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.

Monday, 18 April 2016 19:00

Bighorn River Spring

The Bighorn River considered by many to be the best trout river in the country and home to a prolific population of beautiful Rainbow and Brown trout is also home to an abundance of spectacular bird and waterfowl residents.  Elegant tuxedo-clad Canadian geese, grey coated doves, velour draped pheasant, green headed mallards, white helmeted bald eagles, huge purple cloaked Blue Heron and my favorite the majestic Sand Hill crane are just some of the entourage that provide some spectacular sights and sounds for the soul.

Spring time heralds the height of activity as each specie reenacts it annual mating and birth cycle.  Each morning mother nature presents her symphony as the participants proclaim their place in the dance of rebirth.  As the eastern skies lighten a few members of the symphony begin to tune up.  First perhaps the soft flute coo of a dove, then maybe a crackle from a pheasant, and soon for sure the Canadian geese begin to stir up what only can be described as the bicycle horn section.  As the first pink and orange rays of the rising sun peak over the eastern hills mother nature taps her conductor’s wand and the symphony begins with earnest rising in tempo and enthusiasm setting the perfect pitch for the day.

As the day moves forward the continuing intermittent music is accompanied by the sights of our four sets of resident pairs of nesting geese coming and going as they leave to feed in nearby fields and return to our five-acre bass pond filling the air with their calls and wheeling in for a close formation landing like a pair of top gun F-18s as the glide in, flaps down for a perfect water landing.  Just off to the right a giant blue heron glides by its huge wing span needing no more than an occasional effort to propel its aerodynamic form effortlessly thought the air on its way to the river bank where it will stand like a statue in the shallows awaiting its unsuspecting breakfast.  Then off in the distance you can hear the deep throated castoneted cackle of the elusive Sand Hills and then there they come, easily eight feet in length with gigantic wing spans, majestic elongated necks and beaks with long trialing spindled legs exchanging their calls and gliding off to who know where. Magnificent.

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The Bighorn River is a wealth of wildlife and we can visit more about that next time, but it’s a beautiful day and there are fly rods to set up, dry fly and nymph patterns to consider, fish to be caught and I’m burning daylight.

Monday, 11 April 2016 19:00

Opening Day at the Bighorn River Lodge

It has been a very mild winter in Montana this year and as a result there have been some excellent opportunities to get in some early and very productive trips down the Bighorn River. Can you believe days of 60-70 degrees in January and February!!  The warm weather and higher than usual winter water temperatures have the native Rainbows and Browns active and hungry. Nymphing has been exceptional at times with some midge dry fly action occasionally available on the warmer days. While the lodge was closed as usual during the winter, our guides reported some great fish days during these frequent warm windows of opportunity.  Usually we do not open until April 1st, but since we had some requests in March we did get the operation up and running early this season.

opening day 001opening day 002

Meet John and Allison from Austin, Texas who just had to give it a try in mid- March.  Relatively new to fly fishing, you can tell by the smiles on their faces that their experience was more than they had hoped for.  The weather cooperated and our guide Adam Berg got them into some nice rainbows and as you can see.

If you are not already on the books call Cheryl to see what dates may still be available.  406-666-2368 or email us.  It is going to be a great year.  See you on the Bighorn!!

Sunday, 17 January 2016 18:00

Spring 2016 at the Bighorn River Lodge

2016 looks to be another great year for fly fishing on the Bighorn River.  The Bureau of Reclamation has already increased the river flows which is rare for this time of year and this hopeful sign can only be good for the river and the health of those beautiful Rainbows and Browns.

Last year’s BWO hatch stretched from late April through May and into early June. The dry fly fishing was outstanding.  We are hopeful that we will see these conditions again this Spring. 

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The Bighorn River Alliance, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to promoting and working to preserve and protect the health of the river, has a new full time executive director. Anne Marie Emery was previously director on the Henry’s Fork and we are very lucky to have someone with her expertise, experience and credentials working for us to help ensure the health and quality of the Bighorn.  Her work with the Bureau of Reclamation will be of critical value in managing water flows and fish habitat.

We are also very happy to announce that Shawn Smith our fabulous Chef from two years ago will be returning after a one-year hiatus in Salt Lake City armed with new ideas, menu items and who know what but we are sure it will be outstanding. Welcome back Shawn!!

