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The Bighorn River Lodge is excited by the aspect of an excellent water year and another year of great fishing.  Here are some of the factors that we will be monitoring.

Snow Pack, Temperatures and Water Flow Point To Plentiful Spring and Summer Fishing

Snow Pack:  Early snows this year have helped bring the average snowpack levels back to a normal trend for the Bighorn Basin after a few years of lower than normal levels.  Current snowpack is at 108% of normal and given the standard trend for more snow in February and March we should be in great shape for the year.

Temperatures:  A return to normal freezing temperatures this winter is a good sign for the river for a couple of reasons.

  • Consistent colder temperatures mean the snowpack stays around longer.
  • Should this trend continue it will also be interesting to see what effect it will have on algae and grass growth in the river.  Hopefully this will reduce the prolific growth we saw in mid and late summer in 2016.

Water Flows:  Currently the river is running at 2626 CFS.  The Bureau of Reclamation which controls flows has set this as the winter flow level. However, the Bighorn River Alliance will be monitoring the situation and hopefully working with BOR to suggest adjustment to water releases as the situation dictates. The factors that affect these releases are.

  • Snow pack levels. While it looks like we are in for a good year based on current levels, we must stay vigilant of spring conditions which effect snow melt rates and therefore river flows.
  • Winter temperatures.  The colder it stays the longer the snow pack remains and conversely warmer mid-winter temps can deplete the snow pack too early resulting in early higher level releases from the lake. 
  • Spring precipitation.  Again, too warm of a spring and too much precipitation can push the BOR to order higher than welcome flows.

bighorn river snowpack 17The key is to work with the BOR who traditionally want to store as much water as possible in the lake to cover their needs. If storage capacity in the lake is near maximum and we are looking at a large snowpack then hopefully we can persuade them to modify their approach, raise winter flow rates to avoid large releases in late spring and early summer.  These large releases can negatively affect dry fly hatches in the Spring and Rainbow spawning in the summer months. But bottom line is it looks REALLY GOOD for 2017.

Wednesday, 04 January 2017 00:00

Fly Fishing Basics

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Fly fishing dates back hundreds of years, but it gained the most popularity in North America during the 19th and 20th centuries. From presidents to the common man, the challenge of fly fishing, including everything from the difficulty of casting to the diverse fishing conditions, appeals to all. If you are just starting out, here are the basics you need to know.

The Basic Materials

While many experienced fly fishermen have dozens of lures, lines and leaders, the beginner only needs the following:

  • Rod
  • Reel
  • Line
  • Leader and Tippet
  • Flies
  • Snips

 

Rod

Fly rods are different from other types of fishing rods. These rods bend in a specific way, allowing you to put the fly exactly where you want it. Finding the right rod consists of knowing (a) where you will be fishing and (b) what type of fish you will be catching. A 9-foot rod is the most common type among fly fishermen. Depending on the type of fish, you will use a specifically weighted rod. For example, a 3- and 4-weight rod would be used for smaller panfish, like bluegill and small trout.

Rod Weight Water Fish
1 - 2 Weight Extreme Light Freshwater Small Panfish
3 - 4 Weight Light Freshwater Small Panfish, Trout
5 Weight Freshwater Trout, Panfish, Small Bass
6 - 7 Weight Medium Freshwater/Light Saltwater Large Trout, Bass, Bonefish
6 - 7 Weight Medium Freshwater/Light Saltwater Large Trout, Bass, Bonefish
6 - 7 Weight Medium Freshwater/Light Saltwater Large Trout, Bass, Bonefish
8 - 9 Weight Heavy Freshwater/Saltwater Carp, Bass, Bonefish, Snook, Baby Tarpon
10 Weight Extreme Heavy Freshwater/ Medium Saltwater Tarpon, Salmon, Permit
11 - 12 Weight Heavy Saltwater Large Saltwater Species
11 - 12 Weight Heavy Saltwater Large Saltwater Species
13 - 15 Weight Extreme Heavy Saltwater Extreme big fish, tuna, sharks

 

Line

Fly rods and line are designed to work together, like a dynamic fishing duo. For instance, a 5-weight rod will work best with a 5-weight line. Most rods have the information printed on the shaft. As for color, some fly fishermen prefer a brightly colored line so they can see it easily in the water. Others prefer a color that blends into the background. Choose the color that works best for you.

