Big Hole River Fishing Report

Near Melrose, MT

MELROSE WEATHER
Big Hole

Big Hole River Fishing Report

Near Melrose, MT

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

July 10th '19 Big Hole River Fishing Report - Excellent dry fly fishing with low traffic!

The river has held right about 1k cfs for over a week now, and the fishing has been exceptional. Trout are keying on the caddis on a daily basis, with some very nice fish looking for golden stones. PMDs are still hatching, however the fish seem to prefer the caddis style these day. That could be related to the high amount of yellow, dark, and lime sallies that are crawling around.

Streamers have continued to produce our finest trout on a daily basis, with olive tones seeming to be the most productive. They have been in a chasing mood lately so make sure to fish the fly back to the boat otherwise you are going to leave some nice fish behind.

The flows have been kind for those using hard boats, provided you stay below Divide or Maiden Rock. Anyone looking to float above Divide will want to get a raft going, otherwise it is going to be a long day on the old fiberglass drift boat.

We have been experiencing excellent whitefish activity when nymphing, so get a lightning bug in the water and hold on. Any water with more that 2' of depth is going to be loaded with our friendly natives.

Keep a smallish stonefly dry rigged with a caddis emerger in tow and that should have you in business.

Holler at us at 406-835-3474 for the latest updates.

-Dan Soltau

#4 Little Kim Copper
#6-8 Pat's Stone
#8 Jumping Jack Flash
#8 Chubby Chernobyl (UV) (Gold) (Purple)
#12 Chubby Olive

#14 X Caddis
#12 Red Copper John
#12 Silver Lightning Bug
#12 Bloom's Caddis
#16 Missing Link
#16 Para Wulff Purple

Thursday, June 27, 2019

June 27th '19 - Intermittent weather has the hatches rolling full tilt!

After a week of stoneflies hatching, ole Mother Nature brought in a great week of cooler weather to the region that started with snow and has had daily rain showers including the one that is cleaning the shop roof now. This did put a hamper on the stonefly dry fly bite, however the PMD mayflies and the summer caddis went off. Which resulted in a very consistent dry bite that has continued on and offered darned good fishing. Purple Haze + Caddis = Great Success.

Flows have dropped, and folks fishing the canyon stretches have seen great fishing on top. The upper river is getting skinny, so it might be time to get the rubber ducky ready if you are fishing above East Bank. The fishing has been great all the way to the Notch Bottom and down. The typical pattern has seen the PMD hatch begin around 11, with the caddis picking up around 2 PM and going to dark.

Water temperatures are just now about to return to the magical 60 degree number that summer stoneflies love, so we are anticipating a great wave of Golden stones to start again any day. Folks looking to pry the depths with nymphs have been rotating between girdle bugs, sally nymphs, PMD style nymphs, and caddis larvae. The fish seem to be more selective towards the nymphs, so be patient and keep at it.

The minnow bite has been very good for the streamer guys and gals. Olive seems to be a hot color as of late, with silver, white, and yellow being hot during darker parts of the day. Crawdads are still the main fare on the lower river below Browne's Bridge, and you can't go wrong with a sculpin either.

Holler at us for the latest update, 406-835-3474 - thanks for checking out the report!

Dan Soltau

#4 Mini Dungeon Olive
#4 Mini Dungeon White
#4 Little Kim Copper
#6 Pat's Stone
#14 Kyles BH Yellow Sally
#8 Chubby Chernobyl (UV) (Gold) (Purple)

#16 Purple Rooster
#12 Silver Lightning Bug
#14 Bloom's Caddis
#14 Purple Haze
#16 Sparkle Dun PMD
#14 Lafontaine's Sparkle Pupa

 Melrose local, Naomi, doing some heavy lifting with a recent lower river streamer eater.

Melrose local, Naomi, doing some heavy lifting with a recent lower river streamer eater.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

June 19th '19 - Big Hole River Fishing Report and big bug update

Salmonfly Fest '19 was a hit, thank you to everyone who participated and we raised buckets of money! Congrats to all the big winners in our raffle and competitions!

We are a week into our summer stone hatches, and there is a plethora of bugs coming down the river at the moment. Salmonflies have been hatching all the way up through Jerry Creek, and golden stones are hatching river wide. Caddis, Yellow Sallies, and PMDS are coming off through out the day, along with a few green drakes. A single or double dry fly setup is paying dividends, along with a dropper nymph. A smaller dry fly in a #14-16 trailing a large stonefly will be seeing plenty of action. Our guides have been employing this spread from East Bank all the way down through to the Notch.

