River Reports and Photos

Hope you got out there before the melt! River is on the rise

After fishing Monday, we reported that the river was in good shape. This is no longer the case at the moment! The warm weather this week has brought out a lot of low snow and the river has temporarily (we hope) blown out.  Fish with big bugs and get em tight to the bank! 

Water flow: 1,950 cfs
Visibility: 12 inches
Water temperature at mid-day: 42 Degrees F
Water condition: Off-color 
Best time of day to fish: 1:00-4:00 PM
Best stretch: Jerry Creek- Dewey
Best access point: Dewey
Dry Fly fishing in order of importance:
Skwalas
Nymphs in order of importance:
Girdle bugs, yellow streamers, black wooly buggers
Fish species: Trout
Fishing season: Spring
Nearest airport: Butte
Recommended fly fishing leader: 9 Foot Leader
Recommended fly fishing tippet: 3X Tippet
Best fly fishing rod9′ 6 Weight Fly Rod
Best floating fly lineDouble Taper Trout Fly Line
Best sinking fly lineStreamer Stripper Sink Tip Fly Line

Craig’s Tip of the Week:

Leaders are probably the most overlooked pieces of equipment that we use on the trout stream. I finely tapered leader either knotless or knotted will turn your fly over with ease assuming you make a good cast and match the right sized tippet with the fly you’re fishing. For example you’d use a 3x tippet if you’re fishing #10 hoppers in the wind, or you’d use a 6x tippet fishing a #20 baetis imitation in a slow pool. What wouldn’t work would be a 5x tippet attached to a #12 Royal Wulff. Another mistake many fly fishers make is using a leader that has been snipped off numerous times during the day adding new tippet to the point where the taper on the leader has been compromised. When this happens, the fly doesn’t land where its intended to, and you spend a critical moment or two searching for your fly on the water and inviting a missed strike. Use a well tapered leader each time you step in the water.

Check back weekly for updated reports! 

Big Hole River Fishing Report: April 8, 2014

Report by: Craig Fellin for Orvis Fishing Reports

Image Hank Hunker, of Sweetwater Fishing Expeditions, with a nice early season brown

Fishing has been good in the afternoons! Fish are looking up for midges and skwalas in the slower water and along the banks and they are chasing streamers and chomping girdle bugs in the riffles, especially at the tail end.

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Water flow: 820 cfs
Visibility: 36 inches
Water temperature at mid-day: 42 Degrees F
Water condition: Clear
Best time of day to fish: 1:00-4:00 PM
Best stretch: Jerry Creek- Dewey
Best access point: Dewey
Dry Fly fishing in order of importance:
Midges, blue winged olives, skwalas
Nymphs in order of importance:
Girdle bugs, yellow streamers, black wooly buggers
Fish species: Trout
Fishing season: Spring
Nearest airport: Butte
Recommended fly fishing leader12 Foot Leader
Recommended fly fishing tippet6X Tippet
Best fly fishing rod9' 5 Weight Fly Rod
Best floating fly lineDouble Taper Trout Fly Line
Best sinking fly lineStreamer Stripper Sink Tip Fly Line

Craig's Tip of the Week:

Leaders are probably the most overlooked pieces of equipment that we use on the trout stream. I finely tapered leader either knotless or knotted will turn your fly over with ease assuming you make a good cast and match the right sized tippet with the fly you're fishing. For example you'd use a 3x tippet if you're fishing #10 hoppers in the wind, or you'd use a 6x tippet fishing a #20 baetis imitation in a slow pool. What wouldn't work would be a 5x tippet attached to a #12 Royal Wulff. Another mistake many fly fishers make is using a leader that has been snipped off numerous times during the day adding new tippet to the point where the taper on the leader has been compromised. When this happens, the fly doesn't land where its intended to, and you spend a critical moment or two searching for your fly on the water and inviting a missed strike. Use a well tapered leader each time you step in the water.

Check back weekly for updated reports! 

Pebble Mine Update: Mining Company Rio Tinto leaves Pebble Project


 


Written by: Kathleen Moore for Orvis News

In December, we updated readers on the status of the Pebble Mine project. Since then, we got news that the EPA announced it is invoking its authority under the Clean Water Act to determine whether it should permanently bar the development of Pebble Mine.

Today, a new development: major stakeholder Rio Tinto has announced it is ending its involvement. We are just getting word of this, and will have more information on what this means for the future of the project as the story unfolds, but wanted to announce it here right away.

Read the full story here.

Read about Orvis’s “Stop Pebble Mine” Commitment here.

2014 Preview: Your Own Room, Fresh Faces and a Fresh Look!

ImageWith another snowstorm bearing down on Southwest Montana, I thought it would bolster my mental fortitude to write about fly fishing.  I’ve been tying steelhead patterns to use on the Salmon River next month for the early spring run. This has helped abate the extreme cabin fever all of us in the Big Hole Valley seem to contract about this time each winter, although this winter has been different than most. I think that could be an understatement for just about anywhere in the country, but I make the motion with great enthusiasm that its time to start thinking about big brown trout and beautiful rivers like the Big Hole, Beaverhead and Bitterroot.

