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Monday, August 05, 2013

As we move into August we have cooler water temperatures and feisty trout on the Big Hole River.  Flows are below average for this time of year but we are enjoying great dry fly fishing.  Trico's in the morning, with hopper and ant fishing in the afternoons.  This is the time of year that we hunt large browns in skinny water on the Big Hole River.  The Beaverhead River has been fishing well.  We are starting to do well with hoppers and the PMD fishing continues to produce nice fish on the upper Beaverhead. 


Client Frank Szewczyk caught these two great Big Hole Browns while he fished with us recently. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Big Hole has bounced back from the last recent bump in flows.  We have 2 feet of visibility, dropping water and the fish are looking up for Skwalas.  Our best dry fly fishing has been from Maiden Rock all the way to Notch Bottom.   Look for your best dry fly action to be from 1:00 to 6:00pm.  This week will be prime time for the Big Hole Skwala hatch.  Slow moving streamers have also been getting it done for us.  The best streamers of choice have been Coffee buggers, Natural Slap and tickles and Yellow/black beldars.     

Image of a Big Hole River Skwala

The Beaverhead River has been fishing ok as of lately.  Remember the river is closed from the Dam to Pipe Organ until the 3rd Saturday in May.   We have had some dry fly fishing on the overcast days with Blue winged Olives.  Sow bugs under an indicator with a blue wing nymph has been keeping our rods bent.  Below Grasshopper we have been able to move some nice fish on streamers. 

Client Alan Elm with a nice 20 inch brown on the Beaverhead. 


Monday, March 05, 2012

Visiting Montana in the spring and summer for a fly fishing trip is something that many fly fishers only do a few times in their life. They want to make sure that their visit to the Big Hole River, Beaverhead River or Jefferson River enables them to not only enjoy the scenery but to also catch fish. Timing their trip to coincide with good weather and river flows is key to helping ensure a phenomenal fly fishing vacation. 

But all fly fishers should understand that every time we predict what the weather is going to be like, or what the flows will be, or how much water we will have in the Big Hole River come August, we are making little more than a guess. But with these tools and a basic knowledge of hydrology and meteorology, our guess is definitely an educated one. 

With all this said here is our 2012 prediction.  We are currently at about 90% snowpack in the Big Hole Watershed.  We have had a rather warm winter so our low elevation snowpack is very thin.  We predict that our spring fishing will be outstanding since we will not have huge river flow fluctuations in the spring due to low elevation snowmelt.  

Our high elevation runoff typically occurs around May 20th - June 5th.  We should see about an average runoff this year since our snowpack is at 90% of normal.  So this is an excellent year to hit the Salmonflies in June, which typically hatch around June 10th and last till June 25th.  The Big Hole Salmonfly hatch is one that all anglers need to hit in their lifetime and this year should be a good one!  We should have average summer flows due to our 90% snowpack going into spring.  2012 is shaping up to be a great season, especially after coming off of the last 2 above average water flow years, which have our trout healthy and big.      

April 1st we will start our  Big Hole River fishing reports, Beaverhead River fishing reports, and Jefferson River flow and fishing reports, Stay in touch and get out and fish in Southwest Montana in 2012.  

Friday, September 23, 2011


Big Hole Fishing Report

Feels like summer here even though it is starting to look like fall.  Cold nights and warm afternoons with high overhead sun has made for tough fishing lately.  We have been doing well nymphing the riffles with Blue Winged olives and swinging small buggers.  For about 2 hours in the afternoon we have had glory hours of hopper fishing.  In fact we have had a few over 20 inches lately on hoppers like this one above which was caught on a 6ft. 3 weight!   More of the same weather on tap for the next few days here.  Looks like the clouds will roll in early next week.    

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


Cool crisp nights and warm days.  Hmmm, how many more of these do we have left?  Get it while you can; it’s early September and it feels like fall in the morning and summer in the afternoon.  The Big Hole River is in great shape, water temperatures are staying cold.  We have Trico’s in the morning, with some PMD’s kicking around.  The afternoons have been a terrestrial game.  Look for browns sitting in skinny riffle water or grassy banks willing to eat hoppers and ants.  Spruce moths have tapered off.  You may find a few around the Jerry Creek to Dewey section.  The summer crowds are gone and late summer fishing is here!


