406-666-2368

iconEAT OUT

EAT

Our on-site Chef prepares the freshest meals and serves them at a harvest table for your whole party

ionSLEEP OUT

SLEEP

Spend your nights in the comfort of the Lodge, with its deck overlooking the river or stay in the Caddis Cabin

iconFISH OUT

FISH

Experience the serenity of the Bighorn River and learn how to flyfish from our professional river guides

Thursday, 12 January 2017 00:00

Bighorn River: Current Winter Conditions Look Promising for Spring Fishing

Written by

The Bighorn River Lodge is excited by the aspect of an excellent water year and another year of great fishing.  Here are some of the factors that we will be monitoring.

Snow Pack, Temperatures and Water Flow Point To Plentiful Spring and Summer Fishing

Snow Pack:  Early snows this year have helped bring the average snowpack levels back to a normal trend for the Bighorn Basin after a few years of lower than normal levels.  Current snowpack is at 108% of normal and given the standard trend for more snow in February and March we should be in great shape for the year.

Temperatures:  A return to normal freezing temperatures this winter is a good sign for the river for a couple of reasons.

  • Consistent colder temperatures mean the snowpack stays around longer.
  • Should this trend continue it will also be interesting to see what effect it will have on algae and grass growth in the river.  Hopefully this will reduce the prolific growth we saw in mid and late summer in 2016.

Water Flows:  Currently the river is running at 2626 CFS.  The Bureau of Reclamation which controls flows has set this as the winter flow level. However, the Bighorn River Alliance will be monitoring the situation and hopefully working with BOR to suggest adjustment to water releases as the situation dictates. The factors that affect these releases are.

  • Snow pack levels. While it looks like we are in for a good year based on current levels, we must stay vigilant of spring conditions which effect snow melt rates and therefore river flows.
  • Winter temperatures.  The colder it stays the longer the snow pack remains and conversely warmer mid-winter temps can deplete the snow pack too early resulting in early higher level releases from the lake. 
  • Spring precipitation.  Again, too warm of a spring and too much precipitation can push the BOR to order higher than welcome flows.

bighorn river snowpack 17The key is to work with the BOR who traditionally want to store as much water as possible in the lake to cover their needs. If storage capacity in the lake is near maximum and we are looking at a large snowpack then hopefully we can persuade them to modify their approach, raise winter flow rates to avoid large releases in late spring and early summer.  These large releases can negatively affect dry fly hatches in the Spring and Rainbow spawning in the summer months. But bottom line is it looks REALLY GOOD for 2017.

This Is Your Destination For The Montana Fly Fishing Experience

Montana’s Bighorn River Lodge has drawn avid fly fishing enthusiasts and sportsmen alike for decades. Known as the finest trout river in the country, the Bighorn River boasts an abundance of trout ranging in size from 14 to 18 inches, many exceeding 20 inches. Recent fish counts indicate an unsurpassed fish population of 5000 - 6000 brown and rainbow trout per river mile. The Bighorn River is situated on the eastern edge of the Rock Mountains just north of the Wyoming-Montana state line. If you are looking for a once in a lifetime Montana fly fishing vacation, this is your destination!

watch video

Discover the Beauty of the Bighorn River and Enjoy the Rustic Elegance Of Our Classic Western Lodge

The Bighorn River Lodge provides the ultimate in Montana comfort as well as outdoor adventure. We specialize in creating the perfect fly fishing experience for our guests with expert Montana fly fishing guides, resort-like accommodations and gourmet cuisine. Guests may choose to stay in one of the 5 comfortable lodge bedrooms, fitted with two beds and Big Sky charm or rent our spacious private Caddis Cabin with its 3 bedrooms, accommodating up to 6 guests. With its log cabin atmosphere and western hospitality, the Bighorn River Lodge is the ideal Montana fishing destination.

watch video

Begin and end your day with exceptional culinary creations prepared by our Executive Chef and staff

watch video

home map

Physical Address:
301 Bighorn River Lodge Loop
St. Xavier, MT 59075

Mailing Address:
PO Box 157
St. Xavier, MT 59075

MAKE A RESERVATION

Fishing For Compliments

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

~ Preston Dilts  Frankfort MI

Recent News

Bighorn River Lodge Cast and Blast

Cast and Blast Cast and Blast is a term that many people Hear  out there. What is the Cast and Blast? The cast and blast is combining a great day of...

Read more

Great Dry Fly fishing

This spring on the Bighorn River we have seen some incredible dry fly fishing. Starting out in the morning fish are active eating midges on the surface. The guides at...

Read more

Spring Fishing

Some warmer weather days in March has produced some excellent opportunities to knock off the winter rust and go fishing.  The fish have begun to move out of their deep...

Read more

Winter Fishing on the Bighorn

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...

Read more

Who Comes To the Bighorn River Lodge?

New inquiries often ask about the suitability of The Bighorn River Lodge experience and how it relates to their specific needs. Here’s some of the questions we are asked. Is it...

Read more

Bighorn River: Current Winter Conditions Look Promising for Spring Fishing

The Bighorn River Lodge is excited by the aspect of an excellent water year and another year of great fishing.  Here are some of the factors that we will be...

Read more

Fly Fishing Basics

Fly fishing dates back hundreds of years, but it gained the most popularity in North America during the 19th and 20th centuries. From presidents to the common man, the challenge...

Read more

Staff Field Trip

                                                            Staff...

Read more

Returning Chef Knows How To Feed Those Fly Fishing On the Bighorn River

Promising Spring Fishing Reports Means Hungry Anglers at the Bighorn River Lodge The days are starting to get a little longer and we are all eagerly awaiting the 2017 fishing season...

Read more

EAT. SLEEP, FISH Part 1

EAT We are extremely excited to have Shawn Smith our Chef back for a third year.  Shawn worked here at the Bighorn River Lodge for two years, took a sabatical for...

Read more

Planting a seed...

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. ...

Read more
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .