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Big Hole River Fishing Report

Near Melrose, MT

MELROSE WEATHER
Big Hole

Big Hole River Fishing Report

Near Melrose, MT

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Spring will be here before you know it. Come fish some of our first hatches of the season. Spring in Montana means longer days, warmer weather, and the start of the fishing season. When it comes to trout fishing, April and May really don’t get the recognition they deserve. If you are willing to throw on an extra layer and hit the water, you are likely to be rewarded with some of the finest fishing of the year.

With Skwala hatches, BWO, Mother’s Day Caddis, and arguably the best streamer fishing of the year, the spring has something to offer every angler. Book a Spring fishing trip with Sunrise Fly Shop and experience the magic of Spring in Montana for yourself.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Mid Winter Update - Sale Items - Spring Special

It is late January here on the Big Hole River. The river is frozen over as it typically is in January. You will not find open water unless springs are entering the river or you have a high gradient zone. As far as snowpack goes we are seeing an average winter so far. The Big Hole watershed is at 97% of normal snowpack. So what does this mean for water levels this spring and summer? It is way too early to predict water levels for the 2020 season. It is not until late February and mid March that we will know more on snowpack. The next two months can be our wettest months of the year for snowpack.

It is time to start thinking about Spring fishing. We are running our very popular Spring Special again. Here is the link for information on the Spring Special.

We have many exciting sale products currently on our online Store. You can Find Simms Headwaters Boots - Felt 25% off.  Also we have in stock the Simms Rip Rap Sandal - Felt 30% off. Simms Guide jacket -Loden 20% off. Simms Rogue Fleece Hoody - River Camo 25% off

Click Here to visit our sales page on our online Store   Free Shipping on Orders over $75.00

Friends of ours at Big Sky Sotheby's Realty currently has a great house for sale to land you in the fishing mecca of Dilllon, Montana. View the listing here 

Sale Items on our Online Store

Simms Rip Rap Sandal 30% off

Simms Headwaters Boot felt 25% off

Simms Guide Jacket Loden 20% off

Simms Rogue fleece Hoody 25% off

 Simms Guide Jacket Loden 20% off

Simms Guide Jacket Loden 20% off

 Simms Rip Rap Sandal Felt 30% off

Simms Rip Rap Sandal Felt 30% off

 Simms Headwaters Boot Felt Boot 25% off

Simms Headwaters Boot Felt Boot 25% off

 Simms Rogue Fleece Hoody 25% off

Simms Rogue Fleece Hoody 25% off

Monday, November 25, 2019

Shop With us for Small Business Saturday

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

Get all of your shopping needs done on Small Business Saturday on our new online Store. Shop Now! 

USE CODE "THANKYOUFROMSUNRISE" at checkout for 15% off your online order! 

You will find the New Ross Evolution LTX Limited Edition reel, Abel Vaya Reel and many sale items from the 2019 season!

Free Shipping on all orders over $75.00

 Book your February Salt Water Trip with us call for details 406-835-3474

Book your February Salt Water Trip with us call for details 406-835-3474

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Big Hole River Fall Fishing Report

It has been an up and down October so far as far as the weather goes. We have seen 30 degrees below normal some days and then normal air temperatures. We are back to the consistent fall weather right now, which has the fishing pretty darn good at the moment. Water temperatures are getting into the upper 40's and the trout are feeding well during the 10 am - 4 pm window timeframe. For a few hours of the day and in specific sections of the river we are seeing Mahogany Duns and Blue Winged Olives. Our best corse of action for catching fish lately has been streamers and nymphs. Flows are up at the moment and the river is running clear. We are seeing 610 cfs in Melrose and 650 cfs in glen. Fishing will remain strong this month.

We currently have guides available and lodging discounts for the remainder of the month! Give us a call today 406-835-3474

#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 Orange
#14 Purple Haze
#16 Split Winged BWO
#16 Blue Winged Olive Comparadun

 Recent catch on a guide trip. It′s been a great October so far.

