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Big Hole River Fishing Report
Near Melrose, MT
Recent Trip Photos

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Things are not good on the Big Hole right now.  The ice is breaking on the upper Big Hole, which has caused the river to rise and it is very off color.  We have 18 inches of visibility here in Melrose and the fish are in shock.  Things will improve but today is not a good day to be fishing.  This is only the valley snow and river ice that is causing the poor conditions.  This happens every year and it is actually happening like it should.  We are not having any major ice jams and the river is breaking up slowly and as it should.  This is not high mountain snow runoff just the low valley melt. We will keep you posted on the Big Hole River fishing report as conditions improve. 


Flies: #8 Mr. Beam; #10 Bullet Head Skwala; #8 Rogue River Skwala  #8 San Juan Worm; #10 Pat's Stone Olive/Brown: #8 RL Stone; #18 Zebra Midge; #6 J.J. Special #4 Coffey Bugger; #4 Bad Boy #4 Yellow Zonker  

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Well, the river made a big change last night that we did not want to see.  Warmer temperatures yesterday has brought the river on the rise and we went from clear water yesterday and great fishing to about 18 inches of visibility this morning.  It will be a tough day today.  I would prospect with a Yellow Zonker and San Juan worms.  The upper Big Hole is still frozen above Sportsman's and with the warm weather the Big Hole River's ice is breaking and causing the river to rise and be off color.  We will let you know what the Big Hole River Fishing report is after our guides get back tonight.

Flies: #8 Mr. Beam; #10 Bullet Head Skwala; #8 Rogue River Skwala  #8 San Juan Worm; #10 Pat's Stone Olive/Brown: #8 RL Stone; #18 Zebra Midge; #6 J.J. Special #4 Coffey Bugger; #4 Bad Boy #4 Yellow Zonker  

Monday, April 07, 2014

The Big Hole River fishing reports from our guides has remained pretty good.  We are starting to see a few Skwala's on the lower Big Hole River.  On the soft tail outs of the runs tight to the banks is where you will get your dry fly Skwala eats.  With the warmer weather on tap today and tomorrow look for the dry fly fishing to improve.  The dropper fishing off the dry fly has been straight silly lately.  We have had 30 to 40 fish days on the dropper.  We are moving some fish on the streamer lately.   

Flies: #8 Mr. Beam; #10 Bullet Head Skwala; #8 Rogue River Skwala  #8 San Juan Worm; #10 Pat's Stone Olive/Brown: #8 RL Stone; #18 Zebra Midge; #6 J.J. Special #4 Coffey Bugger; #4 Bad Boy

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Fishing has remained pretty good underneath the surface.  The morning fishing has been slow.  With the cold nights the fish seem to be getting active around 11:00 a.m. and the river continues to fish well till about 5:30 p.m.  Flows have been fluctuating around 550cfs.  We have had some nemouras hatching and midges hatching during the afternoon hours.  The nymphs of choice have been San Juan Worms, Pat's Stones and midges.  The Skwala hatch has not started yet.  It looks like we will get a warm up early next week, which will get the Skwala nymphs moving towards the banks.  Our best fishing has been below Melrose in either the Melrose to Brownes section or Brownes to Notch sections. Stay in touch with more Big Hole River fishing reports and Big Hole River Skwala hatch updates.   

Flies: #8 San Juan Worm; #10 Pat's Stone Olive/Brown: #8 RL Stone; #18 Zebra Midge; #6 J.J. Special #4 Coffey Bugger;

