This past week a Canadian angler drown on the Missouri River while wade fishing. The Missouri in most places seems like a very placid and slow moving river . However the gravel bars and edges of these bars can be very dangerous. Unlike the Big Hole the gravel in this river is much finer which makes it a lot easier to wade, but if you stand right on the edge of one of these bars you can feel the gravel start to sluff off. When I have clients wade fishing on one of these bars I always warn them to stay a few feet from the edge and I keep the boat anchored up stream so if they do get in trouble I can get to them in just a few seconds. The Missouri has numerous under tows, cross currents and back eddy’s and the depth can drop from two feet deep to over twenty feet in a very short distance. On certain corners and points of the river you can see several very small whirl pools. These are places to definitely avoid while wade fishing.
A couple years ago while we were floating down this river and we noticed a pod of feeding fish a couple hundred feet down stream. A wade fisherman also saw them and was desperately trying to get to them before we did. I pulled the boat out to let him have them when I noticed he went off the edge of one of these bars and was in big trouble. Had we not been there he might also have been a victim.
For a safe and enjoyable experience on the Missouri, go with a guide.