Recent catch on a guide trip. It′s been a great October so far.

Friday, September 13, 2019

September 13th, 2019 - Big Hole River Fishing Report - Flows up, fish happy.

Apologies for the tardiness on a river update, we have been cranking away with lots of activity. After our first blast of fall weather last weekend, we are now back into a more comfortable flow on the Big Hole. Anglers on foot are still getting around easily, and the floaters, especially the raft community are happy as well. Hard boats are best suited Maiden Rock down at the moment.

Blue winged olives are beginning, and reports indicate that in the right spot, at the right time there are good trout looking up. Keep an eye on foamy areas below riffles and runs. Mahoghany duns have also started. The fall weather in the forecast will have those mayflies intensifying river wide. Dry fly anglers will want to check the river out upstream of the canyon for consistency, with sub-surface techniques proving themselves daily on the lower portions of the river.

We have seen fish spread out of the riffles, and into the runs and pools that dot the Big Hole up and down. A stripped streamer still continues to be the best technique for a big brown, and it also allows anglers to cover all the nooks and crannies they like to hide out in. Double dry fly rigs with a modest parachute upfront and little blue wing off the back is going to be a solid rig for the next week or too.

Our fall special offers folks 50% off lodging and $50 off your guide boat when paired together. Minimum two nights, one day guided fishing. October til the season is over. Book now!

Guides, shuttles, and reports. Anytime. 406-835-3474

-Dan Soltau

#4 Mini Boogie Man - Black
#4 Lil Kim Copper
#1 King Rat
#14 Flashy Frank Purple
#12 Gummy Worm Hot Bead
#12 Fish Finder Worm Burgundy
#12 Rocky Mountain Mint Adams

#18 Sparkle Dun BWO
#18 Psycho May BWO
#18 Missing Link
#14 Quigley Cripple

Sunday, September 1, 2019

September 1st Big Hole River Fishing Report - Happy September, folks! Bringing in trico pods, picky hopper eaters, and ants.

We have been fielding a bunch of calls regarding the various closures on the upper and lower Big Hole, however in the stretches that are prime during this time of year, all is well. The upper Big Hole River section has a low flow closure on it which is set in place to protect the fish at the lowest of flows. It is not an uncommon closure. Likewise for the lower river closure below Notch Bottom. While those stretches are prime for spring and early summer conditions, they also see lower activity later in the summer and many of the fish move around the river system to find more suitable habitat. Its what they do!

From Jerry Creek down to Glen, we are seeing river conditions best suited for the raft. We are recommending that hard boats float Browns to Glen or Glen to the Notch.  We are seeing a million hoppers all over, and anglers looking to get into hopper eaters will want to fish ahead of the boat with small tan or pink hopper of a longer than usual leader. An ant or a small trico off the back is not a bad idea at all. When using this technique, it can more important to cover plenty of ground as after the first nice trout is caught in a spot, it is uncommon others will come to the surface after all the commotion.

The "best" reports we are getting are those of small pods of trout wolfing trios in the river above maiden rock up to around Dickie Bridge. There are odd reports of spruce moths so it isn't a bad idea to use one a first fly in a double dry setup. An ant, or mid size parachute such as the Purple Craze would be a good choice. The midday doldrums see fish wanting, if anything at all, a small mayfly nymph or a variegated girdle bug. We are sticking with the dry dropper most of the time on our guided trips, with both choices seeing action.

It can be tough to run a deeper nymph rig right now, however we are having great success with a properly present sculpin or minnow imitation, with a smaller dropper streamer or large nymph. Running these through the speedy tail outs and riffles can pay dividends with the big healthy browns that are typically tough this time of year.

 

We have guides available, shuttles daily, and the latest word. Give us a shout anytime, 406-835-3474.

