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Winter has set into Southwest Montana. We had the coldest October on record for Montana and now we are experiencing a rather mild November. The freestone rivers are experiencing slush ice and ice shelves so if you get out there wade with caution. We suggest heading to the tailwaters in the state or getting somewhere tropical for your fishing. We have some spots available from February 8th – 15th at Copal Tree Lodge in Punta Gorda, Belize. If interested give us a call 406-835-3474
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We just got another blast of winter here in Southwest Montana. We woke this morning to -20 degree air temperatures. Our snowpack for the Big Hole drainage is hovering around 95% for this date in time. We still have plenty of winter left but we are all itching for spring trout fishing. Depending on when the ice gets off the Big Hole our Spring season is about 7 weeks away. We will have hatches of Skwalas and Blue winged olives to start the season. Our spring special packages are available again. We are excited to have our lodging to offer for the spring packages. Click here for more information on spring fishing packages.
February 7, 2019 Sunrise Fly Shop
Salmonflies on the willows in the Maiden Rock Canyon of the Big Hole today
Recommended Flies: # Cat Puke; #4 Rogue Stone; #10 Gray Drake; #12 X Caddis; #4 Pat’s Stone (Brown/Orange); #8 San Juan Worm; #6 Flash Minnow (Olive); #6 Smokin’ Mirrors (Black); #6 Sparkle Minnow; #4 Little Kim; #6 Screamer (Yellow) (Olive)
We have had some nice warm Summer like weather this past week in Southwest Montana. Today feels more like Spring with cool wet weather. The river has been coming up due to snow melt, which is typically for late May. Clarity still remains at 2 1/2 feet on the banks. We have had more good fishing lately subsurface. Lots of Caddis are hatching but the fish are not crazy about rising to them due to the high flows. Our best fishing has been underneath with streamers and nymphs. Around Glen we have been fishing Salmonfly nymphs with some success. As long as the river doesn’t rise too much, the fishing should stay consistent subsurface. If the flows continue to rise around Melrose it will be difficult to find fishable water due to high flows.
Mark that calendar for June 10th. Our 2nd Annual Salmonfly Fest will be from 5pm – 9pm on June 10th. We have music from Smokestack and the Foothill Furry. We have food from Brunchies, and Rollin Bites brick oven Pizza. Beaverhead Brewery will be here, and Rattlesnake Distillery. We have giveaways and raffle items from Patagonia, Winston Rods, Simms Fishing Products, Dirty Water Fly Company, Bauer Reels, Scientific Anglers and much more.
Sunrise guide Rutger Wilson getting clients into the big ones this week
Recommended Flies: #10 Purple Haze; #12 X Caddis; #10 Mr. Beam; #10 Skwala Stone; #10 Pat’s Stone Olive/Brown; #8 San Juan Worm; #12 Pheasant Tail; #12 Caddis Pupa; #6 J.J. Special; #4 Smokin’ Mirrors; #4Mr. Creepo
Every winter the upper Big Hole River valley freezes over and gets covered by a thick blanket of snow. Some years the ice and snow stacks higher then others. This winter was a cold and snowy winter in the upper Big Hole Valley and we had several days below zero and a healthy above average snowpack at low and high elevations. We experienced the normal spring warm up and the Big Hole valley is in the process of thawing out. This is just the valley snow and ice that is releasing right now. The event every year is involved with ice jams and flooding fields. As you can see from the above hydro graph we have an incredible amount of valley snow and ice to melt off. Some massive ice jams are occurring above East Bank fishing access and Sportsman Fishing access on the upper Big Hole. Once the ice jams release we can start to see a decline in flows and the river will start to clear up. Right now the river is a muddy mess and un-fishable. This is not our peak runoff we experience in late May, this is just the thaw of the valley. We will be reporting soon as things improve. Here are some photos Eric took of the upper Big Hole Valley. Spring fishing on the Big Hole will return once the ice clears and the river drops and gains clarity. April is setting up to be a fantastic month. Here is a link to our Spring Special
Ice Flows Above East Bank Fishing Access
It is that time of year again and we are looking forward to a great season. A few big Hole River guides got out last Friday and had a good day fishing. This was our first float of the season and the Big Hole is in good shape for mid March. You will find some shelf ice around some banks but it is not bad below Melrose. We have been floating below Melrose and the midges are about all the top water action you will have right now. Streamers and nymphs got all the fish to the boat for us. Clients are coming in tomorrow so we will be updating our reports now regularly. Don’t forget to check out our Spring Special. We are anticipating a great Skwala hatch if water flows stay favorable this spring. The snowpack in the Big Hole is over 100% and the the prediction is for above average precipitation for the months of April, May and June according to the Climate Prediction Center. It is gearing up to be a fine water year in Southwest Montana.
Cory with a nice Brown caught a few days ago below Melrose
Recommended Flies: #12 Purple Craze; #12 Comparadun Yellow; #12 Copper Cripple; #14 Bloom’s Caddis; #10 Chubby UV; #10 Pat’s Stone; #12 Pearl Lightning Bug; #12 Red Copper John; #14 Psycho May brown; #12 Pheasant Tail; McCunnes Sculpin; Mini Look Sculpin; #6 Sparkle Minnow