Current Big Hole River flows
Maiden Rock 495 cfs
Caption: This Big Hole River rainbow couldn’t say “NO” to a Pat’s Rubber legged stone fly nymph.
Now that the weather has started to warm ice has started to clear from The Big Hole River bumping the flows up to 600 cfs at Maiden Rock and now stabilizing back to 495 cfs. Still ice on the banks but fishing is good from Salmon Fly (Fishing Access Site) in Melrose upstream to George Grant (FAS).
TACTICS AND PATTERNS: NYMPHING
Nymphing with a two fly system under an indicator will be your best bet. Although Midges make up the bulk of the winter food forage for trout on the Big Hole River, stone flies are always present and are my go to first fly. Rubber legged stone fly patterns like a Pat’s Stone in black and brown #10-8. Midge larva patterns in black, red and purple in #14-16 Red Copper John’s, baetis nymphs #14-18. San Juan Worms and Disco Worms in red burgundy and purple #14-10.
There are fish rising to midges, look for risers in softer water along inside edges and back eddy’s. Try a Purple Haze or Griffith’s Gnat #14-18. Don’t forget the dropper! Tie a Zebra midge, emerger, or bead-head Pheasant Tail #18-14 15” below your dry fly.
Streamer game is not on-fire as you might expect with cold water temperatures. Try a slow strip and pause retrieve or dead drifting a sculpin pattern like the Mini- Loop Sculpin in olive or brown or a Zonker in natural/pearl #10-4.
Caption: Big Hole River gold!
Be aware of winter fishing hazards like drifting ice, shelf ice and rapid weather changes. So be prepared with appropriate winter fishing clothing. If you have studded boots or cleats… where them! The rainbow trout are starting to spawn , so if you see patches of bright gravel, watch your step, and please stay clear!
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
For more information on Montana fly fishing and guided fishing trips on The Big Hole River please contact FishTales Outfitting.
(Report by Michael Stack of FishTales Outfitting)