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Friday, 22 March 2019 12:05

Looks like a Good Year for Bighorn River

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After 10 years of high water and difficult conditions at times, Mother Nature looks like she is going to give us a break and return to a normal water year. According to the weather gurus, we have now entered into a La Nina year which means warmer and dryer conditions in the Northwest and wetter and cooler conditions in the Southwest. The storms pounding central and southern California and lower snow packs in the Northwest would indicate they are right.

Snow packs in the mountains on the eastern slopes are about 85% of normal rather than the 125% we saw at this time last year. Of course, we still have February and March to get through but if the current trends hold, hopefully we will not see those huge water releases from the Yellowtail Dam. Right now, the river is running crystal clear and cold at just under 3,000 cfs. and during some of the 40-50 degree days there are some nice midge hatches and fish rising to them as well as decent streamer and nymph fishing.

The key is if BOR will manage their release properly to avoid large flows and if they do and the flows stay under say 6,000-7,000 this spring, we should have a good chance for a nice BWO hatch in April-May. It just looks pretty promising right now to have a great year, so I would encourage everyone to make your plans and call Cheryl in the office at 406-666-2368 to secure some dates this year. Life is short, a and the fish are waiting.
Cheryl with a really nice rainbow caught on a #20 psuedo

See you on the river!
Rick

Saturday, 28 October 2017 19:00

Fall float down the Bighorn

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A beautiful 68 degree day gave Cheryl and I a shot at resonable weather to take what is probalby the last float down the Bighorn River we will make this year.  The river is running 5,000 cfs so even getting on at 10:30 we had enough time to wade fish 3 or 4 spots.  Fishing has been a bit tough lately but we had a pretty good day.  Cheryl landed a nice rainbow and two 17" browns foom the boat and I was fortunate to find one wade spot that produced 6 fish out of one hole.  Beautiful sunny warm day and a great way to end our fishing season.  We will spend the next month getting the lodge ready for winter. doing invertory and putting orders together for next year. We had our best year ever and look forward to another one next year.  Same staff will be returning including our fabulous Chef Shawn Smith. If you are considering returning or coming to the Bighorn River Lodge for the first time remember to book early to make sure you can secure the dates and the guides you may prefer.  

Thursday, 19 January 2017 18:00

Who Comes To the Bighorn River Lodge?

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New inquiries often ask about the suitability of The Bighorn River Lodge experience and how it relates to their specific needs. Here’s some of the questions we are asked.

  • Is it suitable for families?
  • What if I’ve never fly fished?
  • Can I bring a non-fisherman specifically my wife?
  • Can you accommodate Corporate Groups?

 

A Fly Fishing Vacation Is Perfect For Families Of All Kinds

familiesFamilies made up of all combinations, father/son, father/daughter, grandfathers, parents and children, in-laws and so on. The Bighorn River Lodge is the perfect venue to celebrate a special birthday, graduation and other life milestones. The Bighorn River and fishing experience are enjoyed by all ages.  We are especially pleased to see that next generation of fly fisherman learning to fish and tune into nature and the magic of the legendary Bighorn River. Our guides have a wealth of knowledge about the Bighorn River, the wildlife, and entomology of the bug life and they love passing that information along to everyone who shows an interest.
 

Don't Be Afraid Of Fly Fishing If You Are Just A Beginner

beginnersThe river lends itself to all skill levels from never fly fished ever to expert angler. At least half of our visitors each year have either never fly fished or have done it just a few times. Our guides are experts at working with and teaching the beginner fly fisherman.  And we offer a full array of rental gear to make it very easy for everyone. You must start somewhere, and The Bighorn River hosts over 6,000 Brown and Rainbow Trout per mile so the catching can be excellent.

Fly Fishing Is an Ideal Experience For a Group Of Friends

Each year we see groups of “old friends” return to the Bighorn River Lodge to fish the Bighorn River together, and to catch up on their friendships.  Some have been returning for years usually at the same time of year. The groups range from 2 anglers to 16, our maximum, and they never seem to tire of those big Brown and Rainbow Trout.

Wives Don't Have To Be Bighorn Anglers

Wives are welcome! We have a special non-sporting rate for wives. They can just relax at the Lodge or head to Sheridan, Wyoming for the day at one of the museums.  We suggest the Brinton Museum which houses 19th, 20th and 21st century Western and American Indian art in a beautiful setting. The Bighorn Battlefield is another must see venue if you are interested in the history of the West.

Corporate Groups Find The Bighorn River Lodge Especially Rewarding

The Bighorn River Lodge is a huge favorite of many small Corporate Groups who come every year to reward their sales reps for their hard work, and clients for their patronage. We can accommodate up to 16 and are able provide a small conference room for their use.

Single Anglers Are Always Welcome On The Bighorn River

We often have single anglers come to the Bighorn River Lodge. We do charge a single supplement fee but there’s nothing like having a boat and a guide all to yourself. It’s one of the ultimate experiences in fly fishing. Sometimes it hard to contain yourself.
 
single anglerWe take a special interest in each guest and group. We’ll do everything we can to make sure your experience is a memorable one at The Bighorn River Lodge. Come see us and fish the Legendary Bighorn River in Montana. Call Cheryl in the office at 406-666-2368.

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.

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