Blog Posts In Fishing Reports

2nd Annual Spey Casting Clinic with Larry Aiuppy


Big Hole Lodge had its 2nd annual Spey Casting Clinic with “Zen Master” Larry Aiuppy from May 3-7. Larry is the only FFF certified spey casting instructor in Montana and his teaching style emphasizes fundamentals he learned from his mentor, Al Buhr, who is considered one of the gurus of the sport.

The Big Hole River offered up some excellent venues to learn and practice eight different two handed casts including the double spey, single spey, circle cast and snake roll on both sides of the river. After a full day on the river, our guests would return to our lodge and enjoy a delicious dinner prepared for them by our talented chef Lanette Evener.

On the last afternoon, Larry demonstrated how to present the fly to a fish holding in a likely spot in the river. This is an area of spey casting that is rarely covered in books and articles, yet is so critical in being able to hook a fish. Instead of simply making a long cast somewhere out in the river that spey casting can certainly do for you, Larry showed us how to “work the fly” and anticipate the strike by swimming the fly broadside to the fish.  By doing so, the profile of the fly is so much more visible and tempting to the fish and improves the chance of a take substantially.

This was all good knowledge and our guests went away with a solid foundation to enjoy the art of two handed casting on their favorite trout, steelhead or salmon rivers in the near future. Please join us next spring and we’ll do it again!


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.

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


Three Storms Coming, Each Bigger Than the Last

The Rockies are experiencing a series of small storms this week that have surprised some areas with substantial snowfall.  This weekend, a larger storm system will drop down from British Columbia, according to PowderChasers.


The most exciting news for Western mountain snowpack is the coming of an even stronger system projected for the middle of next week.  The storm is set to move East across the Cascades and Sierras into the Rockies and the Wasatch.

The Pintlers, home to a substantial portion of the Big Hole Watershed's snow reserve, are currently engulfed in a ferocious looking snow cloud.

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I'm headed home to Wise River and the Big Hole Lodge for the long weekend and plan to break out the neoprene between these coming systems!

27" Inches out of this Storm


Lost Trail Ski area, near the Top of the Big Hole Watershed, is reporting 27" new inches out of the latest storm system.  This brings the settled base depth to 85" and brings areas of the Watershed to 114% of historical average snowfall.  Basin wide, we are sitting pretty at 102% of average snow-water equivalent and 101% of average total precipitation.


Winter Silence




We got our snowpack back!

Gus in snowWe sent Gus out for a little field research this afternoon.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and The Portland, Oregon Climate Center, the Missouri River Headwaters is back to 98% of snow water equivalent and 100% of total precipitation, based on historical averages!

check it out here: Snow Precipitation Update for Montana

Winter is Back

Winter has returned to Southwest Montana.  At the bottom of the Big Hole Watershed, south of Butte, the snowpack currently looks like this:


 And at the top of the Continental Divide, the Big Hole Watershed's storage supply looks like this:



Craig and Gus were trekking around in the woods last week, with Craig on skis and Gus doing his best snowshoed rabbit impression.  This jack-pole fence is shoulder height!