It has been a very mild winter in Montana this year and as a result there have been some excellent opportunities to get in some early and very productive trips down the Bighorn River. Can you believe days of 60-70 degrees in January and February!! The warm weather and higher than usual winter water temperatures have the native Rainbows and Browns active and hungry. Nymphing has been exceptional at times with some midge dry fly action occasionally available on the warmer days. While the lodge was closed as usual during the winter, our guides reported some great fish days during these frequent warm windows of opportunity. Usually we do not open until April 1st, but since we had some requests in March we did get the operation up and running early this season.
Meet John and Allison from Austin, Texas who just had to give it a try in mid- March. Relatively new to fly fishing, you can tell by the smiles on their faces that their experience was more than they had hoped for. The weather cooperated and our guide Adam Berg got them into some nice rainbows and as you can see.
If you are not already on the books call Cheryl to see what dates may still be available. 406-666-2368 or email us. It is going to be a great year. See you on the Bighorn!!
2016 looks to be another great year for fly fishing on the Bighorn River. The Bureau of Reclamation has already increased the river flows which is rare for this time of year and this hopeful sign can only be good for the river and the health of those beautiful Rainbows and Browns.
Last year’s BWO hatch stretched from late April through May and into early June. The dry fly fishing was outstanding. We are hopeful that we will see these conditions again this Spring.
The Bighorn River Alliance, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to promoting and working to preserve and protect the health of the river, has a new full time executive director. Anne Marie Emery was previously director on the Henry’s Fork and we are very lucky to have someone with her expertise, experience and credentials working for us to help ensure the health and quality of the Bighorn. Her work with the Bureau of Reclamation will be of critical value in managing water flows and fish habitat.
We are also very happy to announce that Shawn Smith our fabulous Chef from two years ago will be returning after a one-year hiatus in Salt Lake City armed with new ideas, menu items and who know what but we are sure it will be outstanding. Welcome back Shawn!!
Okay you are going to love this one. So we have a wonderful client, Howard Hargrove, who has been coming to the Bighorn River Lodge for around 20 years every fall to fish regardless of the weather. He is after big browns ready for the spawn. So this year he brought his son Grant who had never been to the Bighorn. Having just graduated from college this was a present from his father. So here is the deal. Last week, his first trip on the first day, and this was the first fish of the day.
A monster 26” brown. Not bad for a rookie. I told him he might as well pack his bag and go home now cause it’s not gonna get any better than that. You can imagine the heat he had to take over the next three days. Congratulations Grant!
As a reminder the fall fly fishing can be spectacular. I went out last week when the high was 50 and believe it or not there was a BWO hatch. Spotty on the dry flies but we had a great day nymphing with a #18 grey RS2. Just a beautiful day and virtually no one on the river. Keep October and November on your list of OFF SEASON RATE possibilities. We are talking big healthy fish. See you on the river!!!
The Trico’s have been coming on now for a couple of weeks, but this week the hatch was incredible. The hatch has been starting around 6:00 am and if you can get on the river early you will see huge columns of Tricos funneling up from the river with the rising sun silhouetting them in the background. What a sight!
While the hatch has been over by around 10:00, for a couple of days it lasted until noon. There are numerous spots where there will be literally hundreds of fish feeding. Once the spinners hit the water the entire flat is covered with fish heads devouring the spent duns. If you have the right patterns for the duns, emergers, and spinners it is not uncommon to net over 30 fish on dries.
I was fortunate enough to fish with the owner one day last week and we figure we had over 70 fish netted by 12:00. Forget about those we lost. Look at the beautiful 19” Rainbow and Brown we landed as a double.
Here is the good news. I have talked to several guides who think the Trico hatch could last well into October. If you love fishing for dries and can carve out a few days to get here I would highly recommend you try. This is as good as dry fly fishing gets. Give us a call and get an update at any time but as always it is best to strike while the iron is hot. See you on the river!