Sunday, May 15, 2011

We’ve seen some warm weather over that last several days, but the Big Hole River has handled it rather well.  A lot of people were predicting flooding by this weekend, but that hasn’t come even close to happening.  The river has come up, it is currently flowing at 3620 CFS, and it has about 18 inches of visibility.  Finding fishable water on Southwest Montana rivers is tough right now.

The river has been increasing every night for the last three days, but then it has been leveling off or slightly dropping over night.  The forecast for the next five days show that the daytime highs are going to be in the low 50’s and the nighttime lows in the low 30’s.  This drop in temps should slow the snowmelt and bring the river flows back down.  There is some precipitation in the forecast, but it doesn’t look like enough to have much of an impact on the river flows.

The fishing has been decent over the last few days, but you have to work for ’em.  The good thing is that we have been getting some really nice fish in the upper river.  On Friday we had a single client catch 7 fish over 18 inches, with his largest measuring 22 inches.

We have been slow stripping streamers and having good action nearly all day.  The color of the most successful streamers has been Yellow, Olive, and Bright and Flashy.  Most of the fish that our Big Hole River Guides are catching are holding tight to the bank.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

We woke up this morning to our second good frost in a row, which is good, because it stopped any snowmelt that yesterday’s heat started.  Last night the Mud Creek and Wise River Gauges leveled off for a few hours, but as of 6:00 AM on the 12th, both the Mud Creek and Wise River Gauges were back on the drop.  Here in Melrose the gauge shows that the river dropped all night and that it is starting to level off just now.  I just went down to the Salmon Fly Fishing Access here in Melrose and the river is still off color, but the visibility has improved since last night.  I don’t know that I would give it a full 18 inches if visibility, but its close.  The sun wasn’t on the river yet, so it was hard to tell how clear the water really was.

Bottom line is that I think the Big Hole will fish today.  You will probably have to go upriver to find cleaner water, but the upper river is my favorite place to fish this time of year.

If you want to Streamer fish, use yellow, white, orange or flashy flies and strip as slow as you can.  If you are into nymphing, go with stoneflies, San Juans, and even try dead drifting one of those streamers mentioned above.

I am feeling good enough about the conditions that I am going to guide on the Big Hole today.  When I went to bed I was thinking that I was going to be heading over to the Madison, but I like what we are seeing this morning.

We’ll keep you posted as conditions change.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Ryan and I both had a chance to float the Big Hole yesterday and do some fishing for ourselves.

I launched at Jerry Creek, where two days before I had done a quick evening float and had phenomenal dry fly fishing with skwallas.  The fishing wasn’t quite as consistent as it had been on the 3rd, but the wind with pummeling us with 20 to 30 MPH gusts, so casting to the right spots on the bank was a little difficult.  When we did get the fly up near the bank, we got fish to rise to our fly.

Ryan and Chuck went up to Sportsman’s and fished streamers for a few hours before sunset.  Luckily for the two of them, they didn’t have to deal with the winds that I battled 15 miles down river.  In the short period of time that Ryan and Chuck were on the river, they did extremely well, landing 10 fish over 18 inches.

With continued cool weather in the 5-day forecast, it looks like we should see the fishing continue to be solid on top and sub-surface though the next week.

*We’ll keep you posted when we start to see Mother’s Day Caddis*

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More of the great Spring fishing right now on the Big Hole.  The overcast days have produced some tremendous dry fly fishing with Skwallas right now.  We have been sticking from Divide all the way to Notch Bottom right now.  Water flows are staying consistent and the clarity is about 3 feet.  In the mornings we have been nymphing Skwallas and pulling streamers.  Around noon time we have been switching to a Skwalla dry for the rest of the day.  Look for your best dry fly fishing in the slow tail outs of the runs.  Fishing is red hot right now on the Big Hole.  Get your southwest Montana Fly Fishing in before runoff hits.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Over the weekend, we had our fist push of water.  On Monday the Big Hole climbed to a little over 2000 cfs, but the weather cooled off again and the river is back down to 1400cfs and the river is continuing to drop.  The water clarity has improved greatly in the last 48 hours, and we are back to about 2 feet of visibility.


