Fly fishing the Big Hole River during the Spruce Moth Hatch

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August is a wonderful time to be in Southwest Montana.  Everyone who has been chasing the Salmon Fly Hatches from river to river are now gone.  Evenings are getting cold and day time highs are warm.  Besides the hoppers, and ants the one terrestrial hatch I look forward to every year is the Spruce Moth hatch on the Big Hole River. 

The moth lives inside Douglas Fir Trees and Lodge Pole Pine trees.  Once the forests have dried out from the summer heat and lack of moisture they fly from the trees they dwell in, and flock to the river for a dip and become a meal for trout.  This hatch on the Big Hole is in my mind the best and most consistent hatch of the year, low clear water, with fish looking up crushing spruce moths on the banks.  The spruce moth hatch does not occur on the entire Big Hole River.  It is concentrated in the section where we have the most pine trees.  From Jerry Creek fishing access to Maiden Rock Fishing Access is where you will find the Spruce Moth hatch.  Size #14 and #12 tan elk hair caddis are the best imitations for the Spruce Moth.  We tie them at the Sunrise Fly Shop with extra bushy elk hair.  You will only find the Spruce Moths on or near banks.  Rarely do the moths flutter in the middle of the river.  

This hatch is one that every angler should fish.  You will be amazed how many trout are looking up to eat when the moths are on the water.  Since this is a terrestrial hatch, you do not have to fish a nymphal stage.  Slamming the water with a fluttering Spruce Moth pattern is a blast.  You have not missed the hatch.  Due to a later summer start, all of our hatches are about two weeks behind this year.  We predict the hatch will occur around the 10th of August.  Get out to the Big Hole for some great terrestrial fishing. Click here for more information on fishing the Big Hole River.

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The Big Hole River—History and Fly Fishing in Southwest Montana

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The Big Hole River is one of the greatest blue ribbon fly fishing rivers in Southwest Montana.  The Big Hole River is a majestic and dynamic freestone river that flows more than 150 miles from its headwaters near Jackson, MT to its confluence with the Beaverhead River and Ruby River to create the Jefferson River.  With a watershed that encompasses more than 2800 square miles, a total population of only a few thousand people and fish counts that average over 2000 trout per mile, the Big Hole River exemplifies the Montana fly fishing experience.

The Big Hole River has three distinctly different sections, all having their own unique characteristics.  The upper Big Hole River is known for its expansive views of snowcapped mountains, pristine grassy meadows and slower, meandering water.  The Canyon section, which runs from roughly Jerry Creek all the way to Melrose, is characterized by its scenic beauty and faster moving water bordered by rugged rock walls.  The lower section, best known for its rangeland topography and braided side channels is the quintessential example of Big Sky Country.  One characteristic all three sections have in common is their breathtaking scenery combined with phenomenal fly fishing.

The Big Hole River drainage also has a colored history, dating back to its “discovery” by Lewis and Clark, and is rich in Native American history and lore.

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The Big Hole River—History and Fly Fishing in Southwest Montana Part 2

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As scenic as the Big Hole River is, it is best known for its world-class fly fishing.  With browns, rainbows, cutthroats, brook trout and consistent hatches from April to October, fly fishing the Big Hole is an experience not to be missed.  In addition to the abundant trout, the Big Hole River is home to the last remaining wild native population of Fluvial Arctic Grayling in the lower 48 states.  This special designation just adds to an already exceptional fishery.

Whether you are a streamer fanatic or a dry fly specialist, be prepared to put it all to use when fly fishing on the Big Hole River.   Without question or debate, the Big Hole River is one of Montana’s finest fly fishing destinations.

Click here to learn more about the Big Hole River, and here for the latest Big Hole River Fishing Report.  Or Contact Us to plan your Montana fly fishing vacation today! 

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Welcome to the Big Hole River Blog

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Welcome to the new Sunrise Fly Shop website and Blog.  We are excited to share our experiences on the Big Hole River and Southwest Montana fishing.  This is the place to get up to date information from Ryan and Eric and the guide staff of the Sunrise Fly Shop.  Please share your thoughts and stories with us.

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