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Tuesday, 08 August 2017 00:00

Bighorn River Fishing Report

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                                          BIGHORN RIVER FISHING REPORT

Water Flows:  As of today the water is running at 4,000CFS. Only a couple of weeks ago we were at 9,000.  The Bureau of Reclamation who controls the water releases from Yellowtail Dam have been dropping the flows at a 500 cfs clip almost daily for more than a week. I would expect that we may see some further reductions this coming week. The good news is that with these lower flows more wade spots are now available and fish should move into some riffles for the more oxygenated water. 
 Water Temperatures: The water temperature yesterday at 3-mile was 62 degrees which is a bit confusing given the fact that with these lower releases all the water from the dam is coming through the turbines and off the bottom of the lake where the water is the coldest.  Hopefully we will soon see the water temps back in the higher 50's which is better for the fish.
 Fishing: The bite is definitely back on as of this past week.  During those two weeks of daily flow changes the fish were confused and fishing was challenging,  But this last week they seem to have gotten their bearings.  Our clients are having 20 fish days with the occasional 20 inch Rainbow or Brown. I was out two days ago with one of our guides Ron Ford and I had a 25 fish day with a nice fat 18" Rainbow to cap off the afternoon. . 
  • Dry Fly Fishing: Dry fly fishing has dropped off considerably with the end of the Trico hatch. Some fish can be found taking midges and the occasional Black Caddis, but these are one or two fish with very sporadic activity and the pod action on significant hatches is pretty much over for the time being. 
  • Nymph Fishing:  The Nymph fishing has been excellent the last week and should continue. After a week or two of constant changing water flows the fish seemed to have regained their bearing and focus on eating.  20+ fish days are common. Grass growth is an issues so having a good guide that knows where the clear lanes and spots are as well as what kind of set up to use is critical.  
  • Streamer Fishing: Streamer fishing has been hot and cold. We had one guides who said he turned 50 + fish one day and then couldn't get their attention the next.  Cloud cover and the hot patterns are the key to success.
Fly Patterns
  • Dries: #18,20 Sipper Midge,#18,20 Midge Cluster, #18 CDC Black Caddis, #18 Black Hemingway Caddis, #14 Mahogany trailed with a #18 quil nymph or Black Tunk Teaser.
  • Nymphs: #16,18 Pink Soft Hackle Sow Bug, #16,18 Tan or Grey Soft Hackle Ray, #16,18 Orange or Pink Scud, # 16,18 Flashback PT, #18,20 Sunken Trico,  #16 Chenille San Juan Worm in wine or two tone wine/brown, #4,6,8 Red Wire Worm.
  • Streamers: # 6 Emerald Shiner, #4,6 White or Cream Wooly Bugger, #8 Black Squirrel Leech, #6 Thin Mint Wolly Bugger, #4 Grey Zonkeo, #4,6 Bighorn Wooly Bugger (yellow/brown)
Saturday, 22 July 2017 00:00

Bighorn River Fishing Report

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River flow is now at 9,000 cfs with expectations that further reductions will be coming again this week. At this level of release about half of the water is coming over the dam spillway from the top of the lake thus producing the higher river temps. We expcect river releases to begin to come down this week.  Once we can get down to around 7,000 all the water from the dam will be coming from the bottom of the lake which hopefully bring the water temps back into the high 50's.  This should encourage more activity from the fish which are fairly subdued right now due to the higher water temps.

High water temps have made nymph fishing tough in the last few weeks but that improved significantly yesterday for our clients in the lodge.  Several had a 20 fish day. Without a doubt having a good guide is critical under these conditions. 

Dry fly fishing for Tricos in the very early morning with spinners and BlackCaddis in the late afternoon and early evening has been very good.

Nymphing can be good as well but in selective spots.  The fish are sitting in deeper holes where the window of opportunity is short when fishing from the boat.  Again having a guide who know where these select spots are is criticacl. Still it can be good if you know where and how to fish these spots. 

Streamer fishing is still pretty productive.  All that water coming over the spillway continues to dump lake shinners into the river.  Casting to the bank with an off white clouser style fly is working quite well on the upper three mile section.

Fly Patterns                                                                                              

Nymphing:  #14,16 Soft Hackle Grey or Tan Ray, #18 Black Caddis or Sparkle Pupa, #18,20 Drowned Trico, #16,18 Flashback Pheasant Tail, #12,14,16 Orange Scud, # 14 Soft Hackle Pins Sowbug, #18 Black Zebra Midge or Tung Teaser, #18 Quill Nymph, #6 Red Wire Worm, #18 Wine or Brown Chinneal San Juan Worm.

