What off-season? The Bighorn River is a world class tailwater trout fishery, and remains an incredible option for anglers throughout the winter months. Fishing pressure drops off substantially from November through March, a time frame that often provides outstanding dry fly action (baetis and midges), and streamer fishing.
On Monday and Tuesday of this week a couple of fishing buddies and I found ourselves floating prime trout water below Yellowtail Dam. Despite the unseasonably warm weather, over the course of two days we saw only a couple of other boats.
The fishing was very productive, with both nymphs and streamers taking scores of fish. The streamer bite was particularly strong, with a variety of colors (olive/yellow was most consistent) and sizes taking fish from late morning through evening. 200-grain sink-tip lines were generally relied upon to pull fish from winter holding water.
Nymph rigs consisting of soft hackle sow bugs and midge pupa drifted deep under an indicator accounted for many fish, particularly early in the day before the streamer bite really picked up. Midges – and even a few baetis – were hatching, but there were very few fish consistently coming to the surface.
The ratio of browns to rainbows caught was roughly 3:1, with the majority of fish in the 15- to 17-inch range; the big fish of the trip was a 20-inch rainbow that clobbered a streamer.
Shuttle service, current fishing reports, and hot coffee are available throughout the off-season at Bighorn Trout Shop.
This report is provided by Will Jordan of Montana Sporting Journal – www.montanasportingjournal.com