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Sunday, 29 November 2015 03:30

Fishing On the Bighorn River in the Fall

Okay you are going to love this one. So we have a wonderful client, Howard Hargrove, who has been coming to the Bighorn River Lodge for around 20 years every fall to fish regardless of the weather. He is after big browns ready for the spawn. So this year he brought his son Grant who had never been to the Bighorn. Having just graduated from college this was a present from his father. So here is the deal. Last week, his first trip on the first day, and this was the first fish of the day. 

fall fishing 11-15

A monster 26” brown. Not bad for a rookie. I told him he might as well pack his bag and go home now cause it’s not gonna get any better than that. You can imagine the heat he had to take over the next three days. Congratulations Grant!

As a reminder the fall fly fishing can be spectacular. I went out last week when the high was 50 and believe it or not there was a BWO hatch. Spotty on the dry flies but we had a great day nymphing with a #18 grey RS2. Just a beautiful day and virtually no one on the river. Keep October and November on your list of OFF SEASON RATE possibilities. We are talking big healthy fish. See you on the river!!!

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.

Monday, 17 August 2015 19:00

Winter Schedule and Reminders

Fishing on the Bighorn remains good. We have had some great trico hatches and the caddis are not far behind. As we head into fall we are looking forward to some great streamer fishing as well. With the season entering its final months we would like to pass along some information. 
Please note the following:

  • Last October produced some of the best fishing of the year so check our OFF SEASON RATES which begin October 1st.

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  • The facilities at the lodge will be closed as of Dec. 8th and reopen on April 1st of 2016.
  • The office however will remain open throughout the winter in order to accept reservations for the coming season and to answer any questions you may have.
  • With that in mind we urge everyone returning next year or anyone who is considering coming for the first time to BOOK EARLY!
  • This ensures that you will secure the dates that you want and that we can book our superb guides as soon as possible. If you have a request for a certain guide this is the best way to make sure we can grant your request.

As a point of information all guides are independent contractors and they take the first booking requests they get from wherever that inquiry comes from.  So again by booking early we are able to get our requests into them as early as possible which helps us book the best guides possible.

It has been a great year so far and next year should be just as good so get your plans started and remember to BOOK EARLY!

Contact us by calling the office at 406-666-2368 or emailing us.

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.

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.

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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. 

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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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Wednesday, 13 August 2014 17:18

Dry Fly Fishing

Dry fly fishing on the Birghorn is upon us.  The Browns and Rainbows are taking hoppers with a variety of emerger patterns as droppers. A Super Bettle and large ant patterns with a black caddis trailer are also working well.   With the lower water levels these combos are best in the riffles and deeper runs.  Sight fishing with black caddis and an emerger dropper is best in the later afternoons and evenings.

Nymphing with a wire worm and droppers of soft hackel grey rays or soft hackel pink or tan sow bugs is also still productive.  Droppers of zebra midges or quill numphs seem to work better from the Bighorn Rapids down where the black caddis are more prevelent.  Still a lot of summer left so come fish with us!!!

 

Rick and Cheryl

Thursday, 10 July 2014 11:09

Summer Fishing

Well June fishing was excellent at times, however we were plagued by a lot of moss in the river during the second half of the month.  The good news is that the river water flows have been increased to accommodate the snow melt inflows into the Bighorn Lake,  These higher flows into the Bighorn river have scoured out most of the moss, increased water clarity and expose a lot of gravel beds.  As a result the nymph fishing has been red hot over the past few days and that should continue.  the go to flies have been a #4 or #6 wire worm witha variety of droppers including pink or tan softhackle sowbugs, pink scuds, quill nymphs and flashback pts.  Those 16"-18" Rainbows and Browns two months ago are now 18"20" with 20"+ fish not uncommon.  They are healthy, hungry and full of fight.

River water temps have risen into the mid and upper 50s with the warmer weather setting the stage for PMD and Yellow Sally hatches which are very close with these perfect conditions.  The dry fly fishing should be excellent.  So now is the time to get to the Bighorn river here in Montana and experience some fo the best fly fishing available anywhere in the world.  Be sure to call Cheryl at the lodge (406-666-2368) and schedule a trip in July, August or September.

 

SEE YOU ON THE RIVER

RICK

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