Dry Fly: Lead fly #14 Mahogany, Second Fly #18 CDC Black Caddis # 20, 22 Trico Spinner

Streamers: #6 White or off white Clouser, #6 Emerald Shinner, #4 Grey Zonker, #6 Thin Mint Wolly, #4,6 White or Grey Wolley Bugger

Tuesday, 11 July 2017 00:00

Bighorn River Lodge Fishing Report

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The river flow is running at 9500 with a water temp of 63 degrees at the three mile access.  Higher water temps are a result of the Bighorn Lake top water coming over the spillway at these higher lake discharges.  This higher water temperature is producing some Trico hatches in the morning as well as Black Caddis hatches in the late afternoon and evening on the upper three- mile section of the river.  Can’t remember when we have ever seen Tricos this early in the season. The Trico hatch should continue to improve as long as the water temperature stays warm.  It remains to be seen what the water temps will do once the lake discharges drop as the summer progresses.

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Dry Fly

  • For Tricos I would recommend a set-up using a #14 Mahogany as a lead fly (Almost a third of the fish are actually taking the Mahogany!) and a trail fly in #20 Trico spinner.
  • For Caddis a number #18 CDC or Elk Hair Black Caddis or/and a #18 Hemingway Caddis.

The high water flows this year should have scoured out the river bottom setting up great conditions for PMD and Yellow Sally hatches. We are beginning to see some already but the fish are keyed in on Tricos and Black Caddis at the moment.  Stay tuned.

Nymping

Nymphing has been fair lately using the following patterns:

  • #16, #18 SH Grey Ray
  • #14, #12 Orange Scud
  • #18 Black Caddis Pupa
  • #16, #18 Olive Flashback Pheasant Tail
  • #18 Black Tung Teaser
  • #18 Quill Nymph
  • #4 San Juan Red Wire or two-tone Wine Chanile Worm.

Streamers

With so much water coming over the dam spillway a large number of shiners are washing over from the lake into the water.  The fish have been going crazy gorging on this bait food.  So, top drifting of twitching a white clouser-like pattern just under the surface along the banks has been extremely effective and the takes can be explosive.  Try these patterns:

  • #6 Emerald Shiner
  • #4, #6 White or Cream Wolly Bugger
  • #6 Thin Mint Wolly Bugger
  • #8 Squirrel Leach
  • #4 Grey Zonker
Monday, 23 January 2017 00:00

Bighorn River Lodge Cast and Blast

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Cast and Blast

Cast and Blast is a term that many people Hear  out there. What is the Cast and Blast? The cast and blast is combining a great day of wing shooting along with great trout fishing. The Bighorn river is a world class trout fishery, home to wild rainbow and brown trout. So, there is nowhere else you can find the combination of such prolific fishing and waterfowl hunting in one location. The day starts with a morning of calling in ducks and geese into your decoy spread. After a great hunt, we fish our way down the river catching fish and the day comes to and end when we hit the Bighorn River Lodge boat ramp.

Waterfowl

The waterfowl season is coming to a close for 2016-2017 and with this brings an awesome amount of duck and geese into the Bighorn River Valley. The valley is an enormous agricultural valley combined this with the fact that the Bighorn River never freezes up, is a recipe for world class waterfowl hunting.

The waterfowl season runs from early October until the middle of January. Fishing season is open year-round. Early season hunting can be a little slower due to the warmer temperatures, but this does give you more comfortable fishing conditions. The time of the season to get the best waterfowl hunting is between November and January.

Some gear you will need for the Cast and Blast:

  • Waders: breathable waders will work early season but neoprene is better for late season
  • Shot gun: 12 gauge is preferred
  • Shells: 3 inches 3 shot covers everything. I prefer Kent fast steel
  • Warm clothes: gloves, hat, insulating layers
  • Came Jacket: tan and brown colored waterfowl came
  • Fly Rod and Reel: 9ft.5wt.or 6wt.rod
  • Fishing and hunting license:


The guides at the Bighorn River Lodge will provide the rest of the gear: Decoys, calls, dogs, lunch, flies.

Duckimage003s

We see many species of ducks on the river, but what excites most hunters is the mallard. The drake mallard is easy to identify, with its large green head, he is hard to mistake for any other duck. Throughout the day, you will see large groups of mallards working back and forth between the grain fields and the river. Widgeon, and many species of diving ducks are also numerous flying around the river.  We do most of our hunting on the river hiding in pre-built blinds located up and down the river. It is hard to beat having a cup of hot coffee, sitting in the blind and watching the ducks work the decoys as the sun is coming up.

Geese

As the temperatures drop in December and into January thousands of Canadian Geese descend upon the Bighorn Valley to take advantage of the open water and plentiful food in the nearby fields.  Calling in these majestic birds is a sound that really gets the blood flowing and of course nothing beats watching the dogs brave the moving frigid waters on a retrieve of a bird that weighs as much as they do.  And they live for that moment.

image005If you are new to waterfowl hunting, wanting to learn, or have been doing it for years, treat yourself to an unbelievable experience and come hunt and fish with us at the Bighorn River Lodge. Call Cheryl at the lodge 406-666-2368 and make your reservation for nest winter. 

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