The Bighorn River is in full summer swing and the dry fly action is heating up. Anglers are finding decent hatches of PMD spinners in the morning, Yellow Sallies mid day and Black Caddis from about noon to dark. There are even some Tricos showing up in the early hours. Check out this phots of Gary with a beautiful 20" brown caught on a size 20 rusty spinner. Shawn McClure, his guide, put him on this bad boy and Gary made a perfect cast in some tough wind conditions. Atta baby Gary! This is a great time to visit us if you love fishing with dries.
The nymph program still remains strong. The old reliable Wire Worm with a Soft Hackle Pink Sow Bug is still hard to beat, but Bighorn anglers are also doing well with Quill Nymphs, Caddis Pupa patterns, Split Case PMDs, Wonder Nymphs and olive Pheasant Tails.
If you want to try something different, a Hopper witn a Black Ant dropper is always a hoot fished to the bank. Those big splashy takes are always my favorite. Any angler no matter what your skill level will have a good time right now at the Bighorn River Lodge so see if you can find a few days and start packing! Remember EAT, SLEEP, FISH.
See you on the River!
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 !!
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!
Summer is right around the corner for us here on the Bighorn and to us chefs that means we're getting ready to sample natures bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fortunately for us and with the help of the entire staff at the lodge, we've got our own seeds germinating in the greenhouse and we're starting to see lots of progress! Rick has been hard at work creating planter boxes and a large area on the grounds so that we can be somewhat self sufficient and provide our guest with fresh produce that's as local and organic as it gets...from a plot a few hundred yards from the front door of the lodge! We've planted all our own herbs, tomatoes, carrots, squash, pumpkin, eggplant, and much more. Thank you to everyone for all the help getting this dream going and to mypatriotsupply.com for setting us up with heirloom, non gmo seeds! We'll keep you posted on our gardens progress!
It has been a very mild winter down on the Bighorn River. Warm over night temps and calm days that have reaching into the 50's have start 2013 off with some excellent fishing. Fish have been eating nymphs well. I have doing well with a black wonder nymphs size 16 & 18. Also tan and pink soft hackle in the same sizes have been catching fish. The other day one of Lodges guides, Matt Ernst and I, floated from 3 mile down to the Lodge and had very impressive streamer fishing. Our best streamer was the Bighorn special, but Berg's blue legs and a Red Spruce fly worked very affectively as well. Here is a picture of the Bighorn Special. It is a easy fly to tie and works on many other rivers as well. Don't let the winter keep you inside. The fishing is great and you will have the whole river to yourself this time of year.
This summer and fall has produced some of the most SPECTACULAR FLYFISHING on the Bighorn River in recent memory. Every guide I talked to said they had never really ever seen anything like it. Two years of high water and excellent weather conditions produced a large volumn of water that increased the overall capicity of the river to house large numbers of fish, giving anglers opportunities for unprecedented number of hook-ups. Our guides here at the Bighorn River Lodge were consistently providing their clients up with 30-80 fish days. Perhaps hard to believe, but I had many of those days myself. Once again the Bighorn River has proved itself to be the Premier Blue Ribbon Trout River in the US. Indeed virtually every client this summer told me they had never had better fishing experience. Some were new to the Bighorn river Lodge, but most were customers that return every year.
The most productive nymph patterns seem to be grey & pink Ray Charles or a pink soft hackle Sow Bug in the #16 to #18 range with a #18 Black/Green Skinny Nelson as a dropper....deadly! A number of other patterns not usually seen here worked as well and if fact at times it didn't seem to matter WHAT you used...the fish would eat it. The fish this year were just beautiful, healthy and strong with Rainbows and Browns averaging 15"-20" and the occasional 20"+ not uncommon. Dry patterns changed with the hatches of course including Brown and Black Caddis and more Trico and Baetus patterns as we got into late September and early October. Fall fishing continues to be strong with warmer than usual fall temperatures still hovering in the 60's this week. I will post again soon and bring everyone up to date on our current CAST AND BLAST PROGRAM, running through December.
The cold weather arrived down on the Bighorn River and with it came the geese. The guides at the Bighorn River Lodge put together a goose hunt in a field near the Lodge. It was a great hunt and the young dogs got some good experience retrieving geese in the field.
For the first time in six years, Bighorn River Lodge attended trade shows this winter. From Somerset, NJ to Phoenix, AZ to Pasadena, CA and home to Montana, our team drove across the country shaking hands and handing out brochures. We were proud to receive two "Best Booth" awards from the International Sportsmen's Expo in Phoenix and the NW Sportshow in Minneapolis, MN. The shows gave us the chance to meet new anglers, book a few trips and promote our new Cast and Blast program starting in October 2012. We all feel the shows were a successful endeavor and hope to attend a few again next winter.
Thank you to Carlo Boshoff, Matt Clawson, Dell Despain, Ryan Kitts, and Cody Rolph who manned the booth at the shows. A special thanks also to Flappy and Jack Baumgartner for the design and construction of the booth. An especially big thank you to all of the trade show attendees who stopped by our booth to say hello. See you on the water!