May 23rd ’19 – Opening week started great with a decrease in flows from Clark Canyon Dam
We have had boats on the Beaverhead the last bunch of days, and despite a ruthless wind out of the north, fishing was very good. While most of the fish have been coming on deeper nymph rigs, many trout are rising to blue winged olives in the hot spots and edges.
They have been dropping the flows out of the dam, which were just under 600 CFS to start the week and are now down to 375 CFS. This drop makes wading anglers smile, yet is still plenty of water to float any stretch. Grasshopper Creek is not adding a ton of mud, so the river looks great all the way to Dillon.
Streamer strippers found great fishing with the overcast conditions, which is a very fun way to fish the Beaverhead. We would suggest small minnows and larger crawdad patterns as a starting point. The folks nymphing have been having great success using a sow bug and mayfly nymph combination under bobber rigged anywhere from 5-8′ deep depending on the particular spot.
Those trout that are eating the blue winged olives like an emerger style bug in an #18 tied onto 5x tippet. If wading, a leader at least 10′ in length is a good idea. Those set up from a boat might be able to get away with shorter, but the longer the leader the better the drift. The rises can be subtle, keep your eyes peeled in random soft spots and eddies.
Holler anytime with questions or curiosities on what is going on out on the water, we have guides on the Beaverhead today and will have more intel this evening and tomorrow morning. Keep an eye on the flows, but this weekend is looking like another phenomenal weekend to fish the Beaverhead!
#4 Burgin Bugger – Olive
#4 Sparkle Minnow
#6 Kreelex Silver & Gold
#18 Split Case BWO
#10 San Juan Worm Brown or Pink
#18 Film Critic BWO
#18 Sparkle Dun BWO
#18 Green Machine PT
#18 AnatoMay BWO
#12 Silver Lightning Bug
#18 HiVis Parachute BWO
#14 Soft Hackle Sow Bug
#20 Barrs Emerger
#18 Real Deal Point Fly Olive
Beaverhead Rainbows get big.
May 23rd ’19 Friday Fishing Report & Outlook – Dropping flows and increasing water temps!
After another bout with old man winter, the Big Hole River has been on a steady drop for the last four days. Fishing has picked up from top to bottom, and we will see great conditions for the next week or so through out the Big Hole system. March Browns have been coming off, and we should see more fish looking up as we get into the weekend. Nymphing remains consistent, yesterday reports indicated a preference for stonefly nymph or a small minnow over the popular garden hackle imitation. Check below from fly recommendations.
Streamer anglers also have seen a big increase in action, with lighter tones such as silver, white, and the infamous yellow getting many of the strikes. Keep rotating through your favorite colors, but its important to have minnows and sculpin profiles on deck as well as crawdads for the river downstream from Browne’s bridge.
Those anglers looking for rising trout should be feeling optimistic. We had numerous eats yesterday with our clients using the dry dropper technique, so that is a good sign. We are hoping to see caddis pop this weekend, and the blue winged olives and march browns will certainly be making an appearance at some point. Be sure to keep an eye on foam eddies and tailout foam/bubble lines for your best shot at getting into topwater action.
The water temperatures will be on the way up for the next few days at least, which will bode well for anyone on the Big Hole. Certain sections may get a little busy this weekend, so please give other folks plenty of space and don’t be scared to try a section less fished. Plenty of big healthy trout throughout the river from top to bottom.
We have guides available, shuttle teams ready, and all the advice you might need so please stop by or give us a call at 406-835-3474 if we can help.
Good luck, tight lines, and wet nets,
#4 Mini Dungeon – White
#4 Sparkle Minnow
#4 Smoke & Mirrors Yellow
#6 Zonker – Yellow & Pearl
#6 Flash minnow
#8 Chubby Chernobyl – Purple
#8 Water Walker – Purple
#12 Purple Rooster
#12 Red Copper John
#12 Silver Lightning Bug
#8-10 Girdle Bug – Black
#18 Film Critic BWO
#12 Parachute March Brown
#12-14 Brindle Chute
Sunrise guide Lee Coyle and company getting into quality brown trout during spring/winter conditions.
May 17th ’19 Beaverhead River Fishing report – The long awaited opener on the upper Beaverhead River is here!
Tomorrow marks one of the most fun days on the water, the upper Beaverhead opener! The stretch between Clark Canyon Dam and Pipe Organ Bridge will open to fishing and we are looking forward to top notch fishing in that stretch. The river is coming out of Clark Canyon at 550 CFS, which is a great flow to float and wade fish in the right locations. We are anticipating a great sowbug bite, along with solid streamer fishing given the dark and rainy conditions.
