Fishing Access Improvements on the Big Hole River

Angling access on one of Montana’s premier trout rivers has just gotten a little better.  During the fall of 2010, Montana’s Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks made major improvements to three different fishing access sights on the Big Hole River in Southwest Montana.  Pumphouse, Salmon Fly, and Glen fishing access sights were the recipients of long-overdue improvements and makeovers.

At the Powerhouse Fishing Access (more commonly referred to as Silverbridge) 2 and a half miles west of Divide, crews installed a new single-wide concrete boat ramp, and expanded and improved the parking area.  A permanent vault latrine will also be installed as soon as the weather permits.  This ramp improvement coincides with the removal of the Pumphouse diversion just downstream from the Silverbridge fishing access.  Prior to this improvement, the Silverbridge boat ramp was little more than a steep dirt slope cut between a few willows.  Now, with the addition of a concrete ramp and improved space for parking, Silverbridge is a more user-friendly and safer FAS on the Big Hole River. “With the expected increased use at the Silverbridge now that the diversion dam has been reconstructed, it is going to be so nice to have an actual ramp and a larger parking area to really help with congestions” said Ryan Barba, owner of the Sunrise Fly Shop in Melrose, MT.

Down river at Salmon Fly Fishing Access Site in the town of Melrose, crews installed a concrete boat ramp and improved the parking area for one of the busiest fishing access on the Big Hole River.  For years, guides and recreational users had to navigate dirt mounds and mud puddles to back their trailer over a primitive dirt ramp.  After just one week of work, crews were able to install a double-wide concrete ramp, reclaim degraded sections of the bank that were void of riparian vegetation from years of trampling, installed a jack-leg fence to protect the improved riparian habitat, and imported gravel and soil to smooth out the parking area.  Simple improvements such as these have made the Salmon Fly Fishing Access not only a more functional fishing access, but a more aesthetically pleasing one as well.

Another twelve miles down river from Melrose, at the Glen Fishing Access Site on the Burma Road, crews also installed a new concrete boat ramp and made improvements to the parking and camping areas.  Similar to the improvements made at the Salmon Fly Fishing Access, these upgrades will make accessing the Big Hole River easier for all users while helping to protect the bank and the riparian vegetation at the fishing access sight.

All of the recent improvements to the fishing access on the Big Hole River will help to make accessing the river a safer endeavor, disperse boat and user traffic, and protect fish and wildlife habitat.  “The Big Hole River (is) internationally renowned for (it’s) excellent trout fishing,” said FWP Regional Parks Manager Jerry Walker. “These improvements will enhance access for the public while protecting the outstanding resources along these waterways.”