon: This float is about 8 miles long with nice access points on each end. If you’re doing this stretch, stay river left when you come out of the islands just above Mid-Cannon so you don’t miss the takeout trying to row all the way across the river from the right side. Map
Major Hatches: Midges, capnias, PMD’s, hoppers, caddis, tricos, blue wing