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!
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 the Bighorn River Lodge have been doing well on smoke jumper midges, sipper midges, and small Adams. As the river warms up the Blue wing olives start to hatch, and by mid afternoon the river has a blanket of Blue wing olive duns. With the large trout population this year you can stay in one spot for several hours catching fish on the surface. Size 16 and 18 Snowshoe Baetis, CDC BWO, RS2's have all been working great. The Bighorn River lodge has a new selection of great flies tied by the guides. This selection of flies have been the guides go to flies for years. Take time to come in to the Bighorn River Lodge fly shop when you arrive for your trip and check out the new flies, the are durable and tied here in Montana. The Bighorn River is fishing great right now and the weather has been just perfect. If you haven't been down fishing the Bighorn yet this year, you need to come down and check out the great dry fly fishing the river has to offer.
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 winter holding areas into shallower water below some riffles and into some flats. A strong midge hatch over the last 2 weeks have contributed to a change in feeding frequency and allowed for some pretty productive nymphying. While successful patterns change with the day and time of day, I have had pretty good success with #18 grey rays and a #18 or #20 skinny nelson dropper. Any good small black midge dropper will do well right now. Small pt's are also worth a try. The dry fly action is pretty challenging with the fish a bit spooky and selective on the midge pattern. Samll BWO patterns with a midge emerger dropper is worth a try. The snow pack is strong and with a full reservoir the water conditons for the river look good for this year. The fishing is goo right now and will only get better. This beauty was caught last Wednesday by a friend, and as you can see the rainbows, which are entering their spawning season are big, strong and full of color. Check in with Cheryl at the lodge for Spring specials. I am going out tomorrow and will report back.
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.
Fall fishing continues to be very productive on the Bighorn. Warmer than usual weather for this time of year has made for great days on the river with temps staying in the mid 50's for the last 2 weeks. Today and tomorrow temps are in the 60's!!!. The fish seemed to have move into deeper water, although some riffles and flats are still holding fish. A little more effort required to find them, but then we were pretty spoiled August through Ocotber when the fish were just everywhere you looked. Grey, tan and especially pink rays coupled with a size 18 Quill Nymph or Skinny Nelson still working pretty darn good. Flashback Pt's also worth try. Dry fly fishing a little tough lately although there are still very good Baetus hatches daily, but the fish aren't as focused on them as you might think. Still doable with a little patience however, and the focus could change in the blink of an eye Streamer fishing is picking up especially on overcast days, although it has been pretty bright and clear for the most part so waiting until late afternoon when the light is lower in the sky is better.
This is a great time of year to be fishing here with very few boats ( we saw maybe 3-4 yesterday) and the fish are still eating like gangbusters as winter approaches. The Bighorn River Lodge is open into December so take advantage of our off season rates, the great weather, great fishing and no crowds with excellent opportunities for double digit fish days. See you on the river!!!
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.
Carlo and i had a day off from the river and decided to take the Nitro bass boat up to Bighorn Lake. Let's keep going, a little farther, one more bend. After 35 miles up the canyon we decided to stop and start fishing. We looked around and there was bait everywhere. There were thousands of small emerald shiners swimming up to the surface getting chased by Small Mouth Bass, Walleye, Sauger; we didn't know. Carlo had a great idea to wind drift the boat off of the point of the lake and start to jig. About 30 minutes later on, during the second pass we started to get some bites.
Here is one of the Saugeye we caught that day. Saugeye are a walleye, sauger cross that is prevalent in the upper Bighorn Lake near the Wyoming border.