Fly fishing the Big Hole River during the Spruce Moth Hatch
August is a wonderful time to be in Southwest Montana. Everyone who has been chasing the Salmon Fly Hatches from river to river are now gone. Evenings are getting cold and day time highs are warm. Besides the hoppers, and ants the one terrestrial hatch I look forward to every year is the Spruce Moth hatch on the Big Hole River.
The moth lives inside Douglas Fir Trees and Lodge Pole Pine trees. Once the forests have dried out from the summer heat and lack of moisture they fly from the trees they dwell in, and flock to the river for a dip and become a meal for trout. This hatch on the Big Hole is in my mind the best and most consistent hatch of the year, low clear water, with fish looking up crushing spruce moths on the banks. The spruce moth hatch does not occur on the entire Big Hole River. It is concentrated in the section where we have the most pine trees. From Jerry Creek fishing access to Maiden Rock Fishing Access is where you will find the Spruce Moth hatch. Size #14 and #12 tan elk hair caddis are the best imitations for the Spruce Moth. We tie them at the Sunrise Fly Shop with extra bushy elk hair. You will only find the Spruce Moths on or near banks. Rarely do the moths flutter in the middle of the river.
This hatch is one that every angler should fish. You will be amazed how many trout are looking up to eat when the moths are on the water. Since this is a terrestrial hatch, you do not have to fish a nymphal stage. Slamming the water with a fluttering Spruce Moth pattern is a blast. You have not missed the hatch. Due to a later summer start, all of our hatches are about two weeks behind this year. We predict the hatch will occur around the 10th of August. Get out to the Big Hole for some great terrestrial fishing. Click here for more information on fishing the Big Hole River.