The Mother’s Day caddis may still make an appearance on a warmer evening, however they did pop last week and most reports indicated very little surface activity. We are thinking that Grasshopper Creek will be putting in mud due to the precipitation we are receiving. The flows however can mix that up quickly and there can often be a great worm and/or streamer bite below the confluence.
The narrow channel on the Beaverhead can make for an interesting day when there are lots of anglers, so please be considerate to the other folks on the river. With the river remaining at a nice flows through out the past winter, we are anticipating great fishing on the upper Beaverhead which means that the top section can get a little congested. Call the shop to learn about other sections that can offer great fishing and less anglers. The Henneberry area can be spectacular, and can produce some phenomenal trout without as much crowding as near the Dam.
For the most part, our guides are sticking to the Big Hole but we would love to have anyone for a day down on the Beaverhead. It is well known for large trout and this season is set to be a magical one on Montana’s favorite small tailwater. Call us at 406-835-FISH for the latest report or inquiries!
#4 Smoke & Mirrors – Cream
#6 Kreelex Minnow
#4 Little Kim Copper
#6 Clouser Crawdad
#6 Jewel Thief – Brown & Copper
#18 Film Critic BWO Emerger
#18 Split Case BWO
#16 Soft Hackle Scud Orange
#16 Hot Bead Sow Bug
#10 Ninch’s Fish Finder Worm Pink
#14 Brown Hot Spot San Juan Worm
#6 Zirdle – Tan
Beaverhead River trout grow quick and make for a great day on the water!
May 17th ’19 – Big Hole River Fishing Report – Big river, big trout. And some rain.
Flows on the Big Hole have been on a gradual climb for the past week, and we are seeing the big brown trout activity increase due to an abundance of worms, bugs, and other fish on the menu. Our guides have been consistently putting quality fish in the boat, with more each day. That includes a few really big brown trout! They, along with most other anglers, have been focusing their efforts on the portion of the river upstream of the Wise River confluence. The Wise is adding color to the water, however visibility is still half-decent even down here in Melrose. Now is great time to hire a guide on the Big Hole river, as it is typically the best shot at hooking a big brown trout and also a slightly more difficult time to fish the river without a guide.
A big, bushy dry fly with a worm or girdle bug below has been a consistent fish catcher throughout the last week, with around 3’ between the bugs. Streamer fishing has been making an impact as well, with some very nice trout being fooled by sculpin and minnow imitations. Other anglers are using a small streamer to lead their nymph rig under a bobber and having great success.
Dry fly anglers are being kept honest at the moment, and with that being said, we have had some of the finest trout of the day come up for the dry fly recently. There are a number of skwala stones still crawling around, with the march brown mayflies hatching intermittently. The blue winged olive mayflies will be kicking into gear soon, and with a slight drop in flows we will see fish up in the right spots soon enough.
Flows have passed 5k at Maiden Rock, and we strongly recommend not floating below Jerry Creek unless you have a qualified oarsmen and are looking for more of an experience. We have enough visibility to have solid fishing down on the lower river, however the bite has been tough to put a finger on. Focusing on slower seams and slough edges will be the best bet on the middle and lower portions of the Big Hole. We have rain in the forecast for the near future, and we are expecting the worm and minnow bite to be solid for quite a while throughout the river system.
Cooler nights are on the way, and we are genuinely excited about the next few weeks leading into salmonfly season. The flows are starting to stabilize, and we are hoping to see the middle and lower portions of the Big Hole come back into play during the week. For now, we are offering guides and shuttles on the upper river, so please give us a shout if you are interested in either at 406-835-3474!
-Dan Soltau, Shop Manager
Call 406-835-FISH for the latest word from the river!
#6 Mini Dungeon in Black, Olive, & White
#4 Sparkle Minnow
#4 Little Kim Copper
#6 Girdle Bug in Black & Coffee Variant
#4 Flash Minnow
#8 Chubby Chernobyl (UV) (Gold) (Purple)
#6 Zonker in White & Natural over Copper
#8 Jig Squirmy Wormy
#10 Ninch’s Fish Finder Worm Burgundy
#10 Heavy P Nymph
#6 Danny Boy Sculpin
#2 DWFCo Walter’s Weakness is Black & Olive & Silver & Tan
Co-owner and outfitter Ryan Barba putting Lynn, a favorite client of ours on a true trophy brown trout from just a few days back near Jerry Creek on the Big Hole River.
