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Thursday, 09 July 2015 20:43

What Are They Biting On In The Bighorn River?

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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Wednesday, 13 August 2014 22:18

Dry Fly Fishing

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Dry fly fishing on the Birghorn is upon us.  The Browns and Rainbows are taking hoppers with a variety of emerger patterns as droppers. A Super Bettle and large ant patterns with a black caddis trailer are also working well.   With the lower water levels these combos are best in the riffles and deeper runs.  Sight fishing with black caddis and an emerger dropper is best in the later afternoons and evenings.

Nymphing with a wire worm and droppers of soft hackel grey rays or soft hackel pink or tan sow bugs is also still productive.  Droppers of zebra midges or quill numphs seem to work better from the Bighorn Rapids down where the black caddis are more prevelent.  Still a lot of summer left so come fish with us!!!

 

Rick and Cheryl

Thursday, 10 July 2014 16:09

Summer Fishing

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Well June fishing was excellent at times, however we were plagued by a lot of moss in the river during the second half of the month.  The good news is that the river water flows have been increased to accommodate the snow melt inflows into the Bighorn Lake,  These higher flows into the Bighorn river have scoured out most of the moss, increased water clarity and expose a lot of gravel beds.  As a result the nymph fishing has been red hot over the past few days and that should continue.  the go to flies have been a #4 or #6 wire worm witha variety of droppers including pink or tan softhackle sowbugs, pink scuds, quill nymphs and flashback pts.  Those 16"-18" Rainbows and Browns two months ago are now 18"20" with 20"+ fish not uncommon.  They are healthy, hungry and full of fight.

River water temps have risen into the mid and upper 50s with the warmer weather setting the stage for PMD and Yellow Sally hatches which are very close with these perfect conditions.  The dry fly fishing should be excellent.  So now is the time to get to the Bighorn river here in Montana and experience some fo the best fly fishing available anywhere in the world.  Be sure to call Cheryl at the lodge (406-666-2368) and schedule a trip in July, August or September.

 

SEE YOU ON THE RIVER

RICK

Thursday, 24 April 2014 14:28

Spring Fishing

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The Spring fishing on the Bighorn has been just excellent even with the higher water flows currently running at around 7500cfs.  Record breaking snow pack and a wet Spring has resulted in the higher flows from the Bighorn Lake. These higher flows have been great for the river, scouring out and rejuvinating the river bottom and creating excellent conditions for the hatches to follow.  While the wade fishing spots are a bit more restrictive the boat fishing has been very good.  Even with the water temp at around 39 degrees,  nymphing with #18 red  midge larve patterns under a #6 orange or red wire worm has been very productive.  Smaller Zebra midges,soft hackel grey rays and fire bead soft hackled sow bugs are also working well.  As the water temps warm up moving in to May the fish will continue to be even more active. Some drye fly action is available now as the midge and baetes hatches are coming on. All indications are that May should be a spectacular dry fly month.  If you are thinkng of making a trip to take advantage of these excellent conditions, we recommend that you call Cheryl at the lodge and book now as reservations are already filling up.
See you on the river!

 

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