River Reports and Photos

Salmon Flies, Mayflies, and Caddis!


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.


        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!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend


We hope you had a great Memorial Day Weekend.  Big Hole Lodge honored those who have fallen for our freedom by proudly waving the Stars and Stripes as we floated along the Pintler Range.


The fish were looking up for March Browns and chasing streamers underneath.


Chaco jumped off the dry bag for a parting kiss before Burt released this beauty!

Thank you to all who have served.

2013 Spey Casting Clinic at Big Hole Lodge

The long rods were launching fly lines into the stratosphere as Big Hole Lodge hosted its first Spey Casting Clinic May 4-9, 2013.


  Larry Aiuppy from Livingston, MT was the Zen master who gave a brilliant four day instruction on spey casting with a two handed rod which 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 supplied 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.


Glenn Brackett and Jerry Kustich from Sweetgrass Bamboo Rods in Twin Bridges brought two bamboo spey rod prototypes over to demo on day one that added a different look and feel to the spey casting.


Larry made it fun to learn and even brought out his supply of brooms one day to teach the power stroke that was unforgettable. The great advantage to spey casting is being able to make a cast with an obstruction like a tree or rock 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.

It has been said that watching an accomplished spey caster is like watching a ballet. A friend also told me that “it gives you something to do while you’re steelhead fishing.” Whatever it is, spey casting is a lot of fun and it’s a great way to fish a big river with a streamer.


Call us today to reserve your spot for the 2nd Annual Spey Clinic at Big Hole Lodge!



Spring Storms and Big Caddis

Spring Storms and Big Caddis

First Annual Spey Clinic

Flow: 642cfs  at Melrose
Visibility: fair to clear
Fishing: Good! Streamers, March Browns, Skwalas

We have our Spey Clinic this week, with casting demos and instruction through the morning and then out to the Big Hole for the afternoon.


Jerry Kustich and Glen Brackett brought up two gorgeous Sweetgrass Bamboo Spey rods, which has been a new and exiting project for Jerry.


Our pro instructor getting acquainted with the 'boo!  We'll post pics throughout the week as the course progresses.


Smashin' skwalas before the runoff

Flow: 867 cfs at Maiden Rock
Visibility: Clear, but on the rise and may color up as the week begins if temps warm.
Temp: Water: 51 Air: 70 Windy
Fishing: Good! Skwalas, streamers, and small stone nymphs.

Big Hole Lodge Crew

It was wiiiiindy yesterday, but we chucked streamers through the gusts and plopped dries on the banks when the breeze let up.  Bigger fish were eagerly chasing the streamers, but were hesitant to eat it fully. We had a lot of "short strikes."   The 12-16" class was slapping the skwala dry on the banks fairly consistently from 3:00 on, and if you could get it into the pockets through the wind, the 'next size' was looking for up.

Lanette with brownie on a skwala

Lanette skwala 2

Our trusty fish hunter is sprawled out on the floor after tirelessly scanning the riffles for big browns all day!

Kali, master fish hunter


Skwalas on the Bitterroot


A few Bucknell grads and current law students pumped the boat up and shoved off for some early season Skwala action!

Welcome Cliff Zielke


We are pleased to welcome Cliff Zielke to our seasoned guides staff.

Cliff has been guiding fly fisherman and hunters in the Rocky Mountain West and Alaska for over 25 years, with a few interruptions when he held "traditional jobs" in the animal health indurstry and timber sales.  Cliff was literally raised fishing, with his first fly fishing experiences coming at the age of 5 in the Midwest, where his father bass fished and Cliff would cast from the back of the boat for bluegills and sunfish with a fized length of line on an old Wright McGill cane rod. Since 1989, he has lived just over the hill in Salmon, ID and has fished the Big Hole, Bitterroot, and other local waters regularly when not guiding elswhere.  In addition to getting you into fish, Cliff strives to add to your game, no matter your angling skill level.  Cliff also guides for steelhead, big game, has an upland bird business, builds wooden driftboats, and trains Labrador Retrievers.

Check out our entire seasoned guide staff on our Website!

Four-Day Spey Casting Clinic


Join World Champion Spey Caster, Whitney Gould at Big Hole Lodge in Montana for a four-day Spey casting clinic May 4-9, 2013
Big Hole Lodge is offering this Spey casting clinic with current and three-time World Women’s Spey Casting Champion, Whitney Gould and her fiancé, Mike McCune -- who is an icon in the sport and also an experienced instructor. The five-night / four-day fishing package costs $3,290 per person based on double occupancy and includes accommodations, meals and all guiding and instruction. In addition, Spey rods and reels will be supplied by Orvis, C.F. Burkheimer Rods and Sweetgrass Bamboo Fly Rods (the former bamboo rod makers from R.L. Winston Rod Co.).

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/57863082]

Call 1-800-245-1950 and ask for Denise today!

Dry Fly on the Missouri

A must watch video from Sharptail Media on Dry Fly Fishing the Missouri.