“I still don’t know why I fish or why other men fish, except that we like it and it makes us think and feel.”
Roderick L. Haig-Brown
A River Never Sleeps (1946)

Tight Lines,
Craig Fellin

ImageSPRING FISHING
Our season starts with an early pre-runoff 4 night/3 day fly fishing package (see rates) from April 29-May 2nd. The water level on the Big Hole is usually ideal at this time and the trout are hungry after a long, cold winter. Expect to fish nymphs and streamers in the morning and skwala stonefly and blue winged olive dry fly patterns in the afternoon. Very few people are on the river at this time and the trout haven’t seen many flies yet. This is also a great time to be on the Missouri River, which is well known for its prolific blue winged olive hatches in April and May and superb dry fly fishing.

SPEY CASTING CLINIC
Big Hole Lodge will be hosting its 2nd annual Spey Casting Clinic with Larry Aiuppy on May 3-7. Larry is the only certified spey casting instructor in Montana and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the event. For me the spey cast is like watching a well-balanced and well-timed golf swing or even a ballet as some would compare. Granted the cast is meant for large salmon/steelhead rivers but there are also trout applications with the shorter spey or switch rods, fishing streamers or soft hackles in the surface film. This is a 4 night/3 day package for $2,630 per person based on double occupancy and guaranteed to jump-start your fly fishing season.

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YOUR OWN ROOM AND CELL SERVICE
We have changed our total capacity at the lodge from twelve down to eight guests. We still plan on accommodating larger intact groups of 10-12 by special request, but the norm will be eight guests per week. There are several reasons why we made the change, but primarily it will allow each guest to have their own bedroom.  We heard so many tales of guests not being able to sleep because their roommate kept them awake at night, so now your worries are over and you’ll be able to sleep to your heart’s content. We also feel that we can give more attention to the individual at our lodge with the lower capacity and be able to deliver a quality experience that exceeds all expectations. Your satisfaction has always been our utmost concern and now we’ll be able to give you even more attention than before.

We have also replaced a lot of the furniture around the lodge with plush leather armchairs and sofas that we think you’ll really enjoy. The outdoor furniture has also been replaced with cedar Adirondack chairs that will make your cocktail hour even more enjoyable as you gaze at the majestic Pioneer Mountains surrounding the lodge.  We now have Verizon cell phone service at the lodge limited to the dining room and the deck adjoining the dining room.

FRESH FACES ON THE OARS
We have a new guide in our line-up, Rudy Ketchum, whom I think will be a great addition to our team. Rudy grew up in Butte and has fly fished the Big Hole most of his life. He has an MBA and has installed healthcare software in hospitals for the past 22 years. Rudy has two sons and a daughter and looks forward to spending more time with his family and guiding our clients on the Big Hole. We also have a new guide for the Missouri River, Russ  Dobrzynski, who lives in Craig, MT and fishes and guides on the river year round.  Russ will be our Missouri River expert and loves to hunt those trophy brown trout that the river is known for. This is an overnight trip and requires advance reservations so please call us if you’re interested. The additional fee for the Missouri trip is $200 per person. My son Wade will finish law school and sit for his bar exam in late July. After what will be a much-needed vacation, he’ll return to our guide roster in late August and be with us each summer going forward.

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145% OF SNOWPACK
With all the snow we’ve been getting, the Big Hole should have great flows this summer and allow our guides to float their boats with relative ease through September. The snowpack going into March is 145% of normal which is fantastic! We still have some excellent weeks available in July, August and September that should offer some of the best fishing we’ve had in several years with the healthy flows that are predicted for the latter part of the season.

As an Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Lodge and being one of the premiere lodges offered by Frontiers Travel, we are proud to have hosted fly fishing trips for our guests for over 30 years.  Please give us a call soon and we can talk Montana trout fishing! This is shaping up to be a very special year and we don’t want you to miss it.

(406) 832-3252
info@bigholelodge.com
www.flyfishinglodge.com

2nd Annual Spey Casting Clinic at Big Hole Lodge

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Big Hole Lodge will host its 2nd annual Spey Casting Clinic with Larry Aiuppy on May 3-7. Larry is the only certified spey casting instructor in Montana and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the event. For me, the spey cast is like watching a well-balanced and well-timed golf swing or even a ballet as some would compare. Granted, the cast is meant for large salmon/steelhead rivers but there are also trout applications for the shorter spey or switch rods, fishing streamers or soft hackles in the surface film. This is a 4 night/3 day package for $2,630 per person based on double occupancy. This clinic is guaranteed to jump-start your fly fishing season!