Flows on the Big Hole are starting to come up daily due to some snowmelt but not enough to put the fishing down. Fishing has been pretty darn good lately even with the slight bump in flows. Clarity remains around 4 feet. We have some skwalas around and March Brown mayflies. Our Big Hole River guides have been fishing on the upper Big Hole, Canyon stretches and the lower Big Hole. All three sections of the Big Hole has been fishing well. Water temperatures are hitting the magic number of 50 degrees lately, which has gotten the streamer junkies excited. We have done well on black, olive, and tan streamers. As we all know, conditions this time of year can change quick. Give us a call for up to date information. 406-835-3474.
Recommended Flies: #10 Water Walker Olive; #8 Mr. Beam; #12 Parachute Adam’s; #8 T.J. Hooker; #8 Pat’s Stone; #12 Prince Nymph; #10 Squirmy Worm; #8 San Juan Worm Pink/Red #6 Smokin’ Mirrors Black; #6 Flash Minnow Yellow; #6 She Deamon; Sex Dungeon Black/Yellow/White
During last week we saw some colder temperatures that stopped some of the spring snowmelt and we saw the river drop back down near historical averages. With the drop in flows the visibility improved and we started having some really good fishing. We started seeing a few skwalas flying around, and as a result fish were coming up for a dry fly. Our best fishing for the last few days has come while using a dry/dropper with a Skwala dry and a San Juan worm. The forecast for the next week is calling for some warmer daytime temperatures and as a result we might see the river start to bump. Hopefully any increases will be minimal and we will continue to see good fishing on the Big Hole. Give us a call at the shop to get the most up to date report on the river condition.
The Big Hole has bounced back from the last recent bump in flows. We have 2 feet of visibility, dropping water and the fish are looking up for Skwalas. Our best dry fly fishing has been from Maiden Rock all the way to Notch Bottom. Look for your best dry fly action to be from 1:00 to 6:00pm. This week will be prime time for the Big Hole Skwala hatch. Slow moving streamers have also been getting it done for us. The best streamers of choice have been Coffee buggers, Natural Slap and tickles and Yellow/black beldars.
Image of a Big Hole River Skwala
The Beaverhead River has been fishing ok as of lately. Remember the river is closed from the Dam to Pipe Organ until the 3rd Saturday in May. We have had some dry fly fishing on the overcast days with Blue winged Olives. Sow bugs under an indicator with a blue wing nymph has been keeping our rods bent. Below Grasshopper we have been able to move some nice fish on streamers.
Client Alan Elm with a nice 20 inch brown on the Beaverhead.
We are currently having some of the best streamer fishing we have seen in years for huge browns on the upper Big Hole. It has been flat out amazing streamer fishing this week. Large yellow streamers stripped fast off the banks has been getting the large Big Hole Browns attention. We have been floating anywhere from Fishtrap all the way to Jerry Creek. I had a solid report from Divide to Melrose yesterday on streamers. Some Mother’s Day Caddis are around and once we get a warm sunny day the caddis will pop hard. These overcast cloudy days are keeping the fish interested in streamers. With 2 feet of visibility the river is in great shape for mid May.
One of the Many large browns caught this week on the Big Hole River fishing in Southwest Montana
Southwest Montana is starting to feel like winter is turning the corner. Our valley temperatures have been above freezing this week and man does it feel good. Don’t let this fool you that the fishing is picking up and we are out there fishing the Big Hole. The Melrose guage remains reading ICE and all guages for that matter are not reading flow on the river except the Maiden Rock guage. The above freezing day time highs has started to break the ice from the lower reaches of the Big Hole. It will remain mild through tomorrow and then it looks like we will get blasted with another winter storm on Monday and Tuesday. Our Montana snowpack and the Big Hole snowpack is still increasing from the past week storms. We are currently at 115% of normal snowfall and the snowpack has a snow/water content of 140% of normal. It’s almost time to dust off your waders and get your drift boat ready for the Spring fishing season on the Big Hole and Beaverhead rivers. Our Big Hole River fishing guides will keep you posted as conditions improve and we start to get on our home waters.
Our season officially wrapped up October 26th. We had one of the best fall fishing seasons on the Big Hole that we can remember in many years. Increased flows due to some big snow storms in the mountains at the end of September set us up for an excellent fall. We had great streamer fishing with the rising flow from the snow storms. Here are some of the highlight photos from the fall on the Big Hole and Beaverhead rivers. We will be in touch with more to come this off season.
23 inch brown from this past October on the Big Hole River
Monster Beaverhead Rainbow from this past October