Fishing Report

Tuesday, 20 February 2018 17:29

Fishing Report Feb 18, 2018

Written by

Bighorn River is flowing at 4,470 cfs with a water temperature of 37 degrees. Water clarity is clear and the winter fishing has been very good.


Streamers have been catching most of our fish in the middle of the river in deep, slower moving water while fishing a sink tip fly line and a unweighted streamer with a slow retrieve or swinging the fly through the runs. A variety of streamer patterns have been working. Olive and white streamers or emerald shiner imitations have produced beautiful fish. 

Nymph fishing is very productive as well. Look for these fish to be feeding in deeper, slower moving pools. Orange scuds and dark colored midge patterns have been working well. The fish are concentrated together in wintering holes so take your time and cover all the water in the deep pools. The winter is a great time to fish the Bighorn River, so get out and enjoy the this amazing wild trout fishery.


Streamer Pic- Courtesy of Matt Clawson

Monday, 07 August 2017 19:00

Bighorn River Fishing Report

Written by

                                          BIGHORN RIVER FISHING REPORT

Water Flows:  As of today the water is running at 4,000CFS. Only a couple of weeks ago we were at 9,000.  The Bureau of Reclamation who controls the water releases from Yellowtail Dam have been dropping the flows at a 500 cfs clip almost daily for more than a week. I would expect that we may see some further reductions this coming week. The good news is that with these lower flows more wade spots are now available and fish should move into some riffles for the more oxygenated water. 
 Water Temperatures: The water temperature yesterday at 3-mile was 62 degrees which is a bit confusing given the fact that with these lower releases all the water from the dam is coming through the turbines and off the bottom of the lake where the water is the coldest.  Hopefully we will soon see the water temps back in the higher 50's which is better for the fish.
 Fishing: The bite is definitely back on as of this past week.  During those two weeks of daily flow changes the fish were confused and fishing was challenging,  But this last week they seem to have gotten their bearings.  Our clients are having 20 fish days with the occasional 20 inch Rainbow or Brown. I was out two days ago with one of our guides Ron Ford and I had a 25 fish day with a nice fat 18" Rainbow to cap off the afternoon. . 
  • Dry Fly Fishing: Dry fly fishing has dropped off considerably with the end of the Trico hatch. Some fish can be found taking midges and the occasional Black Caddis, but these are one or two fish with very sporadic activity and the pod action on significant hatches is pretty much over for the time being. 
  • Nymph Fishing:  The Nymph fishing has been excellent the last week and should continue. After a week or two of constant changing water flows the fish seemed to have regained their bearing and focus on eating.  20+ fish days are common. Grass growth is an issues so having a good guide that knows where the clear lanes and spots are as well as what kind of set up to use is critical.  
  • Streamer Fishing: Streamer fishing has been hot and cold. We had one guides who said he turned 50 + fish one day and then couldn't get their attention the next.  Cloud cover and the hot patterns are the key to success.
Fly Patterns
  • Dries: #18,20 Sipper Midge,#18,20 Midge Cluster, #18 CDC Black Caddis, #18 Black Hemingway Caddis, #14 Mahogany trailed with a #18 quil nymph or Black Tunk Teaser.
  • Nymphs: #16,18 Pink Soft Hackle Sow Bug, #16,18 Tan or Grey Soft Hackle Ray, #16,18 Orange or Pink Scud, # 16,18 Flashback PT, #18,20 Sunken Trico,  #16 Chenille San Juan Worm in wine or two tone wine/brown, #4,6,8 Red Wire Worm.
  • Streamers: # 6 Emerald Shiner, #4,6 White or Cream Wooly Bugger, #8 Black Squirrel Leech, #6 Thin Mint Wolly Bugger, #4 Grey Zonkeo, #4,6 Bighorn Wooly Bugger (yellow/brown)
Friday, 21 July 2017 19:00

Bighorn River Fishing Report

Written by

River flow is now at 9,000 cfs with expectations that further reductions will be coming again this week. At this level of release about half of the water is coming over the dam spillway from the top of the lake thus producing the higher river temps. We expcect river releases to begin to come down this week.  Once we can get down to around 7,000 all the water from the dam will be coming from the bottom of the lake which hopefully bring the water temps back into the high 50's.  This should encourage more activity from the fish which are fairly subdued right now due to the higher water temps.

High water temps have made nymph fishing tough in the last few weeks but that improved significantly yesterday for our clients in the lodge.  Several had a 20 fish day. Without a doubt having a good guide is critical under these conditions. 

Dry fly fishing for Tricos in the very early morning with spinners and BlackCaddis in the late afternoon and early evening has been very good.

Nymphing can be good as well but in selective spots.  The fish are sitting in deeper holes where the window of opportunity is short when fishing from the boat.  Again having a guide who know where these select spots are is criticacl. Still it can be good if you know where and how to fish these spots. 

Streamer fishing is still pretty productive.  All that water coming over the spillway continues to dump lake shinners into the river.  Casting to the bank with an off white clouser style fly is working quite well on the upper three mile section.

