Salmonflies On The Big Hole River

The Big Hole River is quickly coming into prime shape. Our peak runoff is behind us and that means……Salmonflies! Yes, Salmonflies are here! Currently, we are seeing the big bugs in the Maiden Rock Canyon. River flows are quickly dropping and fishing was excellent today and the next several days we will have Salmonfly dry fly fishing. We have also seen PMD’s, golden stones and some yellow sallies on the water. Streamer anglers have done well lately with yellow/brown streamers. It is time for the best hatch of the year. The Big Hole has 4 feet of visibility and with the flows dropping this could be an amazing hatch.

Recommended Flies:

  • Flutter Bug (Salmonfly) #4
  • Cat Puke #4
  • Half Down Salmonfly #4
  • Chubby Chernobyl #6 (Purple) (Orange) (Golden)
  • Chubby Norman #6, #8
  • Water Walker #6 (Black) (Brown)

Hatches Are Coming Soon

The Beaverhead River has been fishing well some days and rather tough other days. We have seen no lack of crowds on the Beaverhead due to most of the freestone rivers running high. The Clark Canyon Reservoir outflow today is 318 cfs. Wade fisherman are happy with these low flows. We have had our best fishing from the Dam down to Grasshopper Creek. You will find Grasshopper Creek running muddy, so fishing is tough below there. Pretty soon we will see the first of the PMD hatch. Currently, we are doing best nymphing with PMD’s, Blue Winged Olives and sow bugs.

Recommended Flies:

Soft Hackle Sow Bug #16

Scud (Orange) #16

Splitback PMD #18

Micro Mayfly (Olive) #16

Barr’s Emerger (PMD) #18

The Big Hole Has Bumped Again

Last week we started seeing a handful of adult Salmonflies, and we were having great fishing with salmonfly nymphs thrown tight to the banks. But since then we have had a significant bump in flows and now the river is near 6000cfs at the Melrose gauge. This increase in flows combined with the drop in water temperature has stalled the salmonfly hatch. It looks like the river has started to drop a little at all of the gauges, and we are expecting to see that drop continue over the next few days. With warmer weather in the forecast for later this week, you should start to see the river temps rebound and hopefully when the river temps get back up near 60 degrees we will start to see salmonflies again. Until then, streamers, stonefly nymphs, and pink and red San Juan Worms will be your best bet. For the latest information feel free to give us a call. 406-835-3474.

The Start of The Big Hole Salmonfly Hatch

Lynn Harp with a fabulous trout caught yesterday on the Big Hole River

The long awaited hatch is here. The Salmonflies have started to crawl below Melrose. We are seeing the adult salmonflies around Brownes bridge. Our fishing yesterday from Maiden Rock to Glen was fantastic. We did not get them on dries yesterday but the salmonfly nymph tight to the banks was putting massive brown trout in the net all day long. This morning our guides saw adult salmonflies around brownes bridge. It is game today for dry fly fishing below Melrose on adult Salmonflies. Look for the hatch to stay below the Maiden Rock Canyon for several days and then work up into the canyon. The river currently has 3 feet of visibility and the flows are dropping nicely. For the latest information feel free to give us a call. 406-835-3474.

Recommended Flies:

  • Pat’s Rubber Legs #4 (Black) (Orange/Brown)
  • Half Down Salmonfly #4
  • Chubby Chernobyl (Orange) (Purple) #6
  • Flutter Bug Salmonfly #4
  • Jig Bugger Black #4
  • Yuk Bug #6
  • Cat Puke #4

The Big Hole Is Back In Shape

After a week of dirty water, the Big Hole has stabilize, cleared, and it is fishing well. Now that we are getting close to the start of the Salmonfly hatch, the fish are really keying in on stonefly nymphs and guides have reported having really good fishing throwing larger Pat’s Rubber Legs. The forecast for the next week is showing rain and warmer temps, so the river conditions might change if we get a ton of precipitation, but we are anticipating that the Big Hole will continue to fish well all week.

Runoff On The Big Hole River

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.

  • 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

Opening Week On The Beaverhead

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.

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

Walk Wading The Beaverhead River

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.

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