Reel

A fly reel holds the line, and you operate it by stripping the line off of the reel and manipulating it with one hand and casting the rod with the other. Most fly reels have a disc-type drag system, although you can find some with a coiled spring mechanism, which automatically pulls the line into the reel.

Leader and Tippet

The leader and tippet are used to connect the fly to your colored line with a material that won’t scare the fish away. The leader also allows you to cast your line in a straight line. The leader is the clear material connected at the end of the fly line. The tippet is the lightweight material attached on the end of the leader and fly. Light and strong are two qualities of a great tippet. Tippets are used to help present the fly in the most realistic way.

Flies

There are three basic groups of flies, including streamers, nymphs and dry flies. The type of fly you use during your fishing trip depends on the flies or insects that are common in the area you are fishing. If you aren’t sure which flies to choose, check with the experts at your local bait shop.

Don’t forget a quality fly fishing vest for your first fly fishing trip! You can find one at a high quality retailer like Carhartt, along with other fishing gear essentials. Now go catch some fish!

Tuesday, 01 November 2016 00:00

Staff Field Trip

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                                                            Staff Field Trip     

So guess what the boys do when they get a day off in October.  You bet they go pheasant hunting!  Not a bad haul for a morning's work.  Matt Clawson our fishing outfitter lower right, Matt Ernst 2nd guide lower right and Shawn Smith our incredible chef standing.  Dietz, Red, Gus and Moose attending the after party.  Shawn served up some fresh pheasant parmesean with the most incredible red sausce ever.  Man o man what a feast.  

Oh yeah fishing.  Well the first part of October was okay, some really good days and some just satisfactory.  The truth is the 2nd half of October was a bit tough.  Lake turnover effect and some work on the dam really turnded the water off color and that combined with a lot of floating grasses due to vegiatation die off as the water cooled down was a tough combination for effective fishing. The Bighorn River is an incredible fishery and we tend to get spoiled if we aren't boating 20 fish or more or if the dry fly fishing isn't epic or if the Brown and Rainbows aren't 19" plus.  But that just reminds us of how great the river really is.  Still the best trout fishery in the lower 48 and has fished consistently extremely well all season.

Fall Fish

November will usher in the Brown spawn, the water will clear and the streamer fishing can be explosive as the Browns and Rainbows get aggressive with winter approaching.  It truly can be some of the best fishing of the year with hot fish and low crowds.  Thinnk about it!  For those of you coming back to the Bighorn River Lodge next year I have only one thing to say...BOOK EARLY....BOOK NOW.  This will ensure you get the dates and the guides you want.  Make plans and call Cheryl 406-666-2368.   See you on the river!

Rick 

Wednesday, 12 October 2016 00:00

Fishing Report October 12th

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This week still produced some dry fly Trico time below 13 mile access for about an hour between 9:30-10:30. Guides have also seem some pseudos.  Fly patterns for nymphing and streamer have not changed much from last weeks post.  Try some pseudo nymph psstterns if you see the adults.  

The lower river seemed a bit more friendly for nymphing and streamer fishing as the upper river is suffering from a lot of floating grsses due to the dying and braking loose of bottom growth.  This condition should continue for about another week or possible two.  This condition requires some adjustment is how you fish. Shorter casts for streamer fishing and quick upward retrieve when nymphing.  Dragging the fly through the water will only catch the floating grasses and that can be tiresome.  

Once the grasses have gone the traditional November and early December fishing can be awesome.  So keep chekcing my reports and I will keep you posted on conditions. 

 Water Flow 2286

 Water Temp 60 degrees at 3 mile

Weather Temp in the 60's with occasional shower for the next week.  

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