Mother’s Day Caddis Are Here

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.

  • Recommended flies:
  • Pat’s Stone #10 (Black)
  • Duracell (Copper) #12
  • Hot Spot Jig #14
  • San Juan Worm (Red/Pink)
  • Caddis Pupa (Olive/Tan) #14
  • High Rise Caddis #14
  • Translucent Emerger Caddis #14
  • March Brown #14 
  • #6 J.J. Special
  • #6 Yellow Zonker

Shop hours are 8:00am – 5:00pm daily

Good To Be Outside

Mike with a great Big Hole trout from a few days ago

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.

  • Recommended flies:
  • Pat’s Stone #10 (Black)
  • #12 Duracell (Copper)
  • #12 Hot Spot Jig
  • #10 San Juan Worm (Red/Pink)
  • #10 Bullet Head Skwalla
  • #14 March Brown
  • #6 J.J. Special
  • #6 Yellow Zonker

Shop hours are 8:00am – 5:00pm daily

April Showers Will Bring May Water

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.

Skwala hatch Update

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 Blast in April

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.

Shop hours are currently 9:00 am – 4:00pm Daily.

April Fishing Is Here

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.

April 3rd hours: 9:00am – 3:00 pm

April 4th: – Closed

April 5th: – Closed

April 6th – 9th hours: 9:00 am – 4:00pm

Sunrise Fly Shop Winter Update

Winter is finally in full swing in Southwest Montana. our freestone rivers are locked up and frozen and some of the tailwaters have fishing opportunity. Snowpack is hovering around 110% for the Big Hole and Beaverhead drainages. We still have a lot of winter left and it is way to early to predict river flows for Spring 2022.

Job Posting:

Sunrise Fly Shop in Melrose, MT is looking to hire experienced fly fishing guides for the upcoming season. Sunrise Fly Shop is a unique kind of fly shop. We are energetic, enthusiastic, and provide exceptional customer service. We are passionate about the sport and are in the fishing industry because we love it. The staff at Sunrise Fly Shop loves to fish. Even though we guide hundreds of days a year, we can’t wait to fish ourselves. We are looking for individuals with a similar mindset.

We need professional, hard-working, team-oriented people with a passion for fly fishing, the outdoors, and hospitality. Guides can expect to work 100 to 130 days during the guide season. Proficiency rowing a boat is required.

  • Provide fun, professional, safe, and entertaining fishing trips on the Big Hole, Beaverhead, Jefferson, and Upper Clark Fork Rivers.
  • Own their own gear, including drift boater raft, rods, reels, and terminal tackle.
  • First-Aid certification
  • Montana Guide License
  • Keep accurate logs of all trips and have a willingness to learn and follow the Big Hole and Beaverhead Special Use Rules and Regulations
  • Willingness to work a demanding schedule with long hours for our entire season (usually April through October)

Please email your resume and cover letter to: [email protected]

Big Hole River Fishing Report

Fishing has been improving on the Big Hole river. The longer nights and colder evenings has brought the water temperatures down and gotten the fish more active. We are having good hopper and ant fishing in the afternoons. The mornings are filled with Trico’s and various jig nymphs keeping us hooked up. You can also strip a sculpin in the pools and catch some nice ones.

The Big Hole remains open with no restrictions from Dickie Bridge to Maiden Rock FWP (also known as lower Maiden Rock or Dead Zone) 

River Restriction and Closures:

  • From the Saginaw Bridge of the Big Hole to Dickie Bridge is closed due to low flows. We will update you when this section re opens.
  • From Maiden Rock FWP (also known as lower Maiden Rock or Dead Zone ) down to the confluence with the Beaverhead River is closed due to low flows.

October Fishing Special 3 nights lodging and 2 days guided fishing $750 per person based on double Occupancy. Give us a call to book 406.835.3474

Big Hole River Fishing Report

Water Temperatures on the Big Hole are in great shape. We have had a massive cool down and the night time temperatures have helped the river cool off. We are having trico’s, hoppers and ants as our favorite recipe for dry flies. Our best nymphs have been various jig thread flies. Best fishing hours remain around 9 am – 3pm. The Divide access site is back open for anglers to use.

The Big Hole remains open with no restrictions from Dickie Bridge to Maiden Rock FWP (also known as lower Maiden Rock or Dead Zone) 

River Restriction and Closures:

  • From the Saginaw Bridge of the Big Hole to Dickie Bridge is closed due to low flows. We will update you when this section re opens.
  • From Maiden Rock FWP (also known as lower Maiden Rock or Dead Zone ) down to the confluence with the Beaverhead River is closed due to low flows. When this re opens we will let you know.