SUNRISE FLY SHOP406.835.3474 • Melrose, MT • info@sunriseflyshop.comFrom Gear to Guides - Southwest Montana's Finest

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sloughs have started to freeze over and you can feel your pulse in your hands. You strip your fly line from your reel as you barely can feel your fingertips but can’t give up the urge to find the next trout taking a streamer.  Fall has slipped into winter in Southwest Montana.  My last day on the Big Hole for the season was November 4th.  Slow stripping and dead drifting streamers was the name of the game to get about 10 browns to eat all day, not bad for November.  With the shop closed for the season, it is now time to think about winter trips, tying flies, elk hunting, and flushing birds before it is time to gear up for 2012.  If you are going to brave the elements and fish in Southwest Montana during our frigid months; here are some tips I have received and am going to try to help prevent guides from freezing. 

One of our last clients for the season, Christine Warren heard that spraying Pam oil on your guides prevents icing from occurring.  I have yet to try it but will let you know how it works.  For some great reading from a passionate angler, check out Christine’s blog: and her new book Paddlefish.  

Loon Outdoors has come up with a new product to prevent ice from collecting on your guides.  The product is called Stanley’s Ice Off Paste . I am going to compare spray on Pam to Loon’s Ice Off Paste and will report back to you how these products work.  All anglers need to fill their winter trout fix or cabin fever, these products can make the difference in an enjoyable winter fishing experience.    

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fishing in Southwest Montana has remained great.  We have enjoyed the dropping water.  The Big Hole is flowing at 2310cfs today.  Dry fly fishing has been heating up on the Big Hole River.  We have done well with various chubby patterns in the mornings and evenings for the nocturnal stones hatching.  The mid day fishing has varied with the weather.  If it is overcast keep the large dries on, if you have bright sun stick with the dry dropper set up.  Copper John's, lightning bugs, and prince nymphs have been doing well in the shallow riffle water.  The caddis hatches in the evenings have been stellar.  we have been catching some great trout in the past few weeks here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More of the great Spring fishing right now on the Big Hole.  The overcast days have produced some tremendous dry fly fishing with Skwallas right now.  We have been sticking from Divide all the way to Notch Bottom right now.  Water flows are staying consistent and the clarity is about 3 feet.  In the mornings we have been nymphing Skwallas and pulling streamers.  Around noon time we have been switching to a Skwalla dry for the rest of the day.  Look for your best dry fly fishing in the slow tail outs of the runs.  Fishing is red hot right now on the Big Hole.  Get your southwest Montana Fly Fishing in before runoff hits.       

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!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Warm weather this time of year in Southwest Montana always comes with some sacrifices…  A.K.A - a blown out river.  We had a great weekend of fishing with Skwalla dries as well as good streamer fishing, but we are now paying the price for our first taste of true spring weather.  The river has taken a hefty jump in flows due to the two days of warm weather that we had.  The good news, if you can call it good news, is that it is snowing and cold again.  The upper river near Wisdom has already started to drop and we should see the rest of the river start to drop in the next 24 hours.  The river should start to fish again either tomorrow or Wednesday.  The clarity will come back as soon as it drops, and the fishing will get back to where it was. 



Friday, April 15, 2011

Everything here on the Big Hole seems to be staying about the same.  The weather pattern seems to be holding steady with daily highs in the high 40’s and lows in the mid 20’s.  The mountains have been getting moisture almost every day, but the river valley has been staying relatively dry.

For fishing this means that we have been seeing, and will probably continue to see about the same conditions.  The river flows are getting a nightly bump, but dropping during the daytime hours and averaging around 1200 cfs.  The river temps are ranging between 37 degrees and 45 degrees.  We’ve still been getting fish to come up and eat Skwallas with good frequency, while the nymphing with Stone Fly Nymphs, San Juan Worms, and small Mayfly Nymphs has been very consistent.  We’ve also noticed that the fish have been chasing streamers a little more aggressively in the last few days.

Remember our spring special ends May 15th.  $500.00 for 3nights lodging and 2 days of guided fishing!   