 

-Dan Soltau

#4 Sparkle Minnow
#4 Lil Kim Tan
#8 Lil Kim Silver
#12 Bloom's Spruce Moth
#10 Chubby Chernobyl Olive
#18 Hamburgler Beetle

#12 Purple Craze
#12 CDC Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail
#20 C-UM Trico
#20 Double Wing Trico
#20 Trico Spinner
#12 Purple PMX
#16 Sparkle Flag Ant

#12 CDC Prince

#10 Morrish Hopper

#10 Girdle Bug Olive/Brown

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

8/27/2019 Big Hole River Fishing Report - Cool water temps, stable flows, and very light traffic.

Other rivers may be seeing high levels of traffic, but it's a ghost town around here. Trout have been keying in on terrestrials with tricos still being a hit in the right spot at the right time. The fish are in great shape, and expect a legitimate challenge when approaching them on the surface. Looking for the faster stuff has been key, but keep a look out for the slower foam lines and current edges with water cooling down.

A variegated girdle bug or a small dark mayfly nymph is a great rotation below a hopper or chubby Chernobyl. A double dry fly rig can also do very well, keying in the faster current seams. An ant, trico cluster, or trico spinner is a solid choice in tow behind a smallish tan hopper.

As per usual, a properly presented streamer is a good way to separate the larger trout that are holding tight to cover, in the riffles, or hanging out in the faster tailouts. Olive, tan, and copper minnow and sculpin patterns have still been favorable, with black picking up each day.

Holler for the latest word, to hire a professional guide, or arrange a shuttle. 406-835-3474.

Dan Soltau

#4 Smoke & Mirrors - JJ
#6 JJ Special
#4 Little Kim Tan
#8-10 Girdle Bug Olive & Brown
#8-10 Girdle Bug Tan & Brown
#8 Chubby Chernobyl - Olive
#10 Chubby Chernobyl - Purple

#18 Hippie Stomper - Royal
#12 Red Copper John
#16 Micro Mayfly - Brown
#12 Bloom's Caddis
#20 Para CDC Trico Spinner
#20 Trico Cluster
#20 Clear Wing Trico Spinner

Monday, August 19, 2019

8/19/2019 - Big Hole River Fishing Report - Flows dropped after major rain event, river in great shape.

Last week we saw a beautiful run of cool weather, and also an impressive amount of rain for August. After almost a 300 CFS increase in flow, the water temps went down big time and have led to great fishing. The slight murk in the water had the fish keeping an eye out for worms, along with streamers. Anglers minding the details have also had shots at big trout eating dries, however it hasn't been easy.

Nocturnal and golden stoneflies have continued to hatch, hoppers are lining the banks, and ants are fooling trout. The trico hatch/spinner fall had been hatching later in the morning, but with the weather pattern warming up we are anticipating them to go back to the early-early morning program. Unfortunately, the spruce moths have been relatively quiet, with reports of heavy activity up in the high country lakes. It is possible that they come down with this next warm spell, so keep checking back.

Small, sparse nymphs have been effective, along with the timeless classic girdle bug. Especially the variegated versions. Streamer fishing, while not always a common tactic this time of the year, is a great way to tag a big brown in the faster water. The trout have still favored the fast water, varying between heavy seams, faster runs, or the shallow riffles themselves. Do not forget about the speedy tail outs either!

Our guide staff has been on the river every day, and they and our guests have had the river to themselves. Now is great time to check the Big Hole out on foot, and also a good idea to get the raft out. Hard boats will definitely be doing some grinding/sliding, and we strongly recommend staying below Melrose. There are a few tight corners with tree limbs coming into play between Melrose and Brownes, and also Glen to Notch Bottom. Flows have receded to the point that floaters can once again drive down to the convergence below the ramp at Glen, avoiding the death march drag back to the ramp.

We have openings on the guide sheet, and excellent conditions to fish the Big Hole. Now is a great time to get a guide for the canyon stretches as well. We have seen some truly large trout moving around lately. Including a few in the net!  Holler anytime for a shuttle, a guide, or the latest report. 406-835-3474.

