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.
We just got another blast of winter here in Southwest Montana. We woke this morning to -20 degree air temperatures. Our snowpack for the Big Hole drainage is hovering around 95% for this date in time. We still have plenty of winter left but we are all itching for spring trout fishing. Depending on when the ice gets off the Big Hole our Spring season is about 7 weeks away. We will have hatches of Skwalas and Blue winged olives to start the season. Our spring special packages are available again. We are excited to have our lodging to offer for the spring packages. Click here for more information on spring fishing packages.
Even though is is officially still winter the days are getting longer and spring will be here soon. It has been a good winter in the Big Hole valley as far as snow is concerned. Many of the drainages are sitting around 130% of snowpack for this date in time. We will know more how our summer flows will be based on how the snowmelt occurs and spring rain/snow events. The current conditions on the Big Hole are rather winter like. Around Melrose we still have shelf ice and ice jams. The weather looks like it is gradually warming later this week. As soon as the ice melts around Melrose and south of Melrose we will start fishing. Check back for fishing reports. As soon as we hit the water we will let you know. We are all itching for some Skwala hatch fishing next month.
The massive ice jams and flooding events that took place last week are all behind us on the Big Hole. You will still see large ice chunks the size of small VW’s pushed up over the banks of the upper Big Hole. The entire river is flowing ice free at this point and the river is starting to come into shape. Clarity is improving daily and water temperatures should start climbing this week to activate the fish throughout the day as the water flows continue to drop. We had some Big Hole River guides out today scouting the river and they had some success in very specific locations. It should be a good week on the Big Hole and it is time to start thinking about the Skwala hatch. We will keep you posted on when the hatch starts and it’s movement on the lower Big Hole. As for now we would stay subsurface with Skwalla nymphs, San Juan Worms and slow moving streamers. Some Spring specials are still available. Click here for information on our Spring Special.
Sunrise fly Shop guide Rick Rossi with a beautiful brown caught today on the Big Hole River
It is that time of year again and we are looking forward to a great season. A few big Hole River guides got out last Friday and had a good day fishing. This was our first float of the season and the Big Hole is in good shape for mid March. You will find some shelf ice around some banks but it is not bad below Melrose. We have been floating below Melrose and the midges are about all the top water action you will have right now. Streamers and nymphs got all the fish to the boat for us. Clients are coming in tomorrow so we will be updating our reports now regularly. Don’t forget to check out our Spring Special. We are anticipating a great Skwala hatch if water flows stay favorable this spring. The snowpack in the Big Hole is over 100% and the the prediction is for above average precipitation for the months of April, May and June according to the Climate Prediction Center. It is gearing up to be a fine water year in Southwest Montana.
Cory with a nice Brown caught a few days ago below Melrose
Warmer weather is coming tomorrow and into the weekend. The warm up will get the fish moving and the bugs. We had a boat on the lower Big Hole River yesterday and we had more of the same action with midges ruling the day and a few surface eats late in the afternoon on the Skwala dry fly. We might get better Skwala activity this weekend as the water warms but there is no guarantee. The fish have been slow to move to streamers but that can change during the next several days. We have Spring Special Big Hole guide trips out the next two days. Stop in the shop to check out our new fly patterns and advice on the fishing.
Recommended Flies : #12 Prince Nymph; #10 Pat’s Stone Brown/Green; #18 Shop Vac; #18 Micro Mayfly; #10 San Juan Worm; #10 Mr. Beam Skwala #10 Bullet Head Skwala #8 J.J. Special #10 Sparkle Minnow; #4 Sunrise Sculpzilla
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.
Here come the clouds that we have been waiting for. Fishing has been ok lately, but inconsistent at times. The change is weather this week should get the fishing back on track. We still have Skwala stoneflies and March browns hatching but on the bright sunny days the fish have not been willing to stay on the surface feeding all day. Our best dropper in the morning and afternoons has been a size #10 olive/brown pat’s stone. For dry flies a #10 bullet head skwalla and #10 Mr. Beam has been our best pattern. Don’t let the rising water on the hydrograph fool you. The clarity is around 2 1/2 feet and the increase of flows will get the fish on the banks, which is a good thing right now for dry fly fishing.
Flies: #8 Mr. beam Skwala, #10 Bullet Head Skwala, #10 Pat’s Stone Brown/Green #8 San Juan Worm, Bellyache Minnoe Olive #8 Sparkle Minnow, #4 Yellow/Black Beldar
We had a significant warm up yesterday, which got the water temperatures into the mid 40’s. I spotted two adult skwalas on the water and it was go time. The skwala hatch has started on the Big Hole. From 2:00 yesterday till about 4:30 we had some nice dry fly fishing. The big fish were not rising but plenty of small fish were looking up. I would still give it some time for the big fish to key into the dry fly. This is the earliest we have ever seen skwala activity on the Big Hole. I would stick to droppers in the morning and then around 2:00 you can fish a single dry fly today unless the wind kicks up like it is supposed to. the visibility is still around 2 1/2 feet.