Fly Patterns                                                                                              

Nymphing:  #14,16 Soft Hackle Grey or Tan Ray, #18 Black Caddis or Sparkle Pupa, #18,20 Drowned Trico, #16,18 Flashback Pheasant Tail, #12,14,16 Orange Scud, # 14 Soft Hackle Pins Sowbug, #18 Black Zebra Midge or Tung Teaser, #18 Quill Nymph, #6 Red Wire Worm, #18 Wine or Brown Chinneal San Juan Worm.

Dry Fly: Lead fly #14 Mahogany, Second Fly #18 CDC Black Caddis # 20, 22 Trico Spinner

Streamers: #6 White or off white Clouser, #6 Emerald Shinner, #4 Grey Zonker, #6 Thin Mint Wolly, #4,6 White or Grey Wolley Bugger

Monday, 10 July 2017 19:00

Bighorn River Lodge Fishing Report

Written by

The river flow is running at 9500 with a water temp of 63 degrees at the three mile access.  Higher water temps are a result of the Bighorn Lake top water coming over the spillway at these higher lake discharges.  This higher water temperature is producing some Trico hatches in the morning as well as Black Caddis hatches in the late afternoon and evening on the upper three- mile section of the river.  Can’t remember when we have ever seen Tricos this early in the season. The Trico hatch should continue to improve as long as the water temperature stays warm.  It remains to be seen what the water temps will do once the lake discharges drop as the summer progresses.


Dry Fly

  • For Tricos I would recommend a set-up using a #14 Mahogany as a lead fly (Almost a third of the fish are actually taking the Mahogany!) and a trail fly in #20 Trico spinner.
  • For Caddis a number #18 CDC or Elk Hair Black Caddis or/and a #18 Hemingway Caddis.

The high water flows this year should have scoured out the river bottom setting up great conditions for PMD and Yellow Sally hatches. We are beginning to see some already but the fish are keyed in on Tricos and Black Caddis at the moment.  Stay tuned.


Nymphing has been fair lately using the following patterns:

  • #16, #18 SH Grey Ray
  • #14, #12 Orange Scud
  • #18 Black Caddis Pupa
  • #16, #18 Olive Flashback Pheasant Tail
  • #18 Black Tung Teaser
  • #18 Quill Nymph
  • #4 San Juan Red Wire or two-tone Wine Chanile Worm.


With so much water coming over the dam spillway a large number of shiners are washing over from the lake into the water.  The fish have been going crazy gorging on this bait food.  So, top drifting of twitching a white clouser-like pattern just under the surface along the banks has been extremely effective and the takes can be explosive.  Try these patterns:

  • #6 Emerald Shiner
  • #4, #6 White or Cream Wolly Bugger
  • #6 Thin Mint Wolly Bugger
  • #8 Squirrel Leach
  • #4 Grey Zonker
Tuesday, 11 October 2016 19:00

Fishing Report October 12th

Written by

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.  

Saturday, 01 October 2016 19:00

Fishing Report October 3rd

Written by

                           Bighorn River Fishing Report

Current Conditions

The Bighorn is currently running at 2286 cfs and flows could increase as the lake continues to fill.  Water temp is 60 degrees at 3 mile.  The water is fairly clear but rain is forcast for Monday and Tuesday which could effect clarity.  

Nymphing is steady and strong on some days.  The fish are concentrated in deeper runs at the end of rifles and below shelves where the water is cooler and oxyagenated so a bit of weight is a good idea.  If the cfs increase and water levels rise I would expect the fish to spread out a bit more.

Dry Fly action is still happening with Trico Hatches still happening in the morning after around 9:00 for an hour or so.  However the Tricos are now really small so the fish are picky and not concentrated in the larger pods we had last month.  Still can tag a few however and the fish are bigger.

Streamer fishing has been good especially on cloudy days.  The Browns are coming into their spawning season and are getting more aggresive so this is a good time to put in on streamers.    

Good Fly Patterns


Size #18 in the following patterns: Pink soft hackle sow bug, Soft hackle grey ray, Soft hackle tan ray, Zebra midge, Flash back pheasant tail, Drowned trico, Doc's blond baetis if there are some pseudos around.  I like to drop any of these patterns below a #6 red or orange wire worm.  Also try a brown or two tone brown and orange chenille worm below the wire worm.  

Dry Patterns

#20 Trico Dun, #22 Trico spinner, #20 Student, #14 Mahoganey or Royal Wulf.  I like to use the latter two as a lead fly I can see.  In fact the fish will commonly take the Mahoganey.  


White and white/grey are the good colors right now tied sparsely.  Brown and gold combos are also a good choice. Good patterns: #8 Bighorn Special, #8 Squirrel Leach, #6 Thin Mint Wolly Bugger, #4 Cream Wooly Bugger.  

River Flows:  2286

Water Temp: 60 at 3 mile access

Weathern Conditions: Days in the 60's with clouds and occasional showers.  Tuesday and Wednesday calls for rain.  

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Newsletter Signup

Signup to get updates on the best times and best deals for your next BigHorn Adventure.