blog_01_192 blog_02_192 blog_03_192 blog_04_192 blog_05_192 blog_06_192 blog_07_192 blog_09_192
Thursday, 21 July 2016 00:00

Dry Fly Action Picking Up

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!

Rick

 

Published in News
Wednesday, 25 May 2016 00:00

Worm Bite is On !!

The Spring run off from snow melt and Spring rains have required the Bureau of Reclemation to increase river flows which is usual for this time of year for the Bighorn River.  This year the Bureau has been much more accomodatiing in how they manage the incremental increases.  We are now running at 7,000 cfs which may seem like a lot, but it is a healthy flush for the river to remove the grasses and clean out the gravel which will create good conditioins for bug hatches throughout the summer.  Additionally the inceased flows have kick loose a lot of worms and sowbugs into the water and the fish bite right now is fantastic.  According to our guides it is the best of the year so far and we have already had some awesome fishing. A #6 red wire worm with a #16 soft hackle sow bug or grey ray has been very effective on both the Rainbows and Browns. These conditions should hold through June.  We have a few opeining in June if you can get away.  See you on the river!

Published in News
Monday, 02 May 2016 00:00

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
Monday, 07 September 2015 00:00

Bighorn River Massive Trico Hatch!

The Trico’s have been coming on now for a couple of weeks, but this week the hatch was incredible.  The hatch has been starting around 6:00 am and if you can get on the river early you will see huge columns of Tricos funneling up from the river with the rising sun silhouetting them in the background.  What a sight!

BRL-Tricos-small

While the hatch has been over by around 10:00, for a couple of days it lasted until noon.  There are numerous spots where there will be literally hundreds of fish feeding.  Once the spinners hit the water the entire flat is covered with fish heads devouring the spent duns.  If you have the right patterns for the duns, emergers, and spinners it is not uncommon to net over 30 fish on dries.

BR-2-Fish-small

I was fortunate enough to fish with the owner one day last week and we figure we had over 70 fish netted by 12:00.  Forget about those we lost.  Look at the beautiful 19” Rainbow and Brown we landed as a double.

Here is the good news.  I have talked to several guides who think the Trico hatch could last well into October.  If you love fishing for dries and can carve out a few days to get here I would highly recommend you try.  This is as good as dry fly fishing gets.  Give us a call and get an update at any time but as always it is best to strike while the iron is hot.  See you on the river!

Published in News
Sunday, 23 August 2015 00:00

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
Thursday, 16 July 2015 00:00

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

What Worked Best?

At the end of every fishing day here at the Bighorn River Lodge the guides and clients gather on the deck overlooking the bass pond and discuss the day’s activities. Invariably they talk about which flies worked the best.  It is always interesting to hear what fished well at certain points on the river and what time of day it was. Because as we all know there is a multitude of factors that affect what the fish are eating at certain times of the day and it is different in different parts of the river. That is what makes it so challenging and fun to figure out.

Why does one section of the river produce more worms than another and a different section produces more sow bugs? Part of the answer is water temperature, the river bottom, which can be very grassy in some sections and clean gravel in others, sunlight and cfs flows.

A Little Stomach Pumping

To best learn what is going in a certain section, pump a fish or two and see what is in their stomachs. Seining may show what is in the water, but often that is not what is in the fish’s stomach. Who knows why these fish key on certain food sources? Even more interesting is that often the Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout key on different bugs.  So pumping stomachs is a key to successful fishing. Also remember that bugs tend to evolve as the day progresses. So you may want to change that nymph in the morning to an emerger or adult pattern later in the day. 

I'm sharing an email I got from a friend who had just been here fishing this week. I think you will find his comments and pictures very educational.  

Let’s Go Fishing!!

 

Seine and use a stomach pump. They tell all.

Always take a bug vile. Put river water in it. Then take a picture of the bugs up toward the sky. Why? because the fish sees them that way so you should look at them the same way. It will change your perspective. Spin the bug bottle so they move all around and take macro tiny close ups and then enlarge the pics on your phone. You will see things you’ve never seen before.

SEINE didn’t reveal any significant population of sowbugs

The first vile is from the seine. Could not find a sowbug bigger than a 24. ttttttiny.
but we did learn why two toned worms work so well….depends if the worm is straighten out or “squished all together” because the color varies widely.

IMG 8878IMG 8880

Tale of two stomaches - with a pump as the inspector

Stomach of a big rainbow #1.
Jammed with case caddis. A few sowbugs, but not many as a percentage. Wild. 

IMG 8886

Stomach #2, Another Rainbow

Down river a mile or so, totally different story.
Damn near adult caddis with a huge reveal on their bodies, below their thorax and under their wings. Lots of green. Lots of green. Huh. Really challenges me to be much more creative on my adult black caddis bodies.

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Published in News
Thursday, 24 April 2014 14:28

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

"Great trip.  Fantastic food and guides.  Fishing perfect!"

~ Preston Dilts  Frankfort MI

bottom-lures

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