During last week we saw some colder temperatures that stopped some of the spring snowmelt and we saw the river drop back down near historical averages. With the drop in flows the visibility improved and we started having some really good fishing. We started seeing a few skwalas flying around, and as a result fish were coming up for a dry fly. Our best fishing for the last few days has come while using a dry/dropper with a Skwala dry and a San Juan worm. The forecast for the next week is calling for some warmer daytime temperatures and as a result we might see the river start to bump. Hopefully any increases will be minimal and we will continue to see good fishing on the Big Hole. Give us a call at the shop to get the most up to date report on the river condition.
Robert Harp with a fantastic Big Hole Brown caught a couple days ago on the Big Hole River
Recommended Flies: #8 Mr. Beam; #10 Olive Chubby; #8 Bullet Head Skwalla; #10 Pat’s Stone (Olive/Brown); #8 San Juan Worm; #6 Flash Minnow (Olive); #6 Smokin’ Mirrors (Black); #6 Sparkle Minnow; #4 Little Kim; #6 Screamer (Yellow) (Olive)
Some warm weather the last several days has the mid to low elevation snow melting and has caused the river to gain a large volume of water. Today the river has leveled off for the moment on the upper river gauges. We might get a window of good fishing the next few days on the upper Big Hole since the melting will stop due to the cold winter like conditions today. River clarity is the main concern for us right now. We need improving water conditions to get the fish eating. We will keep you posted and hopefully the fishing improves.
Recommended Flies: #8 Mr. Beam; #10 Olive Chubby; #8 Bullet Head Skwalla; #10 Pat’s Stone (Olive/Brown); #8 San Juan Worm; #16 Shop Vac; #18 Zebra Midge; #16 Psycho May (olive); #6 Flash Minnow (Olive); #6 Smokin’ Mirrors (Black); #6 Sparkle Minnow; #4 Little Kim; #6 Screamer (Yellow) (Olive)
Our Client Justin caught this Brown on the Big Hole yesterday
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
Brant with a nice Big Hole Brown
Flies: #10 Chubby, #12 Purple Haze #10 Pat’s Stone Brown/Green #8 San Juan Worm, Bellyache Minnoe Olive #8 Sparkle Minnow, #4 Yellow/Black Beldar; #4 Smoke N’ Mirrors #6 Yellow Zonker #10 #6 Bad Boy
It is time to shake off the cabin fever and enjoy some Big Hole River spring fishing. Our season kicks off soon and our Big Hole River guides are ready to take you fishing. We will have hatches of Skwala stoneflies, and Blue Winged Olives in April and May. Every year some of our largest fish are caught in April and May. Timing of the Skwala hatch on the Big Hole is from April 1st – May 15th. Spring is a time of change, so you have to monitor river flows, temperatures, and weather conditions to catch the elusive Skwala. Experiencing a fly fishing vacation in Montana to catch this hatch is not to be missed. This is a great time to experience trout feeding with fury, as they eat their first stoneflies of the season.