Big Hole River Fishing Report

Near Melrose, MT

MELROSE WEATHER
Big Hole

Big Hole River Fishing Report

Near Melrose, MT

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

 A bug′s life.

A bug′s life.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

July 17 '19 - Reporting from Melrose, daily showers making for great fishing on the Big Hole

We had minor heat wave last week, and anglers getting out at the crack of dawn had excellent dry fly action along with a solid streamer bite. Cooler weather has set back in, and is here for a few more days before our next summer heat wave returns. This is great for the fishing, and that was reflected with our guide trips yesterday. Our last blast of rain has once again put the river over 1k at Glen, which is excellent news.

Fish are looking for nymphs of all sizes, with the trout primarily hanging out in the riffles with whitefish taking over the runs, pools, and tailouts. Our guides had great trout eating girdle bugs, lightning bugs, and other small mayfly nymphs. The canyon stretches have favored a caddis pupae. Sallies and golden stones are kicking around and persistence can pay off throwing the larger dry, but you better be stubborn and put good drifts towards any bankside structure. Likewise with the streamer, but it pays off big.

Rafts are the craft of choice above Maiden Rock, and drift boats are a great way to float especially from Melrose downstream. No reports on tricos, however there a few anglers who have had great success on hoppers. Mostly tan in sizes ranging from 10-14, and keep ants on the back burner. Again, presentation is critical here. Tippet to 4x and a longer leader around 9-10', especially if wade fishing will help your cause.

Holler for the latest, we have boats out everyday and guides available along with shuttles and accommodations in Melrose. 406-835-3474.

Dan Soltau

 

#8 Jumpin Jack Flash
#6 Sparkle Minnow
#Beldar Bugger Olive
#8 Girdle Bug Black/Coffee
#14 Kyle's BH Yellow Sally
#14 Shuck It Jig Caddis
#16 Micro Mayfly

#16 Purple Rooster
#12 Red Copper John
#14 Silver Lightning Bug
#12-14 Bloom's Caddis
#10 Water Walker Purple
#8 Water Walker Black
#14 Chubby Chernobyl Olive and/or Purple

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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

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

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