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Monday, 02 May 2016 00:00

Excellent Blue Winged Olive Hatch

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The cooler, overcast and rainy weather in the last few weeks have produced some excellent BWO hatches and created some outstanding opportunities for great dry fly action here on the Bighorn River.  The hatch has begun around noon and lasted until around 3:00.  The game plan has been to get in and nymph down river to a typically good dry fly spot and wait for the hatch to come on.  It will generally start with a few rises and increase as the hatch accelearates.  After about thirty minutes the riffles and seams will be alive with heads.  If you are adept at presenting the fly, in it has not been uncommon to have a 20 fish day.  Even some of our novice guests under the excellent instruction of our guides are doing very very well.  The hatch should last as long as the weather does. The typical set up has been to use a lead fly with a larger profile like a smoke jumber, CDC BWO cripple, or enven a Mahogany and trail that with the go to fly which has been a #18 Student or a variety of BWO emerger pattern.  Even with the oncoming warmer weather, any return to cooler, cloudy weather will bring the hatch back.

In the meantime the nymphing remains steady using pink soft hackle sow bugs, pink scuds, or a grey ray charles with a trailing zebra midge or Bighorn Baetis nymph. The snow pack is at 90%, and the lake is at traditional levels with inflows matching outflows from the Bighorn Lake of around 2,600cfs which portends for a good water year and good water conditions for this season.  Nothing like fishing the Bighorn which boasts 5,000-6,000 Rainbow and Brown trout per mile.  Get your gear and come on up.  See you on the river !!

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Wednesday, 20 April 2016 00:00

Bighorn River Dry Fly Action is ON!

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April has brought cooler weather with overcast skies and perfect conditions for both midge and BWO hatches.  Early morning midge hatches have the Brown and Rainbow trout looking up and the best patterns have been smoke jumpers, sipper midges and midge clusters.  As the waters warms up in the afternoon (It needs to reach about 42 degrees) the Baetis hatch has been very good at times with a variety of adult BWO patterns being effective as well as Baetis smoke sumpers and emerger patterns trailed behind a larger flag fly like a Mahogany. Recent rains have contributed to increased snow pack in the mountains and the lake level continues to rise giving us the good water levels we will need this summer.  Nymphing has been steady and pretty productive with pink firebead soft hackle sowbugs, orange scuds, trailed by zebra midges, and baetis nymphs working very well.  Current river conditions and good lake levels portend an excellent season for the Bighorn River and the lodge.  Call Cheryl at the lodge 406-666-2368 and LETS GO FISHING!  Rick

Tuesday, 19 April 2016 00:00

Bighorn River Spring

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The Bighorn River considered by many to be the best trout river in the country and home to a prolific population of beautiful Rainbow and Brown trout is also home to an abundance of spectacular bird and waterfowl residents.  Elegant tuxedo-clad Canadian geese, grey coated doves, velour draped pheasant, green headed mallards, white helmeted bald eagles, huge purple cloaked Blue Heron and my favorite the majestic Sand Hill crane are just some of the entourage that provide some spectacular sights and sounds for the soul.

Spring time heralds the height of activity as each specie reenacts it annual mating and birth cycle.  Each morning mother nature presents her symphony as the participants proclaim their place in the dance of rebirth.  As the eastern skies lighten a few members of the symphony begin to tune up.  First perhaps the soft flute coo of a dove, then maybe a crackle from a pheasant, and soon for sure the Canadian geese begin to stir up what only can be described as the bicycle horn section.  As the first pink and orange rays of the rising sun peak over the eastern hills mother nature taps her conductor’s wand and the symphony begins with earnest rising in tempo and enthusiasm setting the perfect pitch for the day.

As the day moves forward the continuing intermittent music is accompanied by the sights of our four sets of resident pairs of nesting geese coming and going as they leave to feed in nearby fields and return to our five-acre bass pond filling the air with their calls and wheeling in for a close formation landing like a pair of top gun F-18s as the glide in, flaps down for a perfect water landing.  Just off to the right a giant blue heron glides by its huge wing span needing no more than an occasional effort to propel its aerodynamic form effortlessly thought the air on its way to the river bank where it will stand like a statue in the shallows awaiting its unsuspecting breakfast.  Then off in the distance you can hear the deep throated castoneted cackle of the elusive Sand Hills and then there they come, easily eight feet in length with gigantic wing spans, majestic elongated necks and beaks with long trialing spindled legs exchanging their calls and gliding off to who know where. Magnificent.

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The Bighorn River is a wealth of wildlife and we can visit more about that next time, but it’s a beautiful day and there are fly rods to set up, dry fly and nymph patterns to consider, fish to be caught and I’m burning daylight.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016 00:00

Opening Day at the Bighorn River Lodge

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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.

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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!!

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