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.
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.