It’s no secret that the State of Montana is one of the premier fly fishing destinations in the United States. With over 160,000 miles of rivers, the state attracts approximately one million fishing tourists1 each year. While many of these visitors flock to notable fishing spots along the Yellowstone, Missouri, and Madison rivers, there is a hidden gem that offers some of the best fly fishing in the state – the Bighorn River.
Location for Healthy and Abundant Fisheries
One of the greatest stretches of the Bighorn River for fly fishing is the tailwater flowing through a valley filled with inspired scenery. From the Bighorn Reservoir, the water flows into the river from a depth about 500 feet. The temperature remains a consistent 40-55’, perfect for trout. During the summer time, the water temperature might rise to the lower 60’s which results in the trout moving up into shallow riffles. The fertile valley and the limestone and sandstone walls of the Bighorn Canyon adds essential nutrients and creates habitat for the trout.
Large Populations of Trout
The Bighorn River is home to large populations of the most prized fly fishing species, the wild rainbow and brown trout ranging from 14 to 20 inches on average. Some estimates indicate that there are approximately 3,000 to 5,000 fish for every mile of river. While fly fishing is considered best within the first 10 to 15 miles below the dam, there are numerous locations along the river where the population is bountiful.
Great for Beginners and Experienced Fly Fishermen
Whether you are just trying fly fishing for the first time or are a veteran, the Bighorn River has a wide range of experience for any skill level. Fish in the Bighorn River respond to a variety of fly types including nymphs, dry flies, wet flies, and streamers. This provides many options for people looking for either a simple or more technical fishing experience.
The peak of the fishing season on the Bighorn River runs from Spring through Fall when there are a large number of hatches with a peak in the month of August. However, good quality trout can be caught year-round, even during snowstorms. During the winter months, fishermen should focus on using nymphs and streamers around deep pools for best results.
Treat Yourself to a Premium Fly Fishing Experience
If you’re planning your next fishing trip to Montana, look no further than Bighorn River Lodge. Our slice of heaven under the Big Sky offers guests first-class accommodations, amazing cuisine (locally sourced or grown in our on-site greenhouse and garden), and knowledgeable fishing guides. We also offer classes for people who are new to the world of fly fishing. Check out our website or call us today to learn more.