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Big Hole River Fishing Report


The Ice off Event

Info Sunrise Fly Shop - 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

Big Hole River Report

Info Sunrise Fly Shop - Monday, September 19, 2016

Fishing has remained pretty good on the Big Hole. The Big Hole just opened from Maiden Rock down to Notch Bottom. The river is moving into Fall mode and the brown trout are eating very well. We have been catching many large brown trout lately on the Big Hole River. You will find hatches of Blue Winged Olives, and Slate Drakes. Nymphing has been consistent with Pat's Stone's #10 olive/brown, or black. #18 Micro Mayflies, #18 silver lightning bugs, #18 green machines, and #16 pheasant tails. Streamer fishing has been fantastic. We have been catching them in the shallow riffles and deeper tail outs lately. It's time to enjoy the Fall fishing on the Big Hole. 

The Big Hole River is open without any restrictions from Dickey Bridge down to Notch BottomHere is a map to help you with the closures

Client Colleen with a Big Hole beauty this week

Recommended Flies: #16 Split Wing BWO : #16 BWO Cripple #14 Purple Craze; #14 Comparadun Yellow; #12 Bloom's Caddis; #12 Purple Chubby; #14 Para Wolf; #14 Psycho Mayfly; #12 Prince Nymph; #10 Pat's Stone; #14 Pearl Lightning Bug; #14 Red Copper John; #18 Silver Lightning Bug #16 Micro Mayfly;  4 Mini Loop Sculpin; #8 Trevors Sculpin

Big Hole River Update

Info Sunrise Fly Shop - Thursday, June 23, 2016

Now that the Salmon Flies are pretty well wrapped up, the fish had moved on to Golden Stones, PMDs, Drakes and Caddis.  You can expect to see fish up eating the Mayflies in the morning while the light is still low.  As the sunlight gets more intense, we have been seeing the fish become less interested in the dries, and more interested in nymphs such as Pat's Rubber Legs, Copper Johns, Lightning Bugs, and Pheasant Tails.  Then, in the last few hours of daylight, the caddis are coming off and the fish become interested in dries again.

Recommended Flies: #12 Purple Craze; #12 Comparadun Yellow; #12 Copper Cripple; #14 Bloom's Caddis; #10 Chubby UV; #10 Pat's Stone; #12 Pearl Lightning Bug; #12 Red Copper John; #14 Psycho May brown; #12 Pheasant Tail; McCunnes Sculpin; Mini Look Sculpin; #6 Sparkle Minnow 

Big Hole River Spring Fishing Report

Info Sunrise Fly Shop - Saturday, March 21, 2015

Earlier this week the ice broke off the entire upper Big Hole River. We are currently in the clearing process and the river is dropping from the ice flow. Water temperatures are starting the day around 37 degrees and warming to about 42 degrees. We currently have 2 feet of visibility in the Melrose area.  We fished yesterday and it was ok, not great.  We boated about a dozen fish in 5 hours.  We have a Big Hole River guide boat out today so we will let you know how the river improves.  All sub surface fishing right now on the Big Hole.  Our best bug yesterday was a red San Juan worm and a yellow yummy streamer dead drifted tight to the banks.  

Check out our Spring Special Package Rates



Big Hole River Fishing Report

Info Sunrise Fly Shop - Sunday, August 31, 2014

There is a slight hint of fall in the air.  In fact I broke out the waders yesterday and you will need them today.  The overcast weather has produced some fantastic dry fly fishing.  We have Tricos, big PMD's and some baetis out there right now.  We did well with a #12 mahogany cripple yesterday  and #10 Rocky Mountain Mint.  The streamer fishing has started to pick up just like it should with the cooler overcast weather.  Small flying ant's have also been getting fish on the surface.  Great flows and good fishing right now on the Big Hole.  Our Big Hole River guides have been fishing the Divide sections and also down to Notch bottom. 

