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 !!
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!