406-666-2368

Venture out to Bighorn River for your very own luxury fishing vacation.

Fishing season is upon us and what better way to make lasting memories with your loved ones than hitting the water with a rod and reel for the ultimate Bighorn River Fishing Vacation.

If you’ve dreamed of Montana fly fishing for years, anticipating your reel singing the song of a running fish, you will not be disappointed with the wonder and natural beauty of the Bighorn River in Montana. The Bighorn River is considered one of the finest trout streams not just in Montana but also in the United States. Famed for its gentle, cool, clear waters and abundance of rainbow and brown trout, the river is situated on the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains just north of the Wyoming-Montana state line. Unlike many rivers in Montana, the Bighorn is a high-quality fly-fishing river for the entire year, offering anglers who don’t mind the elements the opportunity to catch large fish year-round.

Nothing speaks to the soul of Montana like fly fishing. Fly fishing takes you to places that you would never normally go. As you follow the river, you see a whole new view of nature from a perspective that you wouldn’t get otherwise. Seeing the mountains rising up above you, watching an eagle soar over your head as it makes it's way downstream, and spying on a moose as it drinks from the river’s edge are more magical when seen from the middle of the river.

Stay In Style

Entering Montana more than 150 miles downstream from its origin in Wyoming, Bighorn River flows into Bighorn Lake, formed by the Yellowtail Dam, and Big Horn River Lodge happens to have the best access to the finest Bighorn River fishing spots.

Montana’s Bighorn River Lodge has drawn avid fly-fishing enthusiasts and sportsmen alike for decades. The Lodge provides the perfect combination of comfort and outdoor adventure while creating a memorable fly-fishing vacation experience for an accomplished fisher or beginners.

The Bighorn River Lodge is the only lodge situated directly on the bank of the upper Bighorn River, so you can jump out of your waders and into the inviting atmosphere of a resort that reflects the rustic elegance and hospitality of the Big Sky Country.

Whether you want to relax, perfect your fishing skills, or simply soak up the scenic beauty this area offers, the inviting lodge is the perfect place to stay. After an epic day of fishing, unwind and swap fishing stories over courses of culinary artistry, or return to your cozy cabin overlooking the Bighorn Mountains. The impeccably decorated accommodations feature sumptuous linens, spacious decks, breath-taking views, and more.

At the Bighorn River Lodge, the food is as memorable as the fishing. As your guide prepares the boat for your day on the river, sit down to enjoy a home-style breakfast of hearty fare like banana bread French toast, Montana huckleberry syrup, and apple chicken sausage. End your day with dinner at a harvest table overlooking the serene Bighorn River.

The Treasure State offers a wide variety of waters accessible to fly fishing. Within those waters there are options to choose from larger rivers best suited to fishing from a boat, smaller waters explored on foot, crystal clear spring creeks, multi-day backcountry river float trips, alpine lakes, and private access waters. The opportunities to create the perfect get-a-way are endless.

Come and plan the experience of a lifetime and the ultimate Montana fishing vacation today.

Published in Blog
Monday, 11 January 2021 10:47

Learn Fly Fish With the Best

For those who don’t know where to start, our school teaches not only fly fishing for beginners but how to truly fall in love with this form of art. Fishing itself is a sport that millions of people are able to enjoy, almost anywhere a body of water is present, however, even if you know how to fish in a still lake or pond, you are not guaranteed to know how to fly fish on a moving body of water. People have practiced fly fishing for years, working to perfect their technique. Here at the Fly Fishing School at the Bighorn River Lodge, our aim is not only to teach a sport but to teach an art. Here are some things to keep in mind if you are asking yourself: How complicated can it be?

Having the right equipment and a fishing license for whichever state you reside in is one of the first things to consider before starting. As with any sport or hobby, you will find the price, quality, and a number of options for fly fishing rods, reels, lines, flies, and leaders and tippets can vary greatly. Fly fishing rods are much lighter than normal fishing rods, with the main differences between the selections being the line weight (00-14), the fly rod action (slow, medium, or fast), the length of the rod (up to 14 feet), and the rod material. All of these factors can change how you cast your line, as well as where you are able to fish. After all, fishing on a small, condensed forest stream with a 14-foot rod is unlikely to end well, either for the rod or for yourself. 