-Dan Soltau

 

#4 Smoke & Mirrors JJ Special
#4 Little Kim Tan/Gold
#8-10 Girdle Bug Olive/Brown
#8 Girdle Bug Tan/Brown
#8 Chubby Chernobyl Tan
#8 Club Sandwich Hopper

#14 CDC Prince Nymph
#14 Big Spanker Olive
#14 Cow Killer Ant
#16 Hamburgler
#20 Clear Wing Trico
#20 Double Wing Trico
#20 Compara Dun Female Trico

 Outifitter Ryan Barba doing some heavy lifting with a new angler from a recent guide trip.

Outifitter Ryan Barba doing some heavy lifting with a new angler from a recent guide trip.

Friday, August 9, 2019

8/9/2019 - Big Hole River Fishing Report - Favorable weather, solid flows, thick tricos, and quiet spruce moths (so far).

August has started off solid on the Big Hole. Traffic has been fairly quiet, and those looking to dial in their dry fly game have been rewarded. Large trout have patrolling edges looking for tricos, ants, your odd spruce moth, and hopper. It isn't for the faint of heart, however they can be had with a proper presentation from a proper distance.

There has been a hoot owl restriction put on the lower Big Hole below Notch Bottom, and for the last two weeks it has been a tough section to fish. Many of the trout have moved up into other haunts with cooler, healthier water. Wait for another period of cool nights before heading lower.

Hard boats are doing ok from Melrose to Glen, but it is for sure raft season in these parts. Folks looking to hit the spruce moths will want to focus on the river from Jerry Creek to Melrose, and that could happen any day however it hasn't been anything to note thus far. Stripping or dragging a sculpin or minnow has been paying dividends through the faster stretches of river right now, and keying in on those areas with fast moving water is critical.

The quality of the brown trout lately has been remarkable and they have not been easy to catch. It can really pay to hire a guide this time of the year, so feel free to give us a shout and let us show you the Big Hole. Shuttles, gear, reports, guides... give us a call! 406-835-3474

 

Dan Soltau

#6 Mini Loop Sculpin Tan
#6 Mini Loop Sculpin Olive
#8 Little Kim Silver
#10 Girdle Bug Olive & Brown
#4 Jewel Thief Silver
#20 C-U-M Trico
#20 Pearl Butt Trico

#18 Sparkle Flag Ant
#12 Red Copper John
#12 Silver Lightning Bug
#12 Bloom's Spruce Moth
#18 Hippie Stomper Brown

#20 Para Trico Spinner

Friday, August 2, 2019

8/2/19 - Big Hole River Report - Tricos are hatching, no significant spruceys yet, healthy trout!

August is here and we have snuck underneath the 500 CFS mark, with 460 CFS in Melrose this morning. Tricos are hatching best top high, with a decent amount of PMDS and a few other mayflies still hatching. Water temps dipped to 61 last night, the coolest in over a week. We have seen some really nice brown trout as of late, very thick and healthy.

Anglers looking for surface activity will want to get an early start, and/or stick around until the last hour or so of light. A small caddis/sally with a trico in tow will be a good start, and if you have eagle eyes a single trico is ideal. With the sallies, larger mayflies, and your odd caddis kicking around, a micro chubby, trude, or wulff can fool nice trout and makes for a good lead fly with small trico cluster or ant behind it.

We are experiencing consistent actions using a small sculpin with a caddis style nymph as your second fly. Primarily focusing on the riffles and faster portions of the river. Look for the speedier tailouts and riffle zones to produce trout.

We will keep everyone posted on the moths, and we are expecting to see many more once this next little heat wave moves through. Historically speaking, that is what gets them down to the river and we have been getting daily storms which seems to keep them up high in the trees.

Hard boats are still viable below Melrose, and anything up is best suited for an inflatable. Holler anytime for a guide, shuttle, or the latest word fro the water. 406-835-3474.

