It’s downtime on the Missouri River. There are still fish out there however, and they will eat flies. The biggest obstacle for the winter angler (no surprise here) is the cold. Fighting ice in rod guides along with numb fingers and toes can be a chore, but hey, you gotta feed the rat. Warm, sunny days trigger midge hatches that bring a few fish up and you can get them to eat a nymph most of the time. Streamers will also produce when fished very, very slowly. Winter holding spots are typically slow and deeper water, often at the end of or beside a faster run. The trout will get very concentrated unlike warmer times when they are spread out much more. Moral of the story: when you find them don’t leave. You’ll want pink lightning bugs and scuds/sowbugs as well as a selection of midge larva imitations. The worm will work too. For streamers, dark buggers and clousers top the list. When they’re up, any cluster-midge pattern will work, just figure out what size the balls of naturals are that day and you’ll have success.

The Four Seasons: