Mother’s Day Caddis Hatch on the Big Hole River

Fishing the Mother’s Day Caddis hatch on the Big Hole river can make your southwest Montana fly fishing vacation memorable. The caddis hatch can get so thick on the Big Hole that you better keep your mouth closed, or you might have a caddis flying down your throat. When the caddis come off, it looks like another spring snowstorm in southwest Montana. The Mother’s Day Caddis hatch is the last hatch before runoff clouds our rivers and we wait for Salmon flies.

Spring fly fishing in Southwest Montana is filled with unpredictable weather–including snow, sun, clouds and rain. The payoff for dealing with the potentially nasty weather is having days when the Big Hole’s brown trout eat voraciously on the surface. As the ice leaves the rivers of Southwest Montana, Skwalla stoneflies begin to emerge and anglers hit the Big Hole River for this exciting hatch. After the explosive eats by Skwallas on the surface, anglers wait patiently for the rewarding yet finicky Mother’s Day Caddis hatch.

The Mother’s Day Caddis hatch is one of the bonus hatches for fly fishers to hit in their lifetime if you can time it right. This is because the elements that need to be in place for the hatch to occur while the trout are interested in eating on the surface depend on many factors. These factors include water temperature between 52-55 degrees for an extended period of time, water with at least 2 feet of visibility so the trout can see the caddis on the surface, and consistent water flow.

Here is what an angler needs to look for to hit this hatch on the famed Big Hole River. Typically if you have had a lighter snowpack at low elevations you will have a much better chance of having a good Mother’s Day Caddis hatch. Freestone rivers like the Big Hole are influenced dramatically by snowmelt. If you have a small runoff from the low elevation snowpack, it will take longer for the rivers to dirty and swell from melting snow.

Another variable you will want to monitor is the actual flow of the river. If water flows are over 2000c.f.s. at the Melrose gauge, trout will be less likely to rise to caddis on the lower and middle sections than they would at lower flows. Mother’s Day Caddis will be fishable at high flows when you get above the Wise River on the Big Hole.

A great float for the Mother’s day Caddis is from East bank to Jerry Creek. This section has low gradient and long slicks and undercut banks to fish caddis. You will also find swirling back eddies where fish are feeding on the foam lines. When flows are below 2000c.f.s. at the Melrose gauge the most prolific section with Caddis is the Divide to Melrose section. In the tail-outs of runs and slow moving willow strewn banks you will find trout eating caddis on the surface. Flies of choice for this hatch on the Big Hole River are #12 tan slick water caddis, #12 tan Caddis Pupa, #12 peacock X Caddis.

On the Big Hole River the caddis can hatch from around May 10th -25th.

Stay in touch with Sunrise Fly Shop 406-835-3474 or to get your latest conditions on the Big Hole River’s Mother’s Day Caddis hatch or tips on planning your next Montana fly fishing vacation.