The Big Hole River is currently rising and muddy due to high elevation snow runoff. We also have some serious rain in the forecast, which will add to the volume of water coming down the system. We recommend fishing a tailwater fishery right now, like the Beaverhead. Once the Big Hole peaks and starts to drop in flows the upper Big Hole will start to fish. We recommend heading to tailwater fisheries this week until the Big Hole drops in flows from peak runoff. Snowpack in the Big Hole valley is still showing 130% of snow water equivalency for this date in time. Always feel free to give us a call for the most up to date water conditions. 406-835-3474.
The Beaverhead River has been fishing well lately. The flows out of Clark Canyon Reservoir are only 297cfs right now. The wade anglers have the pleasure of tromping anywhere they want to right now. We have had good fishing around the dam and all the way to Grasshopper Creek. Currently, the creek is dumping muddy water into the Beaverhead. We recommend staying above Grasshopper Creek for better water clarity. We have been doing well with Sow Bugs, Scuds, and olive midge nymphs. The water is still very cold coming out of the reservoir so hatches are sparse. This is a great place to be right now while the freestone rivers are blown out with runoff.
Spring is finally in the air and so are the Mother’s Day Caddis. The hatch has made its way all the way up into the Maiden Rock Canyon. The warm weather we have had the last few days has brought the flows up. We should have a continued rise in water flows the next few days. Clarity this morning was around 2 feet in Melrose. Conditions and clarity can change daily right now due to rising water. We have had good fishing lately, but we are heading into runoff time so it will be a day to day scenario. The old sayin’ holds true, “you don’t know unless you go.” We have done best the last few days with caddis pupa, and caddis dries at the right time of the hatch. Streamers have also been working well in the Afternoons in the shallow riffles and undercut banks.
The Beaverhead has been fishing well for us the past few days. Flows out of Clark Canyon Reservoir are only 65cfs right now. You will not get a boat down the river at these flows. It is the perfect walk wade river right now. We have done well wading below Pipe Organ Bridge and around grasshopper creek. You will find blue wings on some days and caddis hatching. Our best fishing has been sub surface with scuds, sow bugs and mop flies.
Remember: FISHING IS CLOSED FROM THE DAM DOWN TO PIPE ORGAN BRIDGE UNTIL MAY 21st. This closure is in place to protect the rainbow trout spawn.
We have had a bit of a bump in flows due to some warm weather that melted some mid elevation snow. It looks like the bump is over and the river will be coming back into good fishable shape starting tomorrow. The upper Big Hole gauge has crested and the entire river is dropping in flow. We are starting to see some clearing on the edges this afternoon. Clarity will continue to improve as the river drops. We should get another good window of fishing before the next bump in flows. It’s that time to get out and get some spring fishing in before peak runoff hits. We are not predicting when and how much peak runoff we will have here since the weather has been cool and wet for much of the Spring. Upper elevation snowpack in the Big Hole watershed is currently reading 116% of snow/water equivalent for this date in time. At some point we will see a large flush of water coming down the Big Hole River system. We have had a much improved upper elevation snowpack due to Spring moisture.
We have all enjoyed the latest rounds of precipitation in Southwest Montana. Our high elevation snowpack has seen a great boost in Snow/water equivalency. Currently our high elevation snowpack is 105% of normal. We currently have a very dry mid elevation and low elevation in the Big Hole valley. You can see our flows are well below average due to the cool weather we have had and the lack of mid elevation snowpack and low elevation snowpack. So, once it heats up into the 70’s during the day and overnight lows are around 40-45 degrees we will start to get a push of runoff from the high elevation snowpack.
Currently, the Big Hole River is clear, low and fishing well. We are doing the best from Divide all the way down to Notch Bottom. We have Skwalas hatching, March Brown’s and Blue Winged Olives. We have done well with the single skwala dry fly in the afternoons. In the mornings we are throwing a jig head soft hackle under the skwala dry or a pat’s stone nymph and staying hooked up. Some guys are doing well with black and olive streamers throughout the day. It is time to enjoy spring fishing before the high elevation runoff hits our freestone rivers.
Conditions are ripe for fabulous Spring fishing on the Big Hole River. In the mornings we are getting fish on droppers off of dry flies or a double nymph rig. In the afternoon we are doing well on skwala dry flies. You will find these fish feeding tight to the grassy banks in the tail-out of the runs. We are doing best on bullet head skwala patterns, size #10 and #12’s. Flows on the Big Hole remain stable and the river is running clear. Streamers are doing ok, moving them slow and deep in the runs has worked the best. Colors of choice for streamers are black and olive. Our best fishing has been from Melrose – Notch Bottom. The lower river has had warmer water temperatures, which has the fish more active.
Winter has made its appearance in mid April. We have been enjoying the much need precipitation in the Big Hole Valley and surrounding mountains. Snowpack is up to 90% of snow-water equivalency. With the cold air temperatures the last several days, we have had slush ice on the Big Hole. The afternoons have been fishing well once the slush ice thaws. We have been getting fish on stone fly nymphs and San Juan worms in the afternoon hours. The weather is supposed to warm next week, which should have the fishing back to a full day proposition. Th much awaited Skwala hatch should pick up next week as water temperatures rise in to the upper 40’s. Time to get your last ski turns in for the Spring and wait till next week to hit the river for possible dry fly Skwala action on the Big Hole River. If you head out this weekend, check with us in the morning to see if slush ice is a factor.
The Big Hole River is in good fishing shape today and should continue to be throughout the upcoming week as long as you can find the warmer and calmer days too fish. Last week we had ice flows from the upper Big Hole, which put the fishing off. The entire river is now ice free and we are fishing the lower stretches of the Big Hole for our best fishing. We have 2-3 feet of visibility and it is improving. The river is on the drop, which means the trout will be comfortable to feed. You will find hatches of midges and the Skwala’s are close to hatching on the lower Big Hole. Our best fishing has been with pat’s stoneflies sub surface and mayfly nymphs. A few streamer anglers had a good day yesterday with black/brown buggers in the tail out of pools. Our best hours of fishing is during the warmest times of the day, so typically the afternoons. A channel is blocked below Brownes bridge with a down tree, so please call us for the latest floating information on how to get around the blocked channel. Floater passage is allowed through a different channel. Our shop hours and schedule for the week of April 3rd – 9th is listed below.