SUNRISE FLY SHOP406.835.3474 • Melrose, MT • info@sunriseflyshop.comFrom Gear to Guides - Southwest Montana's Finest
Big Hole River Fishing Report
Near Melrose, MT
Recent Trip Photos

Thursday, February 07, 2019

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.

February 7, 2019 Sunrise Fly Shop

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

The Big Hole is coming back into fishable shape. We had a stellar day yesterday and it should continue to improve as long as the river keeps dropping. We are doing the best with streamers, san juan worms and stone fly nymphs. The weather looks stable and the river should continue to improve. We currently have 18 inches of visibility. We have not found too much for dry fly fishing. With increases in water temperatures over the next few days you should fins some hatches of March browns, skwallas and blue winged olives. 

Spring Special guided fishing details are here. 3 nights lodging 2 days guided fishing packages starting at $595 per person 

 Our client caught a nice brown yesterday on the Big Hole River 

Recommended Flies: #8 Mr. Beam; #10 Olive Chubby; #8 Bullet Head Skwalla; #10 Pat's Stone (Olive/Brown); #8 San Juan Worm; #16 Shop Vac; #18 Zebra Midge; #16 Psycho May (olive); #6 Flash Minnow (Olive); #6 Smokin' Mirrors (Black); #6 Sparkle Minnow; #4 Little Kim; #6 Screamer (Yellow) (Olive)

Friday, April 06, 2018

Spring fishing has started to get good on the Big Hole River. We have had some exciting fishing the last few days. In fact the dry fly fishing is picking up on Skwalas, Blue Winged Olives and midges. We have been starting the day subsurface with nymphs and streamers and then moving to a dry dropper or a single dry in the afternoon. The Big Hole has about 3 feet of visibility and conditions are right for the skwalla hatch to continue to improve. Give us a call for up to date details 406-835-FISH(3474) or head on over for some spring fishing. The last several days the 16 - 20 inch fish have started to feed and we have seen a nice age class willing to eat the skwala. 

Spring Special guided fishing details are here. Packages starting at $595 per person 

Naomi with a stellar fish from the other day on the Big Hole 

Recommended Flies: #8 Mr. Beam; #10 Olive Chubby; #8 Bullet Head Skwalla; #10 Pat's Stone (Olive/Brown); #8 San Juan Worm; #16 Shop Vac; #18 Zebra Midge; #16 Psycho May (olive); #6 Flash Minnow (Olive); #6 Smokin' Mirrors (Black); #6 Sparkle Minnow; #4 Little Kim; #6 Screamer (Yellow) (Olive)

Monday, March 26, 2018

It's been a snowy cold start to spring in Southwest Montana. Even though the birds are churping and the days are getting longer, the guides on the rods are frozen some days and you still see the flakes of snow falling from the sky at times. We are not finding Skwallas hatching yet on the lower Big Hole. We have been throwing streamers and nymphs with some success lately. The floats we have been doing have all been on the stretches below Melrose. It is a little warmer on the stretches of river below Melrose. Water temperatures have been in the 30's and some days creep into the 40's, which turns on the fishing. A few ice shelves are still around but the lower Big Hole is shaping up and the fishing will be improving as things warm up to spring conditions. A bit of ice around the boat launches but we have been using Salmonfly, Brownes Bridge access and Glen lately. 

Spring Special guided fishing details are here. Packages starting at $595 per person 

Recommended Flies: #10 Pat's Stone (olive/Brown) #8 San Juan Worm (Red/Wine/Pink) #18 Zebra Midge; #6 Flash Minnow Olive; #4 Smokin' Mirror's J.J.; #6 Mr. Creepo Natural

Dan Soltau with a streamer eater from late last week on the Big Hole 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Fishing has been pretty good on the Big Hole lately. We did get a bump in flows in the last 24 hours due to snow in the mountains and rain in the valley. The river still remains clear and fishing well but the dry fly fishing might be sacrificed until the water stabilizes. Cool wet weather remains for the rest of the week, which bodes well for dry fly fishing if the river flows don't continue to rise. Our Big Hole River guides have been catching some very nice fish lately on the Big Hole. The snowpack continues to build and we are setting up for good summer flows if this weather pattern continues.

                                                         Sunrise Fly Shop Client with a nice Brown from this week

Recommended Flies: #10 Mr. Beam; #10 Bullett Head Skwala; #10 Skwala Stone; #10 Pat's Stone Olive/Brown; #8 San Juan Worm; #12 Pheasant Tail; #6 J.J. Special; #4 Smokin' Mirrors; #4Mr. Creepo

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The spring fishing season is in full swing on the Big Hole River. Stable flows and consistent weather has the river fishing very well. The water temperatures have remained cold but the fish have been active lately. On the warmer days with afternoon air temperatures in the 50's, you will find good dry fly fishing.  The fish have been looking up for Skwala dry flies. Our best dry fly fishing on the Skwala's lately have been from Maiden Rock down to Notch Bottom. The dry fly fishing should improve above the Maiden Rock canyon if the water temperatures get in the upper 40's. Dropper fishing has been consistent with Pat's Stones and San Juan worms. You may find some Blue Winged Olives and of course the midges scurrying around the back eddies. The streamer fisherman have done ok with slow moving streamers in deeper tail outs and inside bends. 

Lynn Harp with a perfect brown caught on a Skwala dry fly 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Every winter the upper Big Hole River valley freezes over and gets covered by a thick blanket of snow. Some years the ice and snow stacks higher then others. This winter was a cold and snowy winter in the upper Big Hole Valley and we had several days below zero and a healthy above average snowpack at low and high elevations. We experienced the normal spring warm up and the Big Hole valley is in the process of thawing out. This is just the valley snow and ice that is releasing right now. The event every year is involved with ice jams and flooding fields. As you can see from the above hydro graph we have an incredible amount of valley snow and ice to melt off. Some massive ice jams are occurring above East Bank fishing access and Sportsman Fishing access on the upper Big Hole. Once the ice jams release we can start to see a decline in flows and the river will start to clear up. Right now the river is a muddy mess and un-fishable. This is not our peak runoff we experience in late May, this is just the thaw of the valley. We will be reporting soon as things improve. Here are some photos Eric took of the upper Big Hole Valley. Spring fishing on the Big Hole will return once the ice clears and the river drops and gains clarity. April is setting up to be a fantastic month. Here is a link to our Spring Special  

  Ice Flows Above East Bank Fishing Access

Friday, January 13, 2017

For more information on our Spring Special click here

Thursday, April 07, 2016

We were back on the Big Hole yesterday and we have a Big Hole River guide on the river today. Yesterday we fished from Sportsman's to East Bank. Clarity was not good. We maybe had 10 inches of visibility. Our clients still managed to catch some fish subsurface. Today our guided trip is heading up to Fishtrap. Clarity is better on the upper Big Hole right now. We are hoping the clarity improves today and tomorrow before the next push of water from the warm temperatures we are going to have. We are fishing streamers and large San Juan worms tight to the banks where the clarity is the best. 

Susanne caught this nice fish on the upper Big Hole yesterday 

Recommended Flies : #12 Prince Nymph; #10 Pat's Stone Brown/Green;  #6 San Juan Worm; #10 Mr. Beam Skwala #10 Bullet Head Skwala #8 J.J. Special #10 Sparkle Minnow; #4 Sunrise Sculpzilla 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

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