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Larry Aiuppy from Livingston, MT will be the Zen master for your brilliant four day instruction. Spey casting with a two handed rod originated in Scotland on the banks of the Spey River in the mid-1800’s.  Rods made of greenheart from British Guyana were originally used up to 22’ in length but modern spey rods are generally 12-15’ long with 13 ½’ being the norm.  Larry is the only FFF certified Spey Casting instructor in Montana and one of only 25 in the country whose teaching method constantly stresses the fundamentals of the spey cast throughout his clinics. 

Orvis will supply the rods and reels for the event ranging from their 11’ Helios switch rods for trout all the way up to their 15’-10 wt. Helios salmon and steelhead rod.

Larry makes it fun to learn and brings out his supply of brooms to teach the unforgettable power stroke. The great advantage to spey casting is being able to make a cast with an obstruction like a trees, bushes or a cliff directly behind you. Another advantage is being able to cast long distances with hardly any effort at all assuming your timing and casting positions are good.

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Call us today to reserve your spot for the 2nd Annual Spey Clinic at Big Hole Lodge!
406-832-3252
info@bigholelodge.com

 

Big Hole River Update: July 24, 2013

The winter was mild, the spring was wet, and now the summer is hot.  The river is closed from 2pm-12am at the very top and very bottom of the river.  The middle three sections, where all of the best fishing is, remains at a flow well above closure status.

Please play your fish in to the net quickly, keep them underwater when unhooking, and revive the fish in moving water before releasing.  An improperly handled fish may swim away, but due to buildup of lactic acid it will die soon after swimming off. 

Save this river for years to come!  The Drought Management Plan is detailed below.

Big Hole River Drought Management Plan
Actions & Restrictions Through 7/24/13
As predicted, flows are low and temperatures are high this season. The Big Hole Watershed Committee Drought Management Plan (DMP) has been implemented on several occasions. We would like to let you know the actions surrounding the DMP so far this summer:

Flows Triggers:
Section I: Headwaters to North Fork Big Hole (measured at Wisdom Bridge) dropped below 40cfs in early July. DMP notice went out July 3 and landowner plans under the CCAA program were implemented. Flows rose by July 5 and remain above 40cfs, the first flow trigger in the DMP.

Section V: Notch Bottom to Mouth (measured at Hamilton Ditch near Twin Bridges) flows are low in this section. DMP is implemented in an effort to raise flows and implement conservation measures. As of today, flows remain at 127cfs and 27cfs above a river closure.

Temperature Triggers:
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks determined that the following sections warrant a "Hoot Owl" fishing restriction due to high water temperatures:

Section I & II (Headwaters to Dickie Bridge) "Hoot Owl" fishing restriction beginning 7/22/13
Section V (Notch Bottom to Mouth) "Hoot Owl" fishing restriction beginning7/25/13

BHWC and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will continue to watch Big Hole River flows and water temperatures and implement DMP actions accordingly.

Details of actions, reports, results and the DMP 2013 are posted on our website: http://bhwc.org/initiatives/drought-management/streamflow-2013/

The middle portion of the river continues to maintain flows with Sections II, III, and IV well above the first flow triggers.

Thank you for your role in supporting the river this year.

Big Dark Clouds Bring Big Dark Mayflies

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Big Hole River

Flow: 1,400cfs
Vis: clear
Fishing: great!
Weather: Hot with afternoon showers

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Fishing was pretty d*** good today! We fished dries through the cloud cover this morning, nymphed through the heat of the day, and  slammed big drakes into the back eddies when the clouds rolled in.  Found a lot of fish looking up between the lightning strikes!

Summer is Coming....

From Contributing Blogger and the woman at ground zero: Lanette
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The Big Hole went up with all this rain the past three days and fishing was tough.  There are Green Drakes, Pmd's in the air and guides are using big dry's with little droppers and streamers. With the weather clearing, the river is dropping slightly and the visibility is back to around three feet.  Fishing was great yesterday on streamers, with one boat carding a 50 fish day!!
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Hot weather is coming, pack a big hat and hang up those waders.

There and Back Again, and Loving it.

Contributing Writer: Laurie KirkImageMy 13th Montana Vacation started in full swing last Saturday with a float of the Big Hole the day after my arrival in southwest Montana.  The weather was unsettled, but the day was spectacularly beautiful. ImageWestern tanagers worked the bank eating golden stones while PMD's, Caddis and Green Drakes hatched intermittently throughout the day.  We worked the water and brought up some very healthy trout who eagerly took the fly on the surface.  What a perfect way to start my time here!Image

Salmon Flies, Mayflies, and Caddis!

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Fishing is great right now.  The river is absolutely gorgeous, with clear water and perfect flows.  The salmon flies are out, along with the goldens, but the most numerous of the stoneflies are currently the yellow sallies.

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        All six boats reported good fishing today from the top of the Big Hole down to Jerry Creek.  From what I hear the fishing from Divide down through the lower river has been good as well.  Get out there!
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