Client Rob Ware with a nice Big Hole Brown

Flies:  #12 Chubby Chernobyl Yellow/Purple/Black; #10 Purple Haze; #16 PMD Cripple; #16 Rocky Mountain Mint, #18 Trico Spinner, #18 Trico Comparadun, #10 Pat's Stone #12 Red Copper John #16 Bat Man Nymph orange/brown: #8 RL Stone; #6 J.J. Special #6 Coffey Bugger; #4 Bad Boy #  10 Copper/Pearl Zonker  


The Big Hole is Getting Bigger

Info Sunrise Fly Shop - Monday, May 26, 2014

Well, it looks like runoff is officially here.  At 9:00 on Memorial Day, the Big Hole in Melrose was at 7800 cfs. But even though the lower river is unfishable, the upper reaches of the river are still looking good.  We fished from Mudd Creek to East Bank yesterday and had a very respectable day.  The visibility at Mudd Creek was more than two feet and the flow was very manageable.  We caught several fish over 20 inches slow stripping a Coffee Bugger with a red San Juan worm trailer.

It is important to note that we do not recommend floating on the Big Hole River below the Wise River.  The river in Melrose is approaching flood stage, and floating the Big Hole at these flows can be very dangerous.  If you choose to fish the Big Hole, please float with caution.

Below are two of the nice Browns the Bob and his son Grahm caught yesterday on their float from Mudd Creek to East Bank

Big Hole River Montana Fishing Report

Info Sunrise Fly Shop - Thursday, May 22, 2014

The upper Big Hole River continues to drop and the fishing yesterday was stellar.  It should be another great day on the upper Big Hole. Clarity is around 2 feet up there and once you get above the Wise River and Deep Creek the volume of water decreases and your prospecting on the banks becomes very manageable at these high flows.  We have caddis hatching in the Melrose section but flows are rather high for any dry fly fishing. Streamers and San Juan worms has been producing the best fishing on the upper Big Hole River.  Flows at the Mudd Creek gauge continue to drop and the fishing will remain good up there until the next bump in flows.  Our Big Hole River guides continue to produce huge brown trout this spring. 

Our Client Larry with a wonderful Big Hole Brown caught yesterday


Flies: #12 Elk Hair Caddis #12 CDC Caddis #10 Purple Haze #10 Rocky Mountain Mint #8 Mr. Beam; #10 Bullet Head Skwala; #8 Rogue River Skwala  #8 San Juan Worm; #10 Pat's Stone Olive/Brown: #8 RL Stone; #6 J.J. Special #4 Coffey Bugger; #4 Bad Boy #4 Yellow Zonker 



S T R E A M E R S !

Info Sunrise Fly Shop - Thursday, May 01, 2014

The streamer fishing continues to impress all of us.  Even with the bright sunny skies that we have been having, the trout are still eating streamers.  We are still getting fish on San Juan Worms, Chubby Chernobyls, and Pats Rubber Legs, but almost all of the big fish that have been landed in the last couple days have been on streamers.  Warmer weather is forecasted for the next couple days, but then it looks like we are going to return to cooler temperatures with scattered precipitation. 

Below is a nice Brown that was landed yesterday between Fishtrap and East Bank.


Streamer Season

Info Sunrise Fly Shop - Monday, April 28, 2014

The colder weather over the past several days has brought the flows on the Big Hole River down to around 2500cfs and increased the visibility to more than two feet.  This lowering of flows and improvement of the clarity has made for some great spring fishing.  Even though we still haven't really seen much sign of the Skwallas, the streamer fishing has been really good.  As usual for the Big Hole, yellow has been the hot streamer color, and slow stripping has been the most successful technique.  Below are three  nice fish that one of our clients caught this past weekend. 


On The Drop Again

Info Sunrise Fly Shop - Thursday, April 24, 2014
After an intense rain storm on Tuesday, the Big Hole River is back on the drop.  The flow has dropped back down to 2600cfs, and the visibility is increased to around 2 feet.  The great streamer fishing that we had been seeing on the upper river should come back as quickly as the river is dropping.  Yellow streamers thrown tight to the bank has produced quite a few fish over 20 inches in the last week.  Most of the anglers have been floating from East Bank to Jerry Creek, but fish are being caught from as high as Fishtrap and as low as Notch.  Cooler weather this weekend should keep the river on the drop and keep the fishing good.

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