Monday, March 31, 2014

The lower and middle sections of the Big Hole are open and fishing well.  The river is still frozen above Dickie Bridge, but all of the water downriver from the bridge is ice-free and floatable.  Most of the boat traffic has been from Melrose to Browne's or Browne's to Glen, but there have been a few boats that have been fishing in the canyon.  Whether its been nymphing or throwing a "Dry/Dropper", a San Juan Worm has been the most productive fly this week.  We have been getting trout to come up and eat skwalla patterns, but more fish have been eating the red worm.  Also, on the warmer days, slow stripping yellow and brown streamers has been pretty productive.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Even thought Spring is officially here, it still fells like winter isn't quite ready to say good bye to the Big Hole Valley.  The 7-day forecast has lows in the mid 20's with the highs reaching the upper 40's.  If you are willing to brave this early spring weather, the lower river is fishable and looking great. Water temperatures are still quite cold, but nymphing a stonefly nymph and a san juan worm can be very productive. The Sunrise Fly Shop will be opening its doors for the 2014 season on Saturday, March 29th.  If you are thinking about coming to the Big Hole for a spring fishing trip, give us a call for the most up-to-date information.  Also, don't forget to call us if you need a shuttle.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Cold temperatures are in the forecast for the rest of the week.  This past weekend we had one nice warm day that tempted people to get the dust off the boat.  High temperatures the rest of the week are in the 30's with some snow in the forecast.  The Big Hole is floatable from Melrose down stream.  Water temperatures are in the lower 30's and the trout are in their winter holes.  Nymphing the deep tail outs is going to be the best tactic right now.  Nymphs of choice are Pat's Stones in size #8 , San Juan Worms, and midges.  Our Big Hole River guides are ready for the Spring Skwala fishing in April.  When reports improve we will let you know. The ice is off the Glen gauge and we are recording a Big Hole River flow of 652 cfs in Glen.  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Big Hole River fishing report is improving.  The days are getting longer and warmer, which has been clearing the lower Big Hole from ice.  The ice is finally off the river in the Melrose area and we have a Big Hole River flow reading above 600 cfs at the Melrose guage station.  Don't let this fool you though we still have large ice shelves on areas of the river.  The Glen guage is still reading Ice and the Maiden Rock guage is the only other spot reading a flow at this time.  Your best option is currently wade fishing the deeper tail outs of the runs in the afternoons.  Nymphing is your best option with an occasional midge hatch in the afternoons.  It will be  a nice day today and then we are back to winter weather.  We have a winter storm warning Monday and Tuesday followed by cold temperatures the rest of the week.  The snowpack continues to climb.  The Big Hole valley has a snow/water content of 144% and the snowfall amount is 118% of normal.  Our Big Hole river guides are eager to get back on the water the first week of April.  

Thursday, March 13, 2014

We have about the same conditions as last week to report.  Our Big Hole River fishing report this week is filled with more winter like conditions on the water.  Flows have slightly come up at the Maiden Rock gauge but we are still experiencing ice on the river and freezing water conditions.  Snow is predicted Thursday and Friday and then a slight warm up is predicted for the weekend.  Wade fishing is still your only options.  Our Big Hole river fly shop is still closed for the winter.  Our projected opening is April 1st.  If you are getting on the water we suggest the spring fed areas and tail outs of runs.  Bring your midge box, San Juan worms, and Pat's Stones with you.  As for our Montana snowpack and Big Hole snowpack we are still pilling snow in the high country.  Since we last reported a nice winter storm hit us.  Currently the Big Hole valley is at 140% snow/water equivalency and our total snowfall is 118% of normal.   

Friday, March 07, 2014

Southwest Montana fly fishing finally has something positive to report.  We have some valley temperatures above freezing.  These warmer day time highs above freezing will start to get the ice off the lower Big Hole River.  Right now we are still at winter flows and with the ice on the river you will not be able to get a boat down.  On the warmer days some midge activity will be getting some fish looking up.  Still your basic nymphing techniques of Pat's Stones and San Juan worms in the tail out deep areas of the run will get you hooked up.  If you are looking to wade fish I would recommend being where springs enter the river.  Our Big Hole River fly shop is gearing up for a great Spring season and our Big Hole River guides are ready to get on the water.     

the Big Hole Snowpack is looking very good.  We are at 140% snow/water content and 115% of normal snowfall for this date in time.