During last week we saw some colder temperatures that stopped some of the spring snowmelt and we saw the river drop back down near historical averages. With the drop in flows the visibility improved and we started having some really good fishing. We started seeing a few skwalas flying around, and as a result fish were coming up for a dry fly. Our best fishing for the last few days has come while using a dry/dropper with a Skwala dry and a San Juan worm. The forecast for the next week is calling for some warmer daytime temperatures and as a result we might see the river start to bump. Hopefully any increases will be minimal and we will continue to see good fishing on the Big Hole. Give us a call at the shop to get the most up to date report on the river condition.
The Big Hole River is almost entering flood stage in Melrose. With the heavy rain predicted the next couple days I would think the river will continue to climb. It is downright dangerous to float the Big Hole unless you are well above the Wise River. If you must get out and float (which I suggest you stay home and tie flies) I would do a stretch around Mudd Creek or Fishtrap. Fishing has been tough lately and it won’t get better until the flows drop. We will keep you posted when conditions improve. Even though the river is high and off color we have managed to get some good fish lately but we aren’t catching many.
Some warm weather the last several days has the mid to low elevation snow melting and has caused the river to gain a large volume of water. Today the river has leveled off for the moment on the upper river gauges. We might get a window of good fishing the next few days on the upper Big Hole since the melting will stop due to the cold winter like conditions today. River clarity is the main concern for us right now. We need improving water conditions to get the fish eating. We will keep you posted and hopefully the fishing improves.
The upper Big Hole River has leveled off for the last few days. We currently have 2 feet of clarity in the river. Our Big Hole River guides are back on the river and we are catching some nice fish lately. Our guides have been fishing the upper Big Hole since it has less water volume and more fishable water at these high flows. The Mother’s Day Caddis have hatched all the way up to East Bank, but the river is currently too high to get the trout to eat on the surface. We have been doing the best subsurface with dead drifted streamers and worms. The trout have been filling up on worms lately. We have had fish puking up worms in our boats when we land fish lately. Some worms have been 5 inches long! Sparkle minnow, yellow yummies, Smoking’ Mirrors and zonkers have been our best streamers. If you are looking to fish high water for some trophy trout, this is the time to be here. Conditions can change if we get increases in flows so please call for the latest update. Here is some information on the 2nd annual Salmonfly Fest.
Our Client Justin caught this Brown on the Big Hole yesterday
Recommended Flies: #10 Purple Haze; #12 X Caddis; #10 Mr. Beam; #10 Skwala Stone; #10 Pat’s Stone Olive/Brown; #8 San Juan Worm; #12 Pheasant Tail; #12 Caddis Pupa; #6 J.J. Special; #4 Smokin’ Mirrors; #4Mr. Creepo
Every winter the upper Big Hole River valley freezes over and gets covered by a thick blanket of snow. Some years the ice and snow stacks higher then others. This winter was a cold and snowy winter in the upper Big Hole Valley and we had several days below zero and a healthy above average snowpack at low and high elevations. We experienced the normal spring warm up and the Big Hole valley is in the process of thawing out. This is just the valley snow and ice that is releasing right now. The event every year is involved with ice jams and flooding fields. As you can see from the above hydro graph we have an incredible amount of valley snow and ice to melt off. Some massive ice jams are occurring above East Bank fishing access and Sportsman Fishing access on the upper Big Hole. Once the ice jams release we can start to see a decline in flows and the river will start to clear up. Right now the river is a muddy mess and un-fishable. This is not our peak runoff we experience in late May, this is just the thaw of the valley. We will be reporting soon as things improve. Here are some photos Eric took of the upper Big Hole Valley. Spring fishing on the Big Hole will return once the ice clears and the river drops and gains clarity. April is setting up to be a fantastic month. Here is a link to our Spring Special
Here are the details of our spring special this year. You can’t beat the price and fishing is pretty darn good. In April we have a great Skwala hatch on the Big Hole with a mix of Blue Winged Olives. In May you will have the Mother’s Day caddis hatch and excellent streamer fishing. Get rid of the cabin fever and join us this spring.
The moist wet weather continues in Southwest Montana. We are receiving some much needed rain to saturate the ground. Our Big Hole River guides have had fantastic fishing lately. This is the Big Hole River fishing report you have been waiting for. The large brown trout have been eating well during this wet cycle. You will find caddis hatching on the Big Hole from Jerry creek down stream. We have had March Brown hatches above the Wise River in the afternoons. Streamers have been working well for large brown’s on the upper Big Hole. The river is on the rise but don’t let that fool you. The large brown trout have moved to the banks as they are snacking on worms, and sculpins with the increase of flow. The river has 2 feet of visibility and now is the time to search for the large brown trout the Big Hole is famous for.
Brant with a nice Big Hole Brown
Flies: #10 Chubby, #12 Purple Haze #10 Pat’s Stone Brown/Green #8 San Juan Worm, Bellyache Minnoe Olive #8 Sparkle Minnow, #4 Yellow/Black Beldar; #4 Smoke N’ Mirrors #6 Yellow Zonker #10 #6 Bad Boy
Earlier this week the ice broke off the entire upper Big Hole River. We are currently in the clearing process and the river is dropping from the ice flow. Water temperatures are starting the day around 37 degrees and warming to about 42 degrees. We currently have 2 feet of visibility in the Melrose area. We fished yesterday and it was ok, not great. We boated about a dozen fish in 5 hours. We have a Big Hole River guide boat out today so we will let you know how the river improves. All sub surface fishing right now on the Big Hole. Our best bug yesterday was a red San Juan worm and a yellow yummy streamer dead drifted tight to the banks.
It is time to shake off the cabin fever and enjoy some Big Hole River spring fishing. Our season kicks off soon and our Big Hole River guides are ready to take you fishing. We will have hatches of Skwala stoneflies, and Blue Winged Olives in April and May. Every year some of our largest fish are caught in April and May. Timing of the Skwala hatch on the Big Hole is from April 1st – May 15th. Spring is a time of change, so you have to monitor river flows, temperatures, and weather conditions to catch the elusive Skwala. Experiencing a fly fishing vacation in Montana to catch this hatch is not to be missed. This is a great time to experience trout feeding with fury, as they eat their first stoneflies of the season.