 

Dan Soltau

#10 Water Walker - Peanut

#10 Water Walker - Olive

#18 Missing Link

#16 Sparkle Flag Ant

#20 Peacock Cluster

#20 Hi Vis Trico Spinner

#16 Micro Chubby Olive

#CFO Chernobyl Peach

#10 Morrish Hopper

#4 Lil Kim Copper

#8 Mojo Minnow

 Tank.

Tank.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

7/28/29 Big Hole Report - Dropping flows, nocturnal stones, & terrestrials

We are approaching the 500 CFS mark here in Melrose, and we are suggesting that all hard boat traffic stay below town. Rafts are useful this time of year, and allow anglers to access the upper portions of the river.

Nocturnal stoneflies are hatching on a nightly basis, and we are seeing success on the surface on a daily basis until about 9 am with larger dry flies. The caddis and pmds are dwindling, however sallies are still present. The hopper bite seems to be pairing with the nocturnal activity, and the afternoons and evenings the last few days have seen great fish looking for them.

Subsurface has still been the most consistent. Nymphing with a variegated girdle bug and/or a sally nymph has been producing. Trout are lying in the fast tailouts and riffles, with a few occupying the runs. The runs and pools are currently holding whitefish, and the action can be aggressive. Stripping a streamer has also been effective in the right spot!

We have had very sparse reports of spruce moths, and the tricos are nowhere to be seen to this point. Any day now!

Glen boat ramp update - The water is primarily going down the left channel, and the little water that is going right boat ramp channel has made for an extremely difficult, if not dangerous approach into the boat ramp channel. So, in order to use the take out, the boat must be pulled upstream to the boat ramp. As the river continues to drop, it is possible that driving down the boat ramp to the channel confluence will once again be an option like it was later in the season last year.

Holler anytime for a guide, shuttle, or latest report/update! 406-835-3474

Dan Soltau

 

#4 Lil Kim Tan
#4 Lil Kim Copper
#6-8 Girdle Bug Coffee/Black
#8-10 Girdle Bug Olive/Brown
#8 Chubby Chernobyl (UV) (Gold) (Purple)
#12 Chubby Pink

#12 Red Copper John
#12 Silver Lightning Bug
#10 CFO Peach Chernobyl
#18 Missing Link
#16 Sparkle Flag Ant Black
#16 Sparkle Ant Cinnamon

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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

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

July 23rd '19 - Bugs and healthy, strong trout on the Big Hole.

Flows and conditions are transitioning nicely into the mid-late Summer program, and fishing has continued to be very good. Nocturnal stones are hatching, along with sallies plus a few pmds and caddis. Flows have dropped down to a flow that is best suited for rafts above Divide, and drift boats remain choice for the river below Maiden Rock.

Reports from today have been all dry fly, with a small stonefly like a chubby Chernobyl being the hot ticket. Hoppers, terrestrials, ants, caddis... Look for the early morning bite on bright summer days, and the evening on many nights.

Most of our action has been subsurface in the last week, with the fast riffles being the primary focus for river structure. Girdle bugs, a drowned PMD spinner, or a sally nymph seems to get the job done. Run your nymphs fairly shallow, with a lite amount of weight and target the water 1-3' deep that is moving quickly. While many spots look very "trout-ey," don't let that fool you. The smooth runs, seams, and tailouts that hold trout for the rest of the year are home to whitefish right now.

Holler at us for the latest reports, to book a quality guide, and/or book a shuttle. 406-835-3474

#10 Water Walker Purple
#10-12 Chubby Olive or Gold
#4 Lil Kim Copper
#16 Hippie Stomper Royal
#10 Jumpin Jack Flash
#14 Rocky Mountain Mint

#16 Psycho Prince
#12 Red Copper John
#12 Silver Lightning Bug
#14 Bloom's Caddis
#16 Flag Ant
#14 Power Ant

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