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sunrise Fly Shop is opening it's doors for the 2011 fishing season On Friday April 1st.  We are looking forward to a great season in Southwest Montana.  Snowpack in the Big Hole River and Beaverhead River drainage are well over 115% of normal.  Currently, Clark Canyon reservoir is over 90% full.  The season starts with the Skwala hatch on the Big Hole River.  We will keep you up to date throughout the spring to the progress of the hatch.  Look for an updated Big Hole River fishing report starting April 1st. 

We have already had some good fishing on the Big Hole below Melrose, it has just been darn cold still.  The river is ice free below Melrose and once we get a few more day time highs in the upper 40's to lower 50's fishing will improve.  Get that gear ready, and start to think  about booking your trip with our Big Hole River guides and Southwest Montana River Guides at the Sunrise Fly Shop.    

Friday, March 04, 2011

Winter has been harsh in Southwest Montana this year.  Plenty of snow with bitterly cold temperatures.  The snowpack in looking great for this years fishing season.  The Big Hole / Beaverhead drainages are @ 109% snowpack for this date in time, and we still have another couple months to gain more snow in the high country.  The big story this winter has been the ice jams on the rivers.  The Big Hole River, Beaverhead River, Madison, Jefferson, and Gallatin Rivers have all had major ice jamming events this winter.  This has created some low valley flooding at times, and scouring of the banks and rivers.  Last week a rancher on the Big Hole River lost several cows due to a break in the ice, the cattle fell through and were lost to the frozen river.  

Day time temperatures are now getting above freezing which is starting to break up the ice on our rivers.  We will start to get some days of productive fishing later this month.  With the healthy snowpack we are looking ahead to another great late summer fishing season.  August will be filled with great terrestrial hopper fishing with good water flows.  August has been an overlooked month of Southwest Montana fishing in high water years.  Take advantage of this in 2011, our Big Hole River guides and Beaverhead River guides will make a memorable fishing trip for you!          

Friday, February 25, 2011

House Bill 309 is an attempt to modify Stream Access Law in Montana  by modifying the term ‘ditch.’  Montana has one of the best Stream Access Laws in the Country, it is about to be stripped if we do not act now. 

FOAM (Fishing Outfitters Association of Montana) has these strong opposition points to House Bill 309:

1) A live, flowing braid or channel can be defined as a ditch if there is any kind of control structure at the head of the live channel, including 'natural features incorporated into the water conveyance system';

     2) Recreational access is available only with landowner's permission on water bodies created at least in part by waters diverted from a natural water body where the diverted water is the principal source of water in the water body - think about low flows in August and September and the many Montana rivers and streams with side channels and braids that have diversion structures on them where return flow could be considered the 'principle source of water' in the river or stream.

#2 above could potentially turn side-channels of rivers, streams, and possibly whole rivers into ditches where recreational use is allowed only with landowner permission.

This Bill if passed will be a huge detriment for recreational fishing on Southwest Montana's Rivers and Streams.  The hearing for house Bill 309 is Tuesday, March 8 in room 303 (Old Supreme Court Chambers in Helena) starting at 3:00p.m. Be there to speak your voice!    

Stay up to date on Facebook. @ Montana Coalition for Stream Access.   

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Trout pack on the pounds during the Big Hole River Salmonfly hatch.  It is not uncommon to catch a trout and see Salmonflies crawling out of their gills.  There are three stages of the Salmonfly: egg, nymph, and adult.  These creatures of nature will live for 2 – 4 years as a nymph before they become an adult.   Several factors need to occur before these flies emerge as adults.  The Salmonfly needs a constant water temperature in the 55-degree range for a steady period before they hatch.   When conditions are just right these nymphs swim towards the bank to hatch.   Salmonflies like to crawl onto willows and down trees on the banks to then shed their shucks and become an adult.  You will find these flies most susceptible to trout as wind blows them off willows onto the water, or the females are flying over the water dropping their eggs into the water.  These flies struggling on the surface while the females drop eggs and trout are waiting to slurp them up. 

The Sunrise Fly Shop has many hand-tied Salmonflies that are proven patterns that work on the Big Hole River, and Madison River.  For more information on this incredible hatch, fly patters and booking your next fly fishing vacation contact the Sunrise Fly Shop.