The Big Hole is back in shape once again. There is 3 feet of visibility on the upper river and 2 feet of visibility around Melrose. We will have a good week of fishing while the Big Hole is on the drop. This will be a good opportunity to fish before the next warm up and push of water. Everyone is wondering and thinking that we will be blown out the next three weeks, this is not true. We will get higher water again once the upper elevation snow melts but this will not last for weeks. Stay in touch and get the most up to date information. Caddis should pop this week, let’s hope it is fishable when they hatch. Streamers and worms have been the ticket in the slow water and inside seams.
We’ve seen some warm weather over that last several days, but the Big Hole River has handled it rather well. A lot of people were predicting flooding by this weekend, but that hasn’t come even close to happening. The river has come up, it is currently flowing at 3620 CFS, and it has about 18 inches of visibility. Finding fishable water on Southwest Montana rivers is tough right now.
The river has been increasing every night for the last three days, but then it has been leveling off or slightly dropping over night. The forecast for the next five days show that the daytime highs are going to be in the low 50’s and the nighttime lows in the low 30’s. This drop in temps should slow the snowmelt and bring the river flows back down. There is some precipitation in the forecast, but it doesn’t look like enough to have much of an impact on the river flows.
The fishing has been decent over the last few days, but you have to work for ’em. The good thing is that we have been getting some really nice fish in the upper river. On Friday we had a single client catch 7 fish over 18 inches, with his largest measuring 22 inches.
We have been slow stripping streamers and having good action nearly all day. The color of the most successful streamers has been Yellow, Olive, and Bright and Flashy. Most of the fish that our Big Hole River Guides are catching are holding tight to the bank.
We woke up this morning to our second good frost in a row, which is good, because it stopped any snowmelt that yesterday’s heat started. Last night the Mud Creek and Wise River Gauges leveled off for a few hours, but as of 6:00 AM on the 12th, both the Mud Creek and Wise River Gauges were back on the drop. Here in Melrose the gauge shows that the river dropped all night and that it is starting to level off just now. I just went down to the Salmon Fly Fishing Access here in Melrose and the river is still off color, but the visibility has improved since last night. I don’t know that I would give it a full 18 inches if visibility, but its close. The sun wasn’t on the river yet, so it was hard to tell how clear the water really was.
Bottom line is that I think the Big Hole will fish today. You will probably have to go upriver to find cleaner water, but the upper river is my favorite place to fish this time of year.
If you want to Streamer fish, use yellow, white, orange or flashy flies and strip as slow as you can. If you are into nymphing, go with stoneflies, San Juans, and even try dead drifting one of those streamers mentioned above.
I am feeling good enough about the conditions that I am going to guide on the Big Hole today. When I went to bed I was thinking that I was going to be heading over to the Madison, but I like what we are seeing this morning.
We’ll keep you posted as conditions change.
Ryan and I both had a chance to float the Big Hole yesterday and do some fishing for ourselves.
I launched at Jerry Creek, where two days before I had done a quick evening float and had phenomenal dry fly fishing with skwallas. The fishing wasn’t quite as consistent as it had been on the 3rd, but the wind with pummeling us with 20 to 30 MPH gusts, so casting to the right spots on the bank was a little difficult. When we did get the fly up near the bank, we got fish to rise to our fly.
Ryan and Chuck went up to Sportsman’s and fished streamers for a few hours before sunset. Luckily for the two of them, they didn’t have to deal with the winds that I battled 15 miles down river. In the short period of time that Ryan and Chuck were on the river, they did extremely well, landing 10 fish over 18 inches.
With continued cool weather in the 5-day forecast, it looks like we should see the fishing continue to be solid on top and sub-surface though the next week.
*We’ll keep you posted when we start to see Mother’s Day Caddis*