Prime time right now on the Beaverhead for dry fly fishing.  Crane Fly dries in the mornings and evenings in the upper Beaverhead slick has been excellent.  The nymphing during the day has been solid with PMD nymphs on the upper river.  Below high bridge we have had excellent dry fly fishing lately. Yellow Sallies, caddis, and hoppers have been what we have been fishing on the surface below high Bridge.  The water is big down there but when you have inside bends with about 2 – 3 feet of depth with a grassy bank, you will find fish willing to eat a hopper or sally.  This river is healthy and producing some great fish lately.  Good stuff right now on the Beaverhead, I mean real good.

Monday, August 29, 2011

It is hard to believe that August is coming to an end soon.  Southwest Montana fishing has been heating up.  We have had hot and dry weather, which has really gotten the hopper fishing on track.  We are looking forward to a September filled with exciting hopper fishing on the Big Hole, Beaverhead and Jefferson River.  I have been on all three rivers this week.  We still have Spruce Moth’s on the Big Hole River; the upper Beaverhead has been fishing excellent on PMD nymphs with hopper and Crane Fly fishing on the surface.  The Jefferson River has been streaky on the hopper bite.  Some days they have been crushing the hopper and other days the Jefferson River can be humbling.  Fall fishing is right around the corner.  Start planning your Fall fishing trip now! 

Monday, July 04, 2011

Doug Barba With a nice Big Hole River Grayling!

It has been a wild June in Southwest Montana, record high water, and huge trout due to the amount of earth worms in the water system.  We are looking forward to the best water flows we have seen in many years for August and September on all Southwest Montana Rivers.   Happy 4th of July and hope everyone is having a safe weekend.  We kick off the week with a dropping Big Hole River.  The river is finally below 6000cfs at Melrose.  We have Salmonflies still around, Golden Stone, Yellow Sallies, Green Drakes and Caddis.  You will find the best dry fly fishing on the Big Hole River from Mudd Creek to Divide.  Below Divide it has been a subsurface deal until we get some lower water.  I think this week we could see the lower river fishing better on dries as it drops.  Our early morning fishing on dries on the upper river has been stellar right now. 

If you all are on the river please look for a lost rod.  One of our clients lost a rod and reel.  It was last seen on the bank in front of the bright orange looking cabin below the old Dickey Bridge (that was taken down this spring).  Please contact us if found or stop by the shop.  The rod has the owners name printed on it.  We appreciate your help on finding this item. 

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Mother’s day Caddis arrives on June 1st.  After the last couple of years of having a  late spring, we should call it the June 1st Caddis Hatch.   I did an evening float from Maiden Rock to Melrose and we did well on caddis dries through the entire canyon.  You had to be in backwater channels and back eddies for the dry fly fishing.  Get over here fast before the next push of water.  We also threw streamers late in the evening and moved several fish on J.J’s and muddy buddies.  The river has moved some trees below the Meriwether Ranch.  The one large cottonwood that has been pointing downstream right above the slough channel is now gone.  The power of water this time of year makes you realize that you need to be on your toes while rowing.      

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Big Hole is back in shape once again.  There is 3 feet of visibility on the upper river and 2 feet of visibility around Melrose.  We will have a good week of fishing while the Big Hole is on the drop.  This will be a good opportunity to fish before the next warm up and push of water.   Everyone is wondering and thinking that we will be blown out the next three weeks, this is not true.  We will get higher water again once the upper elevation snow melts but this will not last for weeks.  Stay in touch and get the most up to date information.  Caddis should pop this week, let’s hope it is fishable when they hatch.  Streamers and worms have been the ticket in the slow water and inside seams.      

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Over the weekend, we had our fist push of water.  On Monday the Big Hole climbed to a little over 2000 cfs, but the weather cooled off again and the river is back down to 1400cfs and the river is continuing to drop.  The water clarity has improved greatly in the last 48 hours, and we are back to about 2 feet of visibility.

Fish have still been coming up for Skwalla dries, but greater numbers of fish have been caught using nymphs.  Baetis nymphs, Stone Fly nymphs, and San Juan worms have still been the best nymphs. 

Remember, our spring special ends May 15th.  $500.00 per person for three nights lodging and two days of guided fishing!