Blog Posts In wise river



We are pleased to announce that this coming Sunday January 18th, Big Hole Lodge will be featured in episode 2 of "Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die," a new television series on the World Fishing Network based on Chris Santella's book of the same name.

In this show fly fishing celebrity and host of World of Fly Fishing, Conway Bowman, floats the Big Hole guided by our own Wade Fellin and Rudy Ketchum.

Though there are plenty of beautiful, wild trout netted and our incredible scenery is highlighted, the main emphasis of this segment is the impressive conservation work being done for the river by the Big Hole Watershed Committee, Big Hole River Foundation, donors like The Orvis Company and through state and federal grants.

This is truly a success story of what can be accomplished if everyone pitches in and works together for the benefit of the resource. The Big Hole River is a great fly fishing river and one of the Blue Ribbon Streams of Montana, but it is also a good example for other watersheds to emulate in their efforts to improve their own local rivers and streams.

For show times click here and to find out if you get the World Fishing Network click here.

We hope you’ll enjoy the show and please email us your thoughts-we’d enjoy hearing from you!


Craig Fellin

Wildlife Showcase of a Healthy Southwest Montana

The most spectacular and rewarding aspect of fly-fishing in Montana is knowing each time you step into the river there is a chance to intimately interact with the wildest and most beautiful creatures in the Rocky Mountains.  This summer has been particularly spectacular and we at Big Hole Lodge want to close our season by sharing a few of our favorite moments from our untamed backyard. Southwest Montana is healthy and flourishing!




10561685_10152402255722620_2068055718875606242_n  10348999_982165704929_3341163921119875100_n10629666_985057474799_1806484717480844367_nDCIM100GOPRO



unnamed-1_MG_410210460262_10152404138197620_515361497023343886_n 10368215_10152475696012620_2520147587230546517_n   10653332_10152475693327620_8187220504057801051_n 10675521_980314399959_3255294140442966892_n 10696162_980001716579_5080249296106258490_nThank you to all who joined us this summer! We are deflating the rafts, battening down the hatches for the coming snow, and eagerly awaiting an even more incredible year in 2015. We hope to spend it with you!

Tight lines,

Craig, Wade, Lanette, and the entire Big Hole Lodge staff.


Video: Stormy Streamer Fishing on the Big Hole

Click HD, "watch in HD now," and crank the volume!
Lanette Evener, our trusty chef and trout head, stretched her casting arm before opening the kitchen for season '14. Check out some highlights and stay tuned throughout the summer.

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.

Screen Shot 2013-02-14 at 10.19.13 AM

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!

Father-Daughter Fishing Trip

This week Phil, my father’s dear friend, brought his daughter, Lizzy, to the mountains of Montana.  After  a week in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, helping my Dad celebrate his 65th birthday, they stopped by the Big Hole Lodge on their way back to Aspen.  

I had the privilege of witnessing a truly special father daughter fishing trip.

Phil taught Lizzy everything she needed to know about fly casting and she picked up on it right away on the Roaring Fork and other streams in the Aspen area.  During cocktail hour at the Lodge, she caught two fish in the Home Pool on the Wise River!  The next day, we floated the Big Hole and fishing was slow, so we parked the boat in a handful of pools and worked foam lines.

As Phil sat with his hands in his lap, Lizzy worked a riffle from the front of the boat. The fish were in the top of the run, but we didn’t want to spook the possible slow-water sleeper into the riffle.  Unable to push the boat any further, I gave Lizzy an encouraging nod and said, “reach the top”.  Despite a stiff breeze, Lizzy showed no sign of apprehension.  She fired a long cast into the churning white-water drop-off and BAM!

Phil, who had up to this point remained silent, allowing Lizzy to tailor her casts to the changing winds and currents, burst into celebration and dove for the net.  It was my turn to sit back and watch.  I anchored the boat and smiled as I watched father and daughter, both grinning ear to ear, land a wild Big Hole River rainbow.

The Shot In The Arm We Needed!

Last week temps in the 90's sucked the river down to a skinny 600 cfs in Melrose and a frightening 380 cfs in Wise River.  Southwest Montana does not typically get much rain in the summertime, though brief afternoon showers are common this time of year.  This year has been anything but typical.  We hardly had winter until April and instead of a runnoff in late May, we had three mini-runoffs and the majority of our snow pack was gone by July.  So it should not be surprising that our "April Showers" showed up in mid-July!

It showered, then drizzled, then poured this week as widespread storms rolled in from the South.  Temps have been in the 70's and the river has jumped back to ABOVE historical average!  In Melrose we are sitting comfortably at 1,090 cfs and at 600 cfs in Wise River!


There is an absolute whiteout snowstorm at the lodge right now.  100% chance of snow through the weekend and they are calling for 14" of snow starting at 7,000 feet!  This translates into a LOT of snow in the high country.

I'll get up and take pics in the morning for you all.  It ought to be a winter wonderland

Home on the Range!

Our Chef, Lanette, her mother, and their dogs piled into the car and made the trek down from Redding, CA last weekend.  They kicked the mice out of the cabin, cracked a beer, and headed into God's Country.

Cali, Big Hole Lodge's miniature police force, and Max staked their claim on the upper Wise, beneath Grand Vista:

Got it made in the shade in front of 'The Cabin'

I'm back from school as of yesterday, and Lanette and I are headed up to the lodge for dinner with Dad.  It's gunna be a great year!

NY Times in Wise River: Forest Health

Yesterday, the New York Times, reporting from Wise River, Montana, ran an interesting article discussing forest health and the growing concern regarding pine beetle kill and forest fires.  The link to the entire article is below:
With Deaths of Forests, a Loss of Key Climate Protectors

(Click photo to view video)
By Published: October 1, 2011
courtesy of the New York Times 
WISE RIVER, Mont. — The trees spanning many of the mountainsides of western Montana glow an earthy red, like a broadleaf forest at the beginning of autumn.

But these trees are not supposed to turn red. They are evergreens, falling victim to beetles that used to be controlled in part by bitterly cold winters. As the climate warms, scientists say, that control is no longer happening.

Across millions of acres, the pines of the northern and central Rockies are dying, just one among many types of forests that are showing signs of distress these days.

From the mountainous Southwest deep into Texas, wildfires raced across parched landscapes this summer, burning millions more acres. In Colorado, at least 15 percent of that state’s spectacular aspen forests have gone into decline because of a lack of water.

The devastation extends worldwide. The great euphorbia trees of southern Africa are succumbing to heat and water stress. So are the Atlas cedars of northern Algeria. Fires fed by hot, dry weather are killing enormous stretches of Siberian forest. Eucalyptus trees are succumbing on a large scale to a heat blast in Australia, and the Amazon recently suffered two “once a century” droughts just five years apart, killing many large trees.

Experts are scrambling to understand the situation, and to predict how serious it may become.