September, October and November offer some of the best fly fishing of the year here on the Bighorn River. The waters cool down, the Fall colors are spectacular and the summer crowds have gone.
September dry fly fishing can be sensational once the Baetis and Trico hatches return during this month. Cooler weather and some Fall cloud cover create the perfect conditions for these hatches. If the Spring Baetis hatch and the recent Trico hatches are any indications, the Fall hatches should be prolific.
October ushers in the beginning of streamer fishing especially for the aggressive big Brown trout. Both the rainbows and browns are getting ready for Winter and the bite can be really, really good.
November means the Brown trout will be spawning and with the cooler weather the aggressive behavior of both the Rainbows and Browns makes for some electric fly fishing experiences whether you are nymphing or stalking feeding fish on dries.
Favorite Time of Year
This is my favorite time of the year here at the lodge as the Fall colors, cooler weather, and aggressive fish produce some of the best fishing to be had on the Bighorn River. If you haven’t fished here during these months I urge you to do so. Especially since our OFF SEASON RATES BEGIN IN OCTOBER. So get out your calendar, call Cheryl in the office at 406-666-2368, and come experience fall at the Bighorn River Lodge and the superb Fall fishing on the Bighorn River.
Fishing on the Bighorn remains good. We have had some great trico hatches and the caddis are not far behind. As we head into fall we are looking forward to some great streamer fishing as well. With the season entering its final months we would like to pass along some information.
Please note the following:
- Last October produced some of the best fishing of the year so check our OFF SEASON RATES which begin October 1st.
- The facilities at the lodge will be closed as of Dec. 8th and reopen on April 1st of 2016.
- The office however will remain open throughout the winter in order to accept reservations for the coming season and to answer any questions you may have.
- With that in mind we urge everyone returning next year or anyone who is considering coming for the first time to BOOK EARLY!
- This ensures that you will secure the dates that you want and that we can book our superb guides as soon as possible. If you have a request for a certain guide this is the best way to make sure we can grant your request.
As a point of information all guides are independent contractors and they take the first booking requests they get from wherever that inquiry comes from. So again by booking early we are able to get our requests into them as early as possible which helps us book the best guides possible.
It has been a great year so far and next year should be just as good so get your plans started and remember to BOOK EARLY!
Contact us by calling the office at 406-666-2368 or emailing us.
Here at the Bighorn River Lodge we try to keep it pretty simple for our guests. Perhaps we should change it to Fish Eat Sleep because that pretty much describes the day’s activities. The fishing remains outstanding and the size of both Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout has increased significantly. River flow is at 4,300cfs which is entering the perfect flow levels of between 3,000 and 4500. Wading spots are now opening up and the fish are showing up in the riffles and edges of shelves as the bug hatches begin to come on strong. The water temps have moved up into the low fifties which is perfect for the anticipated excellent summer dry fly season. PMDs, Yellow Sallies and some Black Caddis are starting to show up and it won’t be long before we should have some great dry fly fishing. While the fish are currently keyed on worms and sow bugs with a #6 Orange wire worm and a #18 tan soft hackle sow bug being the hot combination right now, they are also beginning to take Tungsten Yellow Sallies, Split Case PMDs, Tungsten Teasers, and Olive Sparkle Pupas.The Bighorn River is continuing to live up to its reputation as the best trout river in the US if not the world.
We could not be more excited about our new Chef this year. Ty Hess went to culinary school in Charleston, South Carolina and continued to develop his skills in some of the best restaurants in Washington, D.C and Salt Lake City. Using his background in Low Country cooking Chef Hess has introduced some wonderful Southern style flavors and flair to the menu. Using fresh produce from the lodge’s own sustainable garden and relying on local game and fish as much as possible, Chef Hess is creating dishes that are fresh, clean and simple but with a fusion of flavors that are anything but simple. Put that together with his incredible presentation of each item and you will know why we are getting outstanding reviews and comments for all of our guests who come from all over the country and will tell you that the cuisine at the lodge is a good as any restaurant they can remember. Here is one example of a nightly fare at the lodge.