The type of fly that you use when fishing can increase, or decrease, your fortune since the ultimate goal is to trick fish into believing they are about to eat a delicious insect. Flies can be bought at the store or can be homemade, using string, feathers, fur, wax, and potentially glue. While making your own flies can be time-consuming, it can be rewarding to use your own materials to catch fish, and a handy skill to have if you find yourself short-handed. Either method of acquiring a fly will use some basic entomology, which is essentially knowing which bugs can be found on the surface of the water. Mayflies, sowbugs, and dragonflies are just a few examples of the types of bugs typically imitated by the flies you might use in fly fishing. Whether you choose to fly fish with a dry fly at the surface of the water, or nymph with a subsurface fly, you will need patience and practice. 

While the above list is not comprehensive in the least of what aspects should be considered when learning how to fly fish, finding a patient instructor that is able to teach fly fishing for beginners is invaluable. What equipment you decide upon, how heavy of a line, what bait you use, where you fish, how you cast, whether you tie the right knots, and so much more can make your experience with fly fishing worth all of the effort. Because the learning process for fly fishing can be difficult, the Bighorn River Lodge Fly Fishing School aims to provide individualized lessons that span the course of either 2 days or 3 days so that you can come away secure in your ability to fly fish. The Bighorn River is a well-known site with around 5,000-6,000 trout per mile, and the professional instructors at the Fly Fishing School can teach fly fishing for beginners of any level. Meals, rental equipment, and lodging is also provided, so you can dedicate your full attention to fly fishing. While it is true that it is impossible to learn everything within these 2-3 day sessions, you will be provided a sturdy foundation for a lifelong passion of fly fishing. 

Published in Blog
Monday, 11 January 2021 10:36

Best Place for Fly Fishing in Montana

While fly fishing is enjoyed across the nation, the state of Montana holds the perfect location to truly experience the sport, and the best fly fishing in Montana can be found at the Bighorn River Lodge. The lodge has made a name for itself as being situated along the Bighorn River, which once flowed fiercely through the state until the construction of the Yellowfield Dam near the border of Montana and Wyoming. With the building of the dam, the Bighorn reservoir was created, along with the future home to thousands of fish, turning the previously warm water river into a tailwater fishery. 

Blue ribbon, brown, and rainbow trout are especially abundant in this type of fishery, feeding well on the many insects and aquatic invertebrates, such as sowbugs and scuds. The rich nutrients of the river are contributed to by the sandstone and limestone walls surrounding the reservoir, encouraging the growth of green algae and grasses are a habitat for the aqua life of the river. The cool depths of the reservoir shelter the trout during the heat of the summer, while the dam prevents the water from freezing over in the winter. The year-round opportunity to experience the best fly fishing in Montana is one of the main attractors to the Bighorn River Lodge, which is the only lodge along the upper portion of the Bighorn River. 

The Wind River that passes through Wyoming, turns into the Bighorn River, which eventually empties into the Yellowstone River. However, the location surrounding the Yellowfield dam is an attraction for people searching for prime fly fishing spots due to the abundance of river life and natural proliferation sparked by the placement of the dam at the end of Bighorn Canyon. Not far from there are the Crow Indian Reservation and the Bighorn River Lodge location, in the prime location for catching large trout, Goldeneye, and Mountain Whitefish. The river itself is broad, with plenty of room for fly fishing, and with upwards of 5,000 trout per mile, you are guaranteed to come away with the experience of a lifetime. 

While there might be several beautiful locations surrounding the Bighorn river, in order to experience the best fly fishing in Montana, the Bighorn River Lodge provides rustic lodging, personal guides to the most abundant and beautiful fly fishing locations, as well as professionally prepared, locally-produced meals. With guest accommodations of up to 14 people per group, there is no better lodge to make your fly fishing trip the perfect experience. For more information and to book your reservation at the Bighorn River Lodge, please visit www.bighornriverlodge.com.

Published in Blog
Sunday, 20 October 2019 13:41

Fly Fishing School

Give a person a fish, and they will eat for a day. Teach a person to fish, and they will never want to go home!