Flows have stabilized and are sitting at an ideal flow for just about every technique, and the streamer anglers have taken note. Many large trout have been fooled by minnows and sculpins lately, with a crawdad working well down river. Look for the lower river to continue to fish really well for the next few weeks, along with the canyon stretches.

Popular floats include the stretch from East Bank to Jerry Creek, Divide to Melrose, and Melrose to Glen. Try varying it up to get out of any possible floatilla, or just an early start. Holler at us for guides, shuttles, and the latest report off the river at 406-835-3474!

Cheers,

Dan Soltau

 

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#4 Smoke & Mirrors
#4 Sparkle Minnow
#4 Little Kim Copper
#6 Pat's Stone
#6 Fluttering Stone
#8 Chubby Chernobyl (UV) (Gold) (Purple)
#6 Flutter Bug

#12 Chubby Royal
#14 Chubby Tan
#14 Chubby Purple
#12 Bloom's Caddis
#14 Purple Haze
#16 Comparadun Purple
#12-18 Rocky Mountain Mint

 Big browns moving on baitfish patterns.

Big browns moving on baitfish patterns.

 Yellows streamer eater.

Yellows streamer eater.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

They are Here! We have Salmonflies from Glen up to lower Maiden Rock. Several people had fantastic dry fly fishing today from Lower Maiden Rock down to Glen on the Salmonfly dry fly. Today was the first day that adults were flying around and smacking the water while trout voraciously attacked the dry fly. River conditions are perfect for the hatch. Clarity is over 4 feet and the river is currently at a stable flow. As water temperatures rise in the canyon the hatch will take off from Maiden rock upstream through divide and Jerry Creek. It is time to throw the #4 dry fly under the willows and hold on while possibly the largest trout of the season eats your fly on the surface.

Salmonfly Fest starts tomorrow evening. Details here or give us a call. It will be a great weekend! 

#4 Smokin' Mirrors
#4 Sparkle Minnow
#4 Little Kim Copper
#6 Pat's Stone
#6 Flash minnow
#8 Chubby Chernobyl (UV) (Gold) (Purple)
#6 Flutter Bug

#6 Rogue Stone Salmonfly

#6 Cat Puke #12 Purple Rooster
#12 Red Copper John
#12 Silver Lightning Bug
#12 Bloom's Caddis
#14 Purple Haze

Friday, June 7, 2019

June 7th '19 - River is in great shape and the big bugs are coming!

After a bushel of warm days, a few cooler ones have set in southwest Montana. Reports from today indicate remarkable fishing. The Big Hole has begun dropping, and the entire river is fishing well. Stonefly nymphs have been highly effective on the river below and around Melrose, which means we are very close to seeing the magic of salmonflies take place. Caddis are around and hatching daily, along with a variety of sparse mayfly hatches. Good trout have been up in the right places at the right times, and fishing a dry fly in the blind has also been worth while.

With the hatch building in the lower river, streamer fishing has been top notch in the faster stretches of the upper river, and all through out the river below. Sculpin and minnow imitations have been preferred by many of the large trout. On the lower river below Browne's Bridge, crawfish are in favor and it is making for some excellent streamer fishing.

While the flows on the upper portions are relatively benign, the flows from Jerry Creek down are rolling pretty good so make sure to be sharp on the oars. The river looks amazing and is fishing well, so don't let that get your oarsman too distracted! We are finding fish on the faster banks upriver, and as the flows increase, fish are being caught in the soft buckets and inside riffle drops.

Salmonfly Fest is one week out, and we are extremely excited and hope everyone can make it out for the festivities! Our raffle has an AMAZING line up of goods, so check out the official page here. Live music, fun contests, and a raffle to help our aquatic insect population! What a party! Call us at the shop with any questions!

We have your shuttle plans covered, the bugs you need, and up to date reports on the Big Hole, Beaverhead, and Jefferson Rivers right now. Holler at us for booking a guide this summer, or any other questions you may have about what's going on.

Thanks for reading and tight lines!