Fish have still been coming up for Skwalla dries, but greater numbers of fish have been caught using nymphs.  Baetis nymphs, Stone Fly nymphs, and San Juan worms have still been the best nymphs. 


Remember, our spring special ends May 15th.  $500.00 per person for three nights lodging and two days of guided fishing!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Warm weather this time of year in Southwest Montana always comes with some sacrifices…  A.K.A – a blown out river.  We had a great weekend of fishing with Skwalla dries as well as good streamer fishing, but we are now paying the price for our first taste of true spring weather.  The river has taken a hefty jump in flows due to the two days of warm weather that we had.  The good news, if you can call it good news, is that it is snowing and cold again.  The upper river near Wisdom has already started to drop and we should see the rest of the river start to drop in the next 24 hours.  The river should start to fish again either tomorrow or Wednesday.  The clarity will come back as soon as it drops, and the fishing will get back to where it was. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Good Weather today.  Should be a nice Spring day to be on the Big Hole.  We are still sticking to the stretches below Melrose right now.  It is just to darn cold up the river.  I went for a drive last night to check it out up there and it seems like February on the upper Big hole.  With a Montana snowpack of 120% we are going to have excellent water this year on the Big Hole and Beaverhead Rivers.  We are floating in our drift boats on every stretch below Melrose with good Skwala dry fly action and the nymphing and streamer fishing has been solid.  Look for the Skwala hatch heating up this week as water temperatures reach 45-47 degrees.  2 -3 feet of visability right now.

Remember our spring special ends May 15th.  $500.00 for 3nights lodging and 2 days of guided fishing!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Everything here on the Big Hole seems to be staying about the same.  The weather pattern seems to be holding steady with daily highs in the high 40’s and lows in the mid 20’s.  The mountains have been getting moisture almost every day, but the river valley has been staying relatively dry.

For fishing this means that we have been seeing, and will probably continue to see about the same conditions.  The river flows are getting a nightly bump, but dropping during the daytime hours and averaging around 1200 cfs.  The river temps are ranging between 37 degrees and 45 degrees.  We’ve still been getting fish to come up and eat Skwallas with good frequency, while the nymphing with Stone Fly Nymphs, San Juan Worms, and small Mayfly Nymphs has been very consistent.  We’ve also noticed that the fish have been chasing streamers a little more aggressively in the last few days.

Remember our spring special ends May 15th.  $500.00 for 3nights lodging and 2 days of guided fishing!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

First busy Saturday here at the Sunrise Fly Shop.  After another winter storm, the weather is warming up nicely here this morning.  The warmer weather has brought people out of the house.  Highs in the mid forties and warming up to 50 by monday will get the fishing back on track.  Look for Skwala dry fly fishing to be good in the afternoons on the Big Hole River.  The hatch has just started on the lower river.  We have been getting them on top on the lower river.  Skwalas have not been hatching above Melrose yet.  Nymphing will be solid in the tailouts of runs and on the soft banks.  Our Big Hole River guides are off the river today but Sam Wyke is here this weekend.  Sam is one of the owners of the Big R Fly Shop up in Great Falls, Montana.  This is a great fly shop and good guys in the industry.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Salmon Flies are maybe the most impressive of all the insects that we get on the Big Hole River.  These orange and black behemoths can grow to over two inches, and during early to mid June are crawling on every willow on the Big Hole.  These oversized flying bugs are such an amazing meal for the fish, that nearly every trout in the river is looking up just waiting for a Salmon Fly to hit the water.

There is nothing in the world like throwing a 2 inch dry fly along a cut-bank under an overhanging willow, making the perfect mend to keep the fly tucked tight to the bank, and then seeing the mouth of a twenty-plus inch brown trout come up and grab your foam imitation.  It is am exhilarating experience that every angler should experience at least once in his or her life.

With the amount of snow that we have in the mountains during this 2011 spring, and the temperatures that we have seen so far this spring, we are predicting that the Salmon Fly hatch will be arriving slightly later than usual.  Having said that, predicting the timing of the Salmon Fly hatch is nothing more than a blind guess, but our Big Hole River Guides think that June 13th to June 26th sounds like a probable prediction to me.  Contact us today to book your trip.

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