In 2019 the Bighorn River Lodge accelerated its emphasis on its Fly Fishing School with great sucess. The school became very popular with those clients who wanted to introduce a friend or a family member to the sport they loved so much.  The integral part of the sucess is that each "class" has its own guide and is limited to two people so that each client gets one on one personal instruction.  The school package is typically a 3 night 2day or 4 night 3 day package.  Check the website for pricing.

The first day the clients will meet their guide and spend the morning learning how to set up a fly rod with explinations of the componets of the fly line, leader, tippet, and knot tying. After instruction each client will practice this set up.  Next will come instructions on the art of casting a fly rod.  Then each client will practice with close supervison and help for the guide.  These guides are excellent teachers and most students pick up the skill fairly quickly.  By midday the guide will take the clients to the river to put into practice what they have learned.  There will be an explination of where fish tend to "hold" in a river and how to read the water to locate them. Next will come an explination of the entemology on the river and what flies to use to match what the fish may be eating at any particular time of year. After lunch on the river, the rest of the day will be spent fishing and working on casting and mending skills and the art of achieving a good drift.  In almost every case clients will hav netted several fish by the end of the day.  Arriving at the private lodge boat ramp, the clients will have time to change clothes, realx in the great room or the deck overlooking the bass ponds with the mountains in the the distant bathed in the afternoon sun and enjoy beverages of their choice prior to appetizers served at 6:00 and dinner at 7:00.  The next days will be spent fishing and impoving skills.  Skill sets will improve drastically each day as will the fish counts for each client. 

We have had nothing but rave reviews about the success of the school format, the teaching quality and expertise of the guides and the overall experience of progressing from a novice to a successful fisherman. Please check the website for package rates and schedule a trip to the Bighorn River and let us help you learn how to fly fish, and catch some of those big Rainbow and Brown trout the Bighorn River is famous for.  

Published in Blog
Monday, 10 July 2017 19:00

Bighorn River Lodge Fishing Report

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.

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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.

Nymping

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.

Streamers

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
Published in Fishing Report
Sunday, 01 May 2016 19:00

Excellent Blue Winged Olive Hatch

The cooler, overcast and rainy weather in the last few weeks have produced some excellent BWO hatches and created some outstanding opportunities for great dry fly action here on the Bighorn River.  The hatch has begun around noon and lasted until around 3:00.  The game plan has been to get in and nymph down river to a typically good dry fly spot and wait for the hatch to come on.  It will generally start with a few rises and increase as the hatch accelearates.  After about thirty minutes the riffles and seams will be alive with heads.  If you are adept at presenting the fly, in it has not been uncommon to have a 20 fish day.  Even some of our novice guests under the excellent instruction of our guides are doing very very well.  The hatch should last as long as the weather does. The typical set up has been to use a lead fly with a larger profile like a smoke jumber, CDC BWO cripple, or enven a Mahogany and trail that with the go to fly which has been a #18 Student or a variety of BWO emerger pattern.  Even with the oncoming warmer weather, any return to cooler, cloudy weather will bring the hatch back.

In the meantime the nymphing remains steady using pink soft hackle sow bugs, pink scuds, or a grey ray charles with a trailing zebra midge or Bighorn Baetis nymph. The snow pack is at 90%, and the lake is at traditional levels with inflows matching outflows from the Bighorn Lake of around 2,600cfs which portends for a good water year and good water conditions for this season.  Nothing like fishing the Bighorn which boasts 5,000-6,000 Rainbow and Brown trout per mile.  Get your gear and come on up.  See you on the river !!

IMG 2033

Published in News
Saturday, 22 August 2015 19:00

Fall Fishing On The Bighorn

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

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.15 Fly Fishing trout

October

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.
45 Montana streamer fising

November

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.
13 Fly Fishing

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.

Published in News
Wednesday, 15 July 2015 19:00

EAT………SLEEP………FISH

FISH

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.

holding-rainbow

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.

EAT

Appetizer:

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.

hors d oeuvres

First Course:

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.

pea vicheyssoise

Entrée:

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.

sweet tea brined pork

Dessert:

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.

berry bisquit shortcake

SLEEP

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.

premium sleep accommodations

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.

Published in News
Thursday, 24 April 2014 09:28

Spring Fishing

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!

 

Published in News
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