Hop cured trout with grated hard-boiled egg, caper berries, pickled vegetables, garlic citrus roasted olives, and house made Lavosh crackers. A wonderful array of ingredients and flavors to be enjoyed in the comfort of the lodge’s great room or out on the deck overlooking our 5 acre bass pond with the setting sun painting the distant hills in hues of late afternoon.
Chilled pea vichyssoise with garden radish, crème fraiche, and rye crumble. A delicious light cool course, perfect on those hot summer evenings. It tastes even better than it looks at presentation.
Sweet tea brined Boar tenderloin with crispy citrus brussel sprouts, carrot puree, and Nasturtium flower.Chef Hess using some Low Country influence in the sweet tea brine substitutes the standard pork loin for a beautifully grilled and simply delicious Boar loin balanced with just the right flavors of the citrus in the sautéed brussel sprouts, and the soft creaminess of the carrot puree. Beautiful combinations.
Berry biscuit “short cake”.Balsamic macerated berries, buttermilk sweet biscuit, crème anglaise, and Chantilly cream. The sweet buttermilk biscuit is as light as a feather and the berries complimented by the crème anglaise and Chantilly cream produces a perfect light summer finish to a sensational meal.
Still time for an after dinner beverage and perhaps a cigar out on the deck or a game of poker at the table in the great room exchanging your exploits of the day with friends. For the diehard fisherman perhaps some great bass fishing on the pond before retiring to the comfort of your well-appointed room and a well-earned and welcome night’s sleep after a full day of great fishing, a sumptuous meal and some great conversation.
So you see all you have to do is come for a visit and Fish, Eat, and Sleep in a world class lodge on a world class river. Leave the outside world behind for a few days. You will never forget the experience.
What Worked Best?
At the end of every fishing day here at the Bighorn River Lodge the guides and clients gather on the deck overlooking the bass pond and discuss the day’s activities. Invariably they talk about which flies worked the best. It is always interesting to hear what fished well at certain points on the river and what time of day it was. Because as we all know there is a multitude of factors that affect what the fish are eating at certain times of the day and it is different in different parts of the river. That is what makes it so challenging and fun to figure out.
Why does one section of the river produce more worms than another and a different section produces more sow bugs? Part of the answer is water temperature, the river bottom, which can be very grassy in some sections and clean gravel in others, sunlight and cfs flows.
A Little Stomach Pumping
To best learn what is going in a certain section, pump a fish or two and see what is in their stomachs. Seining may show what is in the water, but often that is not what is in the fish’s stomach. Who knows why these fish key on certain food sources? Even more interesting is that often the Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout key on different bugs. So pumping stomachs is a key to successful fishing. Also remember that bugs tend to evolve as the day progresses. So you may want to change that nymph in the morning to an emerger or adult pattern later in the day.
I'm sharing an email I got from a friend who had just been here fishing this week. I think you will find his comments and pictures very educational.
Let’s Go Fishing!!
Seine and use a stomach pump. They tell all.
Always take a bug vile. Put river water in it. Then take a picture of the bugs up toward the sky. Why? because the fish sees them that way so you should look at them the same way. It will change your perspective. Spin the bug bottle so they move all around and take macro tiny close ups and then enlarge the pics on your phone. You will see things you’ve never seen before.
SEINE didn’t reveal any significant population of sowbugs
The first vile is from the seine. Could not find a sowbug bigger than a 24. ttttttiny.
but we did learn why two toned worms work so well….depends if the worm is straighten out or “squished all together” because the color varies widely.
Tale of two stomaches - with a pump as the inspector
Stomach of a big rainbow #1.
Jammed with case caddis. A few sowbugs, but not many as a percentage. Wild.
Stomach #2, Another Rainbow
Down river a mile or so, totally different story.
Damn near adult caddis with a huge reveal on their bodies, below their thorax and under their wings. Lots of green. Lots of green. Huh. Really challenges me to be much more creative on my adult black caddis bodies.