The Big Hole is finally coming into decent fishing shape from the ice flows we had last week. Water clarity here in Melrose is 2 feet and we are starting to have consistent fishing. We have not seen much for dry fly fishing but that should improve towards the end of the week as air temperatures are going to improve. The Big Hole is currently running at 1,610 cfs in Melrose and the water temperatures are reaching the mid 40’s during the heat of the day. The skwalla nymphs are moving around and we are mostly catching fish subsurface on Pat’s stones, and San Juan worms. Currently the river is a nice stable flow. Spring fishing should be heating up!
It has been a crazy week here on the Big Hole River. Every year we get the spring thaw in the valley and that occurred this week. On Wednesday some major ice jams broke on the upper Big Hole. Currently we are ice free all the way up to Mudd Creek. The Big Hole River had a major flush occur on Wednesday as the ice jams broke, which made a muddy mess on the entire river. When the ice flows broke the river went over 5,000cfs here in Melrose. Currently the river has dropped to a manageable flow of 2,200cfs. A huge improvement has occurred and it will continue to get better. Currently we have around 18 inches of visibility here in Melrose. The river will start to fish this weekend. I don’t think it will be stellar but you will be able to catch a few fish subsurface on nymphs and streamers. Besides low visibility the cold water temperatures will make the fishing tough. We need the temperatures to get into the mid 40’s and currently they are in the upper 30’s. You will find the warmest water conditions around Melrose this weekend for fishing. Accessibility and hazards are too dangerous to float anything above Jerry Creek at the point.
Recommended Flies: #8 San Juan Worm Pink/red/Wine; #4 Yellow Yummy; #4 Sparkle Minnow; #6 Flash Minnow; #8 Prince Nymph; #8 Pat’s Stone
Time to kick off the 2019 fishing season on the Big Hole River. The shop will officially open April 1st and we are running shuttles tomorrow if you need one just give us a call. We got out and fished and had pretty good success below Melrose during the afternoon heat of the day hours. Mainly subsurface on Skwala nymphs and streamers moving very slow in deep buckets. We have lots of ice on the banks and most of the sections are still not floatable due to ice shelves on the boat ramps and snow in the boat ramps. Currently the only sections we can float are Melrose to Brownes Bridge and Jerry creek to George Grant (Dewey). As the thaw continues we will keep you up to date on when more sections open up to float fishing. Lots of new gear and flies are coming in daily and some remodeling is going on in the fly shop. Our lodging is open and currently taking reservations.
Fishing has been a bit all over the board lately. The clear sunny days have been tough, but the overcast damp days have had the larger brown trout on the prowl. You will find some hatches of Blue Winged Olives and Mahogany Duns lately. The streamer fisherman have done well during the low light times. Streamers of choice have been J.J’s, Flash Minnows in olive and black, Little Kim’s and tan Home Invaders. the lower Big Hole below Melrose is seeing a nice bump in flows. Fall fishing is here and it is time to get your streamer box out and enjoy the last six weeks of trout fishing season on the wonderful Big Hole River.
Looks like tomorrow will be our first blast of fall weather. Cooler weather with some rain should bring the aggressive brown trout back on the feed on the Big Hole. A few of the cottonwoods are turning yellow and the willows along the banks are showing some fall colors. This all means that it’s time to throw streamers and the fall baetis and Mahogany Duns are going to blanket the water. The best fishing hours are moving to the middle of the day while the water warms in to the upper 50’s.
Dry fly fishing on the Big Hole River has been pretty good lately. It has been so good that our guides haven’t even been putting a nymph dropper below the dry fly. In the morning around 9 am you will find Spruce Moths. Then around 11 am the tricos will be filling the recipe. From 1 pm on we have been throwing hoppers with some nice success. You will find the Spruce Moth’s from Jerry Creek down into the Maiden Rock Canyon. Streamers have been working well in the shallow fast riffles. The color of choice for streamers has been olive or tan lately.
Dry fly fishing has been stellar lately on the Big Hole River. The Spruce Moth hatch from Jerry Creek down to the Maiden Rock Canyon has been excellent. Your best dry fly fishing on Spruce Moth’s has been from around 8 am – 2:00 pm. We are seeing some trico’s but the hatch has not taken off yet. Look for trico’s to be in the ball game in the next week or so on the Big Hole River. The lower Big Hole has been the place to be for decent hopper fishing. We are seeing a lot of hoppers on the banks, so it could really heat up this August for hopper fishing. Streamer fishing has been good in the fast riffles.
The flows on the upper Big Hole are stable and the flow around Melrose are on a slight increase today. We have been fishing on the stretches above the Wise River on the Big Hole and around Melrose. Clarity is around 3 feet and the fishing has been pretty good. We have had hatches of Mother’s Day Caddis on the stretches around Melrose and the upper Big Hole has had hatches of March Brown’s, gray drakes, and blue winged olives. We did an evening float below Melrose last night and streamer fishing was very good. On the upper river we have been fishing streamers, worms, and some gray drake dries in the back eddies. It should be a great weekend on the Big Hole coming up!
Sunrise Fly Shop Client Dustin with a Big Hole Brown from yesterday
Recommended Flies: #10 Gray Drake; #12 X Caddis; #8 Mr. Beam; #10 Olive Chubby; #8 Bullet Head Skwalla; #10 Pat’s Stone (Olive/Brown); #8 San Juan Worm; #6 Flash Minnow (Olive); #6 Smokin’ Mirrors (Black); #6 Sparkle Minnow; #4 Little Kim; #6 Screamer (Yellow) (Olive)
The Big Hole is coming back into fishable shape. We had a stellar day yesterday and it should continue to improve as long as the river keeps dropping. We are doing the best with streamers, san juan worms and stone fly nymphs. The weather looks stable and the river should continue to improve. We currently have 18 inches of visibility. We have not found too much for dry fly fishing. With increases in water temperatures over the next few days you should fins some hatches of March browns, skwallas and blue winged olives.
We are in a nice spring window of fishing at the moment. With this said, anything can happen to change the fishing since we have a tremendous snowpack this year. Currently we have a foot of visibility on the Big Hole and it is fishing ok. We have done the best sub surface with streamers and nymphs. You might find some fish up eating march brown’s and sqwallas but for the most part the fish have been feeding underneath for us. Nice spring weather on tap for the next few days and currently the river is somewhat stable.