The Salmonfly hatch is progressing up the river. We had great fishing on Salmonflies from Brownes to Glen Yesterday. The Salmonflies are all the way up to Maiden Rock right now. The river flows are low for this time of the year 1700cfs at Maiden Rock right now. With great water clarity the fish really want your patterns to be dead drifted with no drag right now. Get out there and have some fun.
Let the madness begin. We saw our first Salmonflies on the Big Hole River this morning. We had some shucks at the Glen Bridge. The hatch will slowly start to progress on the lower Big Hole. Water flows and clarity are perfect for a fabulous hatch this year. It’s time to start chucking the big bugs on the fast banks and some of the biggest brown trout will be eating on the surface. We will keep you updated on the hatch and where the bugs are.
The Big Hole River snowpack is sitting at about 95% of normal. It is looking like an average water year but we still have a lot of winter storms that can hit the high country. In the valley winter has been holding on with single digit lows this last week but more Spring like conditions are ahead of us this week. Highs in the mid 40’s to lower 50’s and overnight lows in the 20’s is a recipe for much better water temperatures. By the weekend the Skwala nymph fishing should start to pick up as they will get more active with the warmer water. We will keep you posted and remember it is not too late to book your Spring Special.
The Big Hole River drainage is currently at 102% of normal snowpack and the Jefferson drainage is currently at 106%. It is a great start to our snowpack and we hope it continues to pile up. Last year at this date in time we were only at 79% of normal snowpack. We are happy with the improving start to winter this year. Updates will come later this month. It is still too early to tell what kind of a water year 2013 will bring but we are pleased with the current winter snowpack. The 2013 booking season has begun. Time to start looking at the calendar and plan your next fishing vacation. Give us a call or send an email to discuss the upcoming season.
Summer is officially here. It is time to take the waders off, put on the the sunshirt and fish dry flies. We have Yellow Sallies, PMD’s, Caddis, Green Drakes, and Golden Stones Hatching on our Southwest Montana Rivers.
The Big Hole River has leveled off and is consistently producing PMD hatches in the morning, caddis throughout the day and Golden Stones. Below is a nice brown caught on a golden stone dry fly pattern a few days ago on the Upper Big Hole.
Currently the Beaverhead River is fishing very well on Nymphs. We have hatches of Yellow Sallies and PMD’s. Flows are currently wader friendly up near the Dam. Our fishing has been the best below High Bridge. As the PMD and Sally hatch thickens the dry fly fishing will be very good on the Beaverhead. Below is a Rainbow caught on the Beaverhead on a PMD nymph a few days ago. Large rainbows are being found throughout the lower stretches of the Beaverhead, which is very exciting.
Welll, the talk over the phone and in the shop these days consist of when are the Salmonflies going to hatch on the Big Hole. Historically we see the Big Hole River Salmonfly hatch start around June 10th – 15th. I think because of a below average runoff we are having the big bugs should pop a little early this year. Water temperatures are already climbing into the 50’s. We just need some hot days to get the salmonflies to hatch during the night. The key element for the bugs to start hatching is nighttime temperatures staying above 50 degrees for several nights in a row.
The Salmonfly hatch starts around Glen and works it’s way up river as the water warms. We have had good stonefly nymph fishing from Melrose to Glen, which is a good indicator that the Salmonfly nymphs are moving closer to the banks getting ready to hatch. We have very good clarity in the river right now and I don’t see any major bump in flows since we have already had peak runoff, unless we get big rain storms. The Big Hole Salmonfly hatch should be a great one this year!
We are two days into the Salmonfly Hatch and the big bugs can be found from Glen to Lower Maiden Rock. Eric gave me a report this afternoon while he was guiding that willlows were bending over because there were so many salmonflies on them. Dry fly fishing was great from the morning hours till about 2:30 today on Salmonflies. The hatch should slowly work it’s way up the river this week. With cooler day time temperatures the hatch should slowly progress, which is a perfect scenario. Dropping and clearing water has made for perfect conditions for a great Big Hole Salmonfly Hatch this year. We will get some photos up here soon.
The last week we have seen some stellar fishing on the Big Hole. We are not talking dries yet, but the spring streamer bite has been fantastic. Dropping water flows, the Big Hole is tea color, and the fish are looking for the big meals. We have been fishing river wide right now. The Divide to Notch section has been keeping our guides hooked up all day with nice fish and the occasional brute. Below is a nice 22 inch brown that was caught above Glen.
The upper Big Hole has been hot and cold. I had a stellar day last week with several nice healthy 18 to 22 inch browns on slow stripped streamers. But we have also had a number of days where we have had low numbers of fish landed. It has been much better on the upper river when you have overcast weather. Below is a nice brown caught on a skwalla dry below Deep Creek on the upper Big Hole.
The Big Hole River had a few large ice jams break free during the first couple days of April. In Melrose, the flows jumped from 3000 cfs to nearly 6000 cfs in only an hour. It was an impressive sight to see all of the ice and debris floating down the river.
On the Upper Big Hole near East Bank, numerous car-sized chunks of ice were deposited on the banks.
As of 5:00 PM on April 3rd, the Big Hole is back down to 2200 cfs and starting to clear. We will continue to keep you updated as the river comes back into shape.
Visiting Montana in the spring and summer for a fly fishing trip is something that many fly fishers only do a few times in their life. They want to make sure that their visit to the Big Hole River, Beaverhead River or Jefferson River enables them to not only enjoy the scenery but to also catch fish. Timing their trip to coincide with good weather and river flows is key to helping ensure a phenomenal fly fishing vacation.
But all fly fishers should understand that every time we predict what the weather is going to be like, or what the flows will be, or how much water we will have in the Big Hole River come August, we are making little more than a guess. But with these tools and a basic knowledge of hydrology and meteorology, our guess is definitely an educated one.
With all this said here is our 2012 prediction. We are currently at about 90% snowpack in the Big Hole Watershed. We have had a rather warm winter so our low elevation snowpack is very thin. We predict that our spring fishing will be outstanding since we will not have huge river flow fluctuations in the spring due to low elevation snowmelt.
Our high elevation runoff typically occurs around May 20th – June 5th. We should see about an average runoff this year since our snowpack is at 90% of normal. So this is an excellent year to hit the Salmonflies in June, which typically hatch around June 10th and last till June 25th. The Big Hole Salmonfly hatch is one that all anglers need to hit in their lifetime and this year should be a good one! We should have average summer flows due to our 90% snowpack going into spring. 2012 is shaping up to be a great season, especially after coming off of the last 2 above average water flow years, which have our trout healthy and big.
April 1st we will start our Big Hole River fishing reports, Beaverhead River fishing reports, and Jefferson River flow and fishing reports, Stay in touch and get out and fish in Southwest Montana in 2012.