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.

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.

IMG 8878IMG 8880

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. 

IMG 8886

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.

IMG 8903IMG 8896

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

Thursday, 24 April 2014 09:28

Spring Fishing

The Spring fishing on the Bighorn has been just excellent even with the higher water flows currently running at around 7500cfs.  Record breaking snow pack and a wet Spring has resulted in the higher flows from the Bighorn Lake. These higher flows have been great for the river, scouring out and rejuvinating the river bottom and creating excellent conditions for the hatches to follow.  While the wade fishing spots are a bit more restrictive the boat fishing has been very good.  Even with the water temp at around 39 degrees,  nymphing with #18 red  midge larve patterns under a #6 orange or red wire worm has been very productive.  Smaller Zebra midges,soft hackel grey rays and fire bead soft hackled sow bugs are also working well.  As the water temps warm up moving in to May the fish will continue to be even more active. Some drye fly action is available now as the midge and baetes hatches are coming on. All indications are that May should be a spectacular dry fly month.  If you are thinkng of making a trip to take advantage of these excellent conditions, we recommend that you call Cheryl at the lodge and book now as reservations are already filling up.
See you on the river!

 

Tuesday, 11 June 2013 20:36

Bighorn River June fishing

June fishing on the Bighorn has produced some excellent results like this beautiful rainbow caught by Dell Despain one of the guides here at the lodge.  The Baetus hatch is pretty much gone so most of the focus has been on nymphing.  Wonder nymphs, zebra midges, brassies, grey rays and some red San Juan worms have all been working.  The choice will vary depending on the time of day and location on the river.  If it works, stay with it until it doesn't and try something else.  The rainbows are approaching the end of their spawning season and the fish in general seem to be moving around to new locations, so it requires a little hunting at times to find them.  We have had a lot of rain in the last week or two and ther river flow increased from 1850 up to 2250 for a day or two.  A good 3500 cfs flush would clean up some of the moss in the river and really help the habitat so I am hoping the new rains will entice the decison makers to do that.  The weather today is in the high 70's and clear and it should be another spectacular day on the river.  We still have some excellent bargains on packages until the end of the month so call Cheryl at the lodge and take advantage of these great rates.  See you on the river!

Rick Gehweiler

Friday, 05 April 2013 11:24

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 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.

Sunday, 04 November 2012 18:00

Bighorn River Fishing Report

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.

Monday, 19 November 2012 18:00

Fall Fishing Report

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!!!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012 18:00

Guides Day Off

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.

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