Beaverhead River Fishing Report

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May 28th ’19 – Slowly dropping flows making for great fishing and excellent wading

The powers that be within Clark Canyon Dam have dropped the flows to just over 300 CFS for the moment, making for an excellent opportunity to get after some of the quality trout within the Beaverhead. Blue wing olives are hatching daily, and trout are in position rising to them in certain spots by about 11 am. The lower flows can make things a little tight with folks in drift boats and the bank rat crowd, so please be courteous when enjoying the festivities.

Small mayfly nymphs have continued to produce, as have sow bug and scud imitations. In the deeper runs and holes, try a nymph rig with your heavier bug on the bottom along with a split shot for the most sensitivity. It requires more of a flip upstream than a traditional fly cast, but it sure works! Once you have located a few rising trout, a long leader in the 11-12′ range down to 5x will help your chances. A blue winged olive emerger pattern in a #18 will do the trick if presented properly.

Keep an eye out for the flows to change, and look forward to the fish liking a worm pattern once that takes place. Streamer fishing is a time honored technique on the Beaverhead, and now is nice flow to do it both out of the boat or on foot. The big trout in the Beaverhead love a crawdad, along with small minnows and sculpin. A slightly longer leader off of your sink tip will help get down through the hydraulics and into the zone the fish like. Give it a couple twitches and hold on!

Give us a shout anytime for the latest reports, we have had guides on the Beaverhead quite a bit lately and our clients have been nothing short of thrilled of the quality of trout so far this year. Please let us know if we can help your next trip down this awesome tailwater!


Link to Information on Salmonfly Fest 2019


#4 JJ Special
#6 Sparkle Minnow
#4 Little Kim Copper
#8 Crane Fly Larvae
#18 Split Case BWO Nymph
#18 Film Critic BWO Emerger

#18 BWO Cripple
#16 Soft Hackle Sow Bug
#20 Barrs Emerger
#18 Rocky Mountain Mint Olive
#18 Purple Craze
#16 Split Winged BWO

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Big Hole River Fishing Report

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May 28th ’19 – A-May-Zing time to be out on the Big Hole River

We had a wonderful Memorial Weekend in southwest Montana with the typical wet weather pattern we see this time of the year. Thank you to all the families and those whose gave their life so that we can all go fishing and enjoy the great outdoors. Many of the rivers in the state are in wonderful condition, and that made for a slightly more calm and less crowded weekend on the Big Hole. The fishing is great from top to bottom and we should see that continue with the nice weather headed our way, finally.  Not too long and we will be hearing the murmurs that precede the legendary salmonfly hatch and the excitement of Salmonfly Fest 2019 which is going to be Friday the 14th and Saturday the 15th of June. Stay tuned for all the details!

Anglers have been doing very well running a large dry fly with a worm or nymph dropper, taking fish on both ends.  As our flows start to increase, many sections will also favor a deeper nymph rig. The grannom caddis came through and have given a number of people a great time on the caddis dry fly, with a few fish looking up regardless of bug activity. We have seen the trout transition into the faster zones and out of the slower inside seams and pools. Our guides have had excellent results rowing their tails off and putting our guests into quality trout on the outside banks and faster riffle drops. What a hoot!

Those with larger quarry in mind using larger meals have been enjoying a very good streamer bite, with fish upriver keying on small minnows/sculpin and the fish downriver going ham for crawdad imitations coming off the full moon. Pressure has been spread out, and it has been nice to have the river to yourself. Rising flows will keep the streamer bite moving, and we are on the lookout for the bigger browns with the current flows.

Holler at us for the latest word from the river, to reserve a guide, or book a shuttle. We have three more days before the regulations set in on the Big Hole, so if you want to fish with one of our expert guides on the Big Hole River, act fast! Folks book a year out to fish in June and July, so sneak in ahead and reap the benefits!

Tight lines and wet nets,


Link to Salmonfly Fest June 14th, 15th 2019


#6 Mini Dungeon White
#6 Mini Dungeon Olive
#2 Wedgehead Black
#6 Pat’s Stone – Black
#4 Sparkle Minnow
#8 Chubby Chernobyl (UV) (Gold) (Purple)
#16 Bloom’s Caddis

#14 Corn Fed Caddis
#10 Jumpin Jack Flash
#14 Silver Lightning Bug
#6 JJ Special
#4 Smoke & Mirrors Silver & Blue
#16 Split Winged BWO
#16 Blue Winged Olive Comparadun

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May 23rd 2019 Beaverhead Fishing Report & Weekend Outlook

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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!



Dan Soltau




#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

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Beaverhead Rainbows get big.


May 23rd 2019 Big Hole River Fishing Report & Weekend Outlook

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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,

Dan Soltau

Shop Manager


#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

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Sunrise guide Lee Coyle and company getting into quality brown trout during spring/winter conditions.


May 17th ’19 – Beaverhead River opener outlook and fishing report.

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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

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Beaverhead River trout grow quick and make for a great day on the water!


May 17th ’19 Big Hole River Fishing Report – Big brown trout.

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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

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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.


Fish On! In the Big Hole River

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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.

Book your Spring Special fishing package today! 

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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


Big Hole River Fishing Report

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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.


Big Hole River & Beaverhead River Spring Fishing update

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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.



Spring Streamer Bite on the Big Hole River

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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