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

Monday, January 06, 2014

With just three months away until the fishing season kicks off for us on the Big Hole River and Beaverhead River we thought we would give you all some insight on Spring fishing in Southwest Montana on the Big Hole River. 

What is Spring really like in Southwest Montana?  this is a question that we get a lot during the summer.  The bulk of our fisherman are in Southwest Montana from June - September.  With the best weather, great dry fly fishing and 15 hours of daylight why would you not come during the prime months?  The reason why you need to come in the Spring is that you are missing some of the best dry fly fishing of the year during the Skwala hatch on the Big Hole River.

The shelf ice and floating ice is typically off the lower Big Hole in mid March.  Water temperatures are still frigid till about the first week of April.  We will start to have water temperatures in the upper 30's to lower 40's in early April. Throughout the entire winter trout only have the occasional midge on the surface to eat.  The Skwala Stonefly is the first substantial hatch that the trout key into on the Big Hole River.   

In April we experience some of the best dry fly fishing of the season on the Big Hole River.  The Skwala stonefly will hatch once the water temperatures rise to about 42 degrees for a sustained period of time.  The Skwala stonefly is a size #10 dry fly.  typically the hatch lasts for about 3 - 4 weeks and the time period is April - mid May.  Anglers must be willing to deal with various forms of weather.   Day time highs can be in the lower 40's or in the upper 50's.  You can expect precipitation in the form of rain, snow, or a mix of both.  Trout eat the Skwala stoneflies veraciously since they have not had a meal this big on the surface for quite some time.  With uncrowded waters and trout eating on the surface, Spring fishing on the Big Hole River is a great way to get some early season fishing before the summer angler traffic.  Click here to read more about Skwala fishing. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

We just finished up a bitter cold snap here in Southwest Montana.  We had ten days of sub zero temperatures, some of the lowest reading we had were -30 degrees.  Right now we are back on average temperatures and it is currently snowing in the high country.  We have a great start to the Montana Snowpack and the Big Hole River snowpack.  The mountains in the Big Hole watershed and Beaverhead watershed are reading about 130% of normal for this date in time.   We are pleased with good start to our snowpack as the first day of the official winter season isn't until December 21st. 

It looks like we are going to have a cold winter with above average snowpack according the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  Here is a link to an informative article on the winter outlook.    2013 will be wrapping up here shortly and we are looking forward to great Big Hole River spring fishing come April.  

Saturday, May 18, 2013

We are currently having some of the best streamer fishing we have seen in years for huge browns on the upper Big Hole.  It has been flat out amazing streamer fishing this week.  Large yellow streamers stripped fast off the banks has been getting the large Big Hole Browns attention.  We have been floating anywhere from Fishtrap all the way to Jerry Creek.  I had a solid report from Divide to Melrose yesterday on streamers.  Some Mother's Day Caddis are around and once we get a warm sunny day the caddis will pop hard.  These overcast cloudy days are keeping the fish interested in streamers.  With 2 feet of visibility the river is in great shape for mid May.    

One of the Many large browns caught this week on the Big Hole River fishing in Southwest Montana

Friday, August 06, 2010

August is a wonderful time to be in Southwest Montana.  Everyone who has been chasing the Salmon Fly Hatches from river to river are now gone.  Evenings are getting cold and day time highs are warm.  Besides the hoppers, and ants the one terrestrial hatch I look forward to every year is the Spruce Moth hatch on the Big Hole River. 

The moth lives inside Douglas Fir Trees and Lodge Pole Pine trees.  Once the forests have dried out from the summer heat and lack of moisture they fly from the trees they dwell in, and flock to the river for a dip and become a meal for trout.  This hatch on the Big Hole is in my mind the best and most consistent hatch of the year, low clear water, with fish looking up crushing spruce moths on the banks.  The spruce moth hatch does not occur on the entire Big Hole River.  It is concentrated in the section where we have the most pine trees.  From Jerry Creek fishing access to Maiden Rock Fishing Access is where you will find the Spruce Moth hatch.  Size #14 and #12 tan elk hair caddis are the best imitations for the Spruce Moth.  We tie them at the Sunrise Fly Shop with extra bushy elk hair.  You will only find the Spruce Moths on or near banks.  Rarely do the moths flutter in the middle of the river.  

This hatch is one that every angler should fish.  You will be amazed how many trout are looking up to eat when the moths are on the water.  Since this is a terrestrial hatch, you do not have to fish a nymphal stage.  Slamming the water with a fluttering Spruce Moth pattern is a blast.  You have not missed the hatch.  Due to a later summer start, all of our hatches are about two weeks behind this year.  We predict the hatch will occur around the 10th of August.  Get out to the Big Hole for some great terrestrial fishing. Click here for more information on fishing the Big Hole River.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Welcome to the new Sunrise Fly Shop website and Blog.  We are excited to share our experiences on the Big Hole River and Southwest Montana fishing.  This is the place to get up to date information from Ryan and Eric and the guide staff of the Sunrise Fly Shop.  Please share your thoughts and stories with us.