406-666-2368

Rick Gehweiler

Rick Gehweiler

The lodge welcomed Rick and Cheryl Gehweiler to the team as general managers in the summer of 2012. Their backgrounds in property management, the hospitality industry, and guiding brought a fresh outlook to the lodge dynamics. Avid fly fishermen, they have spent much of their free time fishing the Northwest, parts of the Bahamas and the Yucatan. Rick and Cheryl have been fishing the Bighorn each summer for almost 20 years prior to their employment at the Bighorn River Lodge. Their friendly attitudes, attention to detail, and fishing expertise will ensure that every guest has the experience of a lifetime.

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.

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. 

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.

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.  

Monday, 15 July 2019 17:58

Bighorn River fishing is red hot

If you have been waiting for the Bighorn River to really turn on, wait no longer. Our guides are reporting 10-20 fish per angler per day consistantly and the fish are big, health and strong. A lot of fish in the 18"-20" range with some up to 22". While flows are at 9,500 cfs currently the fishing is really good. If this liitle girl (my neighbor) can catch fish ( she had 8 this day) then by golly you can. The flows are expected to drop to 7,000 soon and 5,000 perhaps by the end of the month. The water temps are in the mid 50's which have the fish really agressive and on the feed. As the flows drop, all of the water will be coming through the turbine gates which should keep the water temps down. Nymph action is best on size #14 grey or tan Ray Charles and #16 Caviar Scuds along with with PMD nymphs, Olive Flashback PTs, pink Soft Hackle Sowbugs #18 Black Tung Teasers and Caddis Pupa. The other good news is that we are seeing PMDs, Yellow Salleys and Black Caddis. Dry flying action is on the rise as some fish are taking these patterns in the back eddies and fast riffles. As the water flows drop and the temps hold steady this could produce some epic dry fly action. Hey if this liitle girl (my neighbors) can catch 8 of these beauties in one day then I would certainly think you can. Take the challange. Call Cheryl in the office at 406-666-2368. Life is short. The Bighorn is calling. The fish are waiting. Why are you?!!. See you on the river!!

Tuesday, 25 June 2019 11:32

Bighorn River - Big Fish

While we are experiencing higer flows than anticiapted for June the good news is that the flows are beginning to drop and the water is clear with temperatures in the mid 50's which has produced some veryu prolific fishing.  The other good news is that while fish counts may be down the size and health of the fish is as good as we have ever seen.  Our guides are reporting consistant 20 fish days with sizes ranging from 15" to 22" and a few above that.  Do not let the high flow myth deter you from coming to the Bighorn.  Some of the best fishing I have ever had has been in high flows.  That is proving to be true today.  And do not let the fish count information deter you either.  I am telling you these fish are big, beautiful and strong with a large percemtage being Rainbows.  It is a question of quality over quantity.  Take a look at this 22" brown caught by Dee Rolph and ask your self "would I rather catch 20-30 cookie cutter fish in the 13"-15" range or 12-20 in this size range."  Pretty sure we would all agree on the latter. Come see us at the lodge and let's go fishing!   Call Cheryl today  406-666-2368  

Friday, 22 March 2019 12:05

Looks like a Good Year for Bighorn River

 

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

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.  

Monday, 25 September 2017 19:00

Fall Fishing

                            FALL FISHING PICKING UP !!                  

Fall has come to the Bighorn River and with the change of cooler weather and some cloudy days the fishing has shifted gears a bit.  The Trico hatch is still on as well as some prolific Pseudo hatches. Dry fly action in the morings and in some cases carrying on into the afternoon can be awesome.  Nymping is still mediocre due in part to the floating grasses still breaking loose from the river bottom and banks as they continue to deteriorate in the cooler weather. However streamer fishing is good especially on those cloudy days.  Fall is just a spectacular time on the Bighorn and our guides will find the fish whatever the conditions may be. Call the office, talk to Cheryl and take advantage of great fall fisiing. 

Monday, 07 August 2017 19:00

Bighorn River Fishing Report

                                          BIGHORN RIVER FISHING REPORT

Water Flows:  As of today the water is running at 4,000CFS. Only a couple of weeks ago we were at 9,000.  The Bureau of Reclamation who controls the water releases from Yellowtail Dam have been dropping the flows at a 500 cfs clip almost daily for more than a week. I would expect that we may see some further reductions this coming week. The good news is that with these lower flows more wade spots are now available and fish should move into some riffles for the more oxygenated water. 
 Water Temperatures: The water temperature yesterday at 3-mile was 62 degrees which is a bit confusing given the fact that with these lower releases all the water from the dam is coming through the turbines and off the bottom of the lake where the water is the coldest.  Hopefully we will soon see the water temps back in the higher 50's which is better for the fish.
 Fishing: The bite is definitely back on as of this past week.  During those two weeks of daily flow changes the fish were confused and fishing was challenging,  But this last week they seem to have gotten their bearings.  Our clients are having 20 fish days with the occasional 20 inch Rainbow or Brown. I was out two days ago with one of our guides Ron Ford and I had a 25 fish day with a nice fat 18" Rainbow to cap off the afternoon. . 
  • Dry Fly Fishing: Dry fly fishing has dropped off considerably with the end of the Trico hatch. Some fish can be found taking midges and the occasional Black Caddis, but these are one or two fish with very sporadic activity and the pod action on significant hatches is pretty much over for the time being. 
  • Nymph Fishing:  The Nymph fishing has been excellent the last week and should continue. After a week or two of constant changing water flows the fish seemed to have regained their bearing and focus on eating.  20+ fish days are common. Grass growth is an issues so having a good guide that knows where the clear lanes and spots are as well as what kind of set up to use is critical.  
  • Streamer Fishing: Streamer fishing has been hot and cold. We had one guides who said he turned 50 + fish one day and then couldn't get their attention the next.  Cloud cover and the hot patterns are the key to success.
Fly Patterns
  • Dries: #18,20 Sipper Midge,#18,20 Midge Cluster, #18 CDC Black Caddis, #18 Black Hemingway Caddis, #14 Mahogany trailed with a #18 quil nymph or Black Tunk Teaser.
  • Nymphs: #16,18 Pink Soft Hackle Sow Bug, #16,18 Tan or Grey Soft Hackle Ray, #16,18 Orange or Pink Scud, # 16,18 Flashback PT, #18,20 Sunken Trico,  #16 Chenille San Juan Worm in wine or two tone wine/brown, #4,6,8 Red Wire Worm.
  • Streamers: # 6 Emerald Shiner, #4,6 White or Cream Wooly Bugger, #8 Black Squirrel Leech, #6 Thin Mint Wolly Bugger, #4 Grey Zonkeo, #4,6 Bighorn Wooly Bugger (yellow/brown)
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