Dan Soltau

406-835-3474

#4 Smoke & Mirrors Cream
#4 JJ Special
#4 Girdle Bug - Black
#6 Yuk Bug Pep Stick
#6 Jewel Thief Minnow
#8 Chubby Chernobyl (UV) (Gold) (Purple)
#6 Mini Dungeon - Olive, White, or Black

#6 Cat Puke Black
#6 Water Walker Purple
#12 Silver Lightning Bug
#12 Bloom's Caddis
#16 Film Critic PMD
#6 Black Out Stone
#4 Girdle Bug - Black

 Sunrise Guide, Chris ″Romo″ Romankiewicz hoisting a quality brown that took a crawfish pattern on the Big Hole River.

Sunrise Guide, Chris ″Romo″ Romankiewicz hoisting a quality brown that took a crawfish pattern on the Big Hole River.

 Few things rival empty rivers and sunny day streamer eaters! Yours truly holding a Big Hole River brown trout that wolfed a crawdad imitation.

Few things rival empty rivers and sunny day streamer eaters! Yours truly holding a Big Hole River brown trout that wolfed a crawdad imitation.

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#4 Smokin' Mirrors
#4 Sparkle Minnow
#4 Little Kim Copper
#6 Pat's Stone
#6 Flash minnow
#8 Chubby Chernobyl (UV) (Gold) (Purple)
#12 Mahogany Dun

#12 Purple Rooster
#12 Red Copper John
#12 Silver Lightning Bug
#12 Bloom's Caddis
#14 Purple Haze
#16 Split Winged BWO
#16 Blue Winged Olive Comparadun

Saturday, June 1, 2019

June 1st '19 - Somehow June is here, and the river is alive!

River levels are ideal from top to bottom, and clarity is perfect with at least 3 feet everywhere. We are seeing enough caddis and early summer mayfly activity to get the fish looking up. Double dry fly setups with a caddis trailing a small stonefly have been working well, and fish have been up rising in the foam pockets. Trailing a nymph, worm, or small streamer has also been highly effective.

If you are looking for the tug, then look no further. Anglers using streamers have been producing with black, copper, and olive streamers on the brighter days, with lighter tones cleaning up with clouds. Get the sink tip out and start stripping!

Traffic has been thickest in the East Bank to Jerry Creek section, with increasing traffic in the canyon sections. The river has a strong flow, so keep that in mind when floating and keep your eyes ahead when rowing and fishing. Most of the water is heading down the Glen back channel, so either be diligent about finding the river right channel or be prepared to do a short boat drag back up to the boat ramp if you are taking out at Glen.

Salmonfly Fest '19 is approaching fast, and we have an incredible line up of awesome raffle items, contests, and festivities planned for Friday the 14th and Saturday the 15th of June. link to Salmonfly Fest Click Here 

Holler at us anytime for the last report, to schedule a shuttle, or hire a guide at 406-835-3474!

-Dan Soltau

#4 Smoke & Mirrors Silver & Blue
#6 Peanut Envy Black
#6 Kreelex
#6 Pat's Stone Black
#6 Jewel Theif Olive
#8 Chubby Chernobyl (UV) (Gold) (Purple)
#16 Mercers Missing Link

#16 Purple Craze
#10 Jumping Jack Flash
#6 Zonker Natural over Copper
#12 Bloom's Caddis
#14 Elk Hair Caddis
#16 Compara Dun PMD
#18 Film Critic PMD

Recent streamer eater from inside city limits, Melrose, Montana.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

May 28th '19 - A-May-Zing time to be out on the Big Hole River

We had a wonderful Memorial Weekend in southwest Montana with the typical wet weather pattern we see this time of the year. Thank you to all the families and those whose gave their life so that we can all go fishing and enjoy the great outdoors. Many of the rivers in the state are in wonderful condition, and that made for a slightly more calm and less crowded weekend on the Big Hole. The fishing is great from top to bottom and we should see that continue with the nice weather headed our way, finally.  Not too long and we will be hearing the murmurs that precede the legendary salmonfly hatch and the excitement of Salmonfly Fest 2019 which is going to be Friday the 14th and Saturday the 15th of June. Stay tuned for all the details!

Anglers have been doing very well running a large dry fly with a worm or nymph dropper, taking fish on both ends.  As our flows start to increase, many sections will also favor a deeper nymph rig. The grannom caddis came through and have given a number of people a great time on the caddis dry fly, with a few fish looking up regardless of bug activity. We have seen the trout transition into the faster zones and out of the slower inside seams and pools. Our guides have had excellent results rowing their tails off and putting our guests into quality trout on the outside banks and faster riffle drops. What a hoot!

