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6,000 World Class Trout Per Mile Is Just the Beginning

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PHOTO COURTESY OF MISSOURI RIVER RANCH

Missouri River Ranch provides an all-inclusive angling experience like no other

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By Brooke Constance White

CRAIG, MT – Missouri River Ranch, Montana’s premiere fly-fishing lodge located in Craig, is a remarkable experience from start to finish. With 1.4 miles of frontage on the Missouri River with 6,000 Trout per mile, world-class fishing guides, well-appointed accommodations and an exquisite all-inclusive culinary experience, it’s really a dream come true for anglers and non-anglers of all abilities. 

Being both remote but also easily accessible and less than 50 minutes from the Great Falls and Helena airports, two hours from the Bozeman and Missoula airports, the 13-guest room ranch offers modern comforts, historic charm, and a truly authentic Montana experience. Renovated in 2020, the century-old ranch sits on 160-acres located just upstream from Craig, Montana. With private decks overlooking the mountains and Adirondack chairs facing the river and night sky, there are plenty of places to take in the natural beauty that surrounds the property. 

PHOTO COURTESY OF MISSOURI RIVER RANCH

Now for the most important part–the fishing! With approximately 6,000 Trout per mile, the Missouri River is one of the best spots for Trout fishing in the World. Lifelong angler and a long-time ranch guest, Stu Apte, said the fishing just outside the lodge is truly outstanding and keeps him coming back year after year.

“Plenty of fish to be caught there, I’ll tell you that,” he said, adding that his fondest memories are trading stories and fly fishing tips with other guests at the ranch. “Everybody who goes to the Missouri River Ranch always goes back. I’ve always got a full boat of people going back–that ought to tell you something about how outstanding the whole stay is.”

Jake Shelton, general manager for the lodge, confirmed Apte’s sentiments saying that their guests have such great experiences that the majority rebook for the next year on their last night at the lodge. 

“Whether it’s being greeted by name with their favorite drink in hand, or creating a special event for their non-angling partner, we strive to make indelible memories for our guests,” says Shelton.“From the first handshake to their last cast, we aim to exceed all expectations of their stay. The natural beauty of the ranch and world-class fishing of the Missouri sells itself. What brings our guests back year after year is the exceptional experience and genuine service they receive from our staff.”

Aside from newly updated guestrooms with luxury mattresses, gorgeous tiled bathrooms, high-speed internet, and plenty of space to store gear, the lodge has a Great Room that is perfect for unwinding after a long day. The vaulted barnwood ceiling features many of the original rough-sawn rafter beams, and the refurbished wide plank flooring is all original, creating an air of rustic elegance. Guests are invited to pull up a seat at the bar or relax by the fireplace with appetizers and handcrafted cocktails.    

Offering stunning views of the ranch, river, and distant mountains, guests enjoy hearty seasonal fare and an extensive wine list and curated collection of liquor in the lodge’s spacious dining room giving them the sustenance they need before and after a long day on the water.

Apte also noted that one great aspect of the lodge is that the guides work to make angling accessible to everyone. 

“They will teach anyone how to fish and offer helpful tips and tricks no matter your abilities,” Apte says. “They also furnish you with everything you need for a successful day on the water: fly rods, lines, leaders, flies, the whole nine yards.”

Although fishing is the focal point of a guest’s time at the lodge, the outstanding staff works hard to make sure that guests enjoy their time at the lodge in the mornings and evenings. 

“Our guests are on the river eight hours a day, where exceptional angling is the focus,” says Shelton. “The time on the ranch is the beautiful bookends that wrap up an incredible experience whether it’s at happy hour swapping fishing stories, at the dinner table laughing with friends, fishing the property at dusk, or passing the night away stargazing. From start to finish, we provide an awesome angling and guest experience unlike any other.”

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