Fishing the River
Given the size of the water, the Missouri River can be a little intimidating at first. Our favorite way to fish the river is from a driftboat. It’s easy to row and glides well across the smooth water. We have fished it from a raft, and while that definitely works, we found it harder to get around as the raft makes much more surface contact than a driftboat so it makes it a little hard to row. It’s not as smooth as a fiberglass, hardbottom boat.
For wading, I made mention of the spots and fishing accesses we like to wade. Once the water warms a bit in June, its wet wading for me. The river is big but if you find some soft water just off a current seam that is a conveyor belt of bugs, you’ll find fish to cast to.
We fished Spite Hill to Prewett and Prewett to Pelican Point on this trip. Spite to Prewett is a longer float but very doable, especially in June as daylight lingers toward 10 pm. Prewett to Pelican is a shorter float that should be savored and fish thoroughly. There are islands with fishy braids, gravel bar shelves, and soft water edges that hide deep buckets that fish feed and hide in. And there is one nasty rock, river center, under the highway bridge. Avoid that, and it’s an easy float.
Missouri River Fishing Accesses
HOLTER DAM FISHING ACCESS – This is a very popular place to start a Missouri River float. From the put-in, guides often row clients up to the wire to begin the day of fishing. Fishing is closed from the wire across the river upstream to the dam. Holter Dam access has campsites and is a good option for wade fishing.
River Mile 0.0
BELL PASTURE FISHING ACCESS – I have wade fished from this access successfully several times. It does get boat traffic and foot traffic from boaters who get out and wade, but this is real fishy water. Fishing the braids here is always good. There is no boat launch or campsites as this access.
River Mile 0.8
WOLF CREEK BRIDGE FISHING ACCESS – Here you’ll find a boat launch, campsites, and some wading fishing opportunities. Downstream from the bridge on the Recreation Road, the river comes close to the road. You’ll find turn-outs for more wading opportunities here.
River Mile 2.3
CRAIG FISHING ACCESS – Pretty straight forward – fishing access by the bridge. There are campsites and limited wade fishing opportunities. Cross the bridge to the Recreation Road and head downstream for better wade fishing spots along the road.
River Mile 7.8
STICKNEY CREEK FISHING ACCESS – At this point, the canyon is beginning to get smaller. The road, river, train tracks, and rec road are all pretty close. The rock walls and cliffs along the river are interesting. Have a camera for more than just the trout. At Stickney there’s a boat launch, campsites, and some wading opportunities.
River Mile 11.5
SPITE HILL FISHING ACCESS – Similar to Stickney, Spite Hill has a launch, campsites, and wading opportunities. During spring run-off, you’ll find most of the guides fishing from here up as the Dearborn River can mess up the clarity.
River Mile 12.2
DEARBORN FISHING ACCESS – Here you can access the river for wading and camping. There is no boat launch here but there is a ramp upstream just a bit.
River Mile 14
MID CANYON FISHING ACCESS – I really like Mid Canyon. The campsites are nice, the boat launch is easy, and if the river is not high, there are good wading opportunities here.
River Mile 15.2
MOUNTAIN PALACE FISHING ACCESS – OK, so I don’t know why they call it Mountain Palace. I’m guessing it has to do with the rock formations here. And they are stunning – just see the video we made to go along with this post. This a boat launch. You can wade some here – but it’s limited. Best wading is right at the boat launch and around the small islands.
River Mile 21.2
PREWETT CREEK FISHING ACCESS – Here’s a great launch with nice campsites right on the river. There is limited wade fishing. If you are looking for a half-day float, here to Pelican Point is a good bet.
River Mile 22.4
PELICAN POINT FISHING ACCESS – If you follow us on the ‘Gram or Facebook, you know I love photographing Pelican Point. It’s so lovely here with the rolling hills and flowing water. The rocky canyon has ended and the flat prairie opens before you. The horizon extends to the East and seems limitless. There are 4 really nice campsites here. There is a boat launch, ample parking, and a borrow pond that folks fish and paddleboard on. Wade fishing is very good at the point, upstream and down. While the idyllic spot, there are two drawbacks – howling winds and rattlesnakes. When the Missouri is in high wind mode, there is nothing stopping the punishing winds as they roll off the mountains and scream across the high plains. Spring can be the worst. I can recall trying to open the door to our SUV, pushing with all my might, and then jumping back as the wind slammed the door shut. Yowser! And then there was the day I let the dogs run down the path ahead of me. As I caught up to Pi, I heard the unmistakable rattling – a coiled and rising rattlesnake was looking straight in the eye of my oldest Brit. The dog was frozen with fear, I grabbed him by the collar, and we ran for the car! Just beware. The snake was sunbathing along the river and was probably a bit pissed at my careless dogs running past.
River Mile 25.9
NORTH PARK FISHING ACCESS – Located just north of the small town of Cascade, the town has built a lovely park with a boat launch and picnic tables. Very picturesque. Not a great option for wade fishing.
River Mile 35