Those with larger quarry in mind using larger meals have been enjoying a very good streamer bite, with fish upriver keying on small minnows/sculpin and the fish downriver going ham for crawdad imitations coming off the full moon. Pressure has been spread out, and it has been nice to have the river to yourself. Rising flows will keep the streamer bite moving, and we are on the lookout for the bigger browns with the current flows.

Holler at us for the latest word from the river, to reserve a guide, or book a shuttle. We have three more days before the regulations set in on the Big Hole, so if you want to fish with one of our expert guides on the Big Hole River, act fast! Folks book a year out to fish in June and July, so sneak in ahead and reap the benefits!

Tight lines and wet nets,

-Dan

Link to Salmonfly Fest June 14th, 15th 2019

#6 Mini Dungeon White
#6 Mini Dungeon Olive
#2 Wedgehead Black
#6 Pat's Stone - Black
#4 Sparkle Minnow
#8 Chubby Chernobyl (UV) (Gold) (Purple)
#16 Bloom's Caddis

#14 Corn Fed Caddis
#10 Jumpin Jack Flash
#14 Silver Lightning Bug
#6 JJ Special
#4 Smoke & Mirrors Silver & Blue
#16 Split Winged BWO
#16 Blue Winged Olive Comparadun

Thursday, May 23, 2019

May 23rd '19 Friday Fishing Report & Outlook - Dropping flows and increasing water temps!

After another bout with old man winter, the Big Hole River has been on a steady drop for the last four days. Fishing has picked up from top to bottom, and we will see great conditions for the next week or so through out the Big Hole system. March Browns have been coming off, and we should see more fish looking up as we get into the weekend. Nymphing remains consistent, yesterday reports indicated a preference for stonefly nymph or a small minnow over the popular garden hackle imitation. Check below from fly recommendations.

Streamer anglers also have seen a big increase in action, with lighter tones such as silver, white, and the infamous yellow getting many of the strikes. Keep rotating through your favorite colors, but its important to have minnows and sculpin profiles on deck as well as crawdads for the river downstream from Browne's bridge.

Those anglers looking for rising trout should be feeling optimistic.  We had numerous eats yesterday with our clients using the dry dropper technique, so that is a good sign. We are hoping to see caddis pop this weekend, and the blue winged olives and march browns will certainly be making an appearance at some point. Be sure to keep an eye on foam eddies and tailout foam/bubble lines for your best shot at getting into topwater action.

The water temperatures will be on the way up for the next few days at least, which will bode well for anyone on the Big Hole. Certain sections may get a little busy this weekend, so please give other folks plenty of space and don't be scared to try a section less fished. Plenty of big healthy trout throughout the river from top to bottom.

We have guides available, shuttle teams ready, and all the advice you might need so please stop by or give us a call at 406-835-3474 if we can help.

Good luck, tight lines, and wet nets,

Dan Soltau

Shop Manager

#4 Mini Dungeon - White
#4 Sparkle Minnow
#4 Smoke & Mirrors Yellow
#6 Zonker - Yellow & Pearl
#6 Flash minnow
#8 Chubby Chernobyl - Purple
#8 Water Walker - Purple

#12 Purple Rooster
#12 Red Copper John
#12 Silver Lightning Bug
#8-10 Girdle Bug - Black
#18 Film Critic BWO
#12 Parachute March Brown
#12-14 Brindle Chute

Sunrise guide Lee Coyle and company getting into quality brown trout during spring/winter conditions.

Friday, May 17, 2019

May 17th ’19 - Big Hole River Fishing Report - Big river, big trout. And some rain.

Flows on the Big Hole have been on a gradual climb for the past week, and we are seeing the big brown trout activity increase due to an abundance of worms, bugs, and other fish on the menu. Our guides have been consistently putting quality fish in the boat, with more each day. That includes a few really big brown trout! They, along with most other anglers, have been focusing their efforts on the portion of the river upstream of the Wise River confluence. The Wise is adding color to the water, however visibility is still half-decent even down here in Melrose. Now is great time to hire a guide on the Big Hole river, as it is typically the best shot at hooking a big brown trout and also a slightly more difficult time to fish the river without a guide. 

A big, bushy dry fly with a worm or girdle bug below has been a consistent fish catcher throughout the last week, with around 3’ between the bugs. Streamer fishing has been making an impact as well, with some very nice trout being fooled by sculpin and minnow imitations. Other anglers are using a small streamer to lead their nymph rig under a bobber and having great success. 

Dry fly anglers are being kept honest at the moment, and with that being said, we have had some of the finest trout of the day come up for the dry fly recently. There are a number of skwala stones still crawling around, with the march brown mayflies hatching intermittently. The blue winged olive mayflies will be kicking into gear soon, and with a slight drop in flows we will see fish up in the right spots soon enough.

Flows have passed 5k at Maiden Rock, and we strongly recommend not floating below Jerry Creek unless you have a qualified oarsmen and are looking for more of an experience. We have enough visibility to have solid fishing down on the lower river, however the bite has been tough to put a finger on. Focusing on slower seams and slough edges will be the best bet on the middle and lower portions of the Big Hole. We have rain in the forecast for the near future, and we are expecting the worm and minnow bite to be solid for quite a while throughout the river system.

Cooler nights are on the way, and we are genuinely excited about the next few weeks leading into salmonfly season. The flows are starting to stabilize, and we are hoping to see the middle and lower portions of the Big Hole come back into play during the week. For now, we are offering guides and shuttles on the upper river, so please give us a shout if you are interested in either at 406-835-3474!

-Dan Soltau, Shop Manager

Call 406-835-FISH for the latest word from the river!

#6 Mini Dungeon in Black, Olive, & White
#4 Sparkle Minnow
#4 Little Kim Copper
#6 Girdle Bug in Black & Coffee Variant
#4 Flash Minnow
#8 Chubby Chernobyl (UV) (Gold) (Purple)

#6 Zonker in White & Natural over Copper
#8 Jig Squirmy Wormy
#10 Ninch's Fish Finder Worm Burgundy
#10 Heavy P Nymph
#6 Danny Boy Sculpin
#2 DWFCo Walter's Weakness is Black & Olive & Silver & Tan

Co-owner and outfitter Ryan Barba putting Lynn, a favorite client of ours on a true trophy brown trout from just a few days back near Jerry Creek on the Big Hole River.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Flows on the Big Hole are starting to come up daily due to some snowmelt but not enough to put the fishing down. Fishing has been pretty darn good lately even with the slight bump in flows. Clarity remains around 4 feet. We have some skwalas around and March Brown mayflies. Our Big Hole River guides have been fishing on the upper Big Hole, Canyon stretches and the lower Big Hole. All three sections of the Big Hole has been fishing well. Water temperatures are hitting the magic number of 50 degrees lately, which has gotten the streamer junkies excited. We have done well on black, olive, and tan streamers. As we all know, conditions this time of year can change quick. Give us a call for up to date information. 406-835-3474.

Book your Spring Special fishing package today! 

Recommended Flies: #10 Water Walker Olive; #8 Mr. Beam; #12 Parachute Adam's; #8 T.J. Hooker; #8 Pat's Stone; #12 Prince Nymph; #10 Squirmy Worm; #8 San Juan Worm Pink/Red #6 Smokin' Mirrors Black; #6 Flash Minnow Yellow; #6 She Deamon;  Sex Dungeon Black/Yellow/White

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

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.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Big Hole is finally coming into decent fishing shape from the ice flows we had last week. Water clarity here in Melrose is 2 feet and we are starting to have consistent fishing. We have not seen much for dry fly fishing but that should improve towards the end of the week as air temperatures are going to improve. The Big Hole is currently running at 1,610 cfs in Melrose and the water temperatures are reaching the mid 40's during the heat of the day. The skwalla nymphs are moving around and we are mostly catching fish subsurface on Pat's stones, and San Juan worms. Currently the river is a nice stable flow. Spring fishing should be heating up!

Book your Spring Special Package Today!

 Eric with a nice Spring trout on the Big Hole

Recommended Flies: #16 Shop Vac; #8 San Juan Worm Pink/red/Wine; #8 Mr. Beam Skwalla; #10 Chubby Tan/Olive; #4 Yellow Yummy; #4 Sparkle Minnow; #6 Flash Minnow; #8 Prince Nymph; #8 Pat's Stone

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