- Current Big Hole River flows
- Maiden Rock 481 cfs
- Melrose 596 cfs
- Glen 553 cfs
This Big Hole River brown fell to a Pat’s Rubber legged stone fly nymph.
Good 3+ feet. Visibility is still good but better from Melrose upstream. 2+ feet further down near Pennington Bridge.
Currently river flows have dropped as evening temperatures below freezing are keeping flows fairly low, clear and stable. The water temps are tracking the evening’s air temperature’s, so your best fishing will be in the afternoon.
The lower river is clear of ice but still has some visibility issues from Notch Bottom Fishing Access Site (FAS) downstream to Pennington Bridge (FAS). Further upstream from Glen (FAS) and Salmon Fly (FAS) in Melrose the river is clearer and the fishing better. Maiden Rock (FAS) and George Grant (FAS) further upstream are also good choices for winter angling on the Big Hole River.
TACTICS AND PATTERNS: NYMPHING
• Nymphing is still your best tactic for catching fish on the Big Hole River. A two fly rig presented dead drift under an indicator with plenty of mending to slow down your presentation is my recommendation.
• Stone flies remain my “go to” first fly . Rubber legged patterns like a Pat’s Stone in black and brown #6-10 are tough to beat.
• Midges are the primary small food of choice and you can expect to see them on the surface once the sun has warmed the river. Midge larva patterns in black, red and purple in #14-16. Red Copper John’s.
• Baetis nymphs, Pheasant Tails, Prince Nymphs #14-18. San Juan Worms and Disco Worms in red burgundy and purple #6-10.
• Fish are rising to midges sporadically in softer water along inside edges and back eddy’s. Cloudy, calm days will always be your best days for dry flies action.
• Try a Purple Haze, Parachute Adams,or Griffith’s Gnat or Midge Cluster #14-18. Tie a Zebra midge, emerger, or bead-head Pheasant Tail #14-18 15” below your dry fly.
• Streamer bite has softened a little as it has tracked water temperatures. Try slower retrieves and dead drift until the water warms later in the day.
• Now that we are seeing some color in the river, I recommend streamer patterns with a little more color, like Yellow or White or Yellow and Olive or a pattern with yellow legs.
• Try a Yellow Yummy a JJ Special or Boogie Man #2-6 Check my Top Ten Streamer’s for SW Montana for a more thorough list.
This beautiful Big Hole River brown ate a JJ Special on a slowly pumped and paused tight line presentation.
The rainbow trout are starting to spawn, so if you see patches of bright gravel, watch your step, and please stay clear! Also be aware of winter fishing hazards like drifting ice, shelf ice and rapid weather changes. Remember to be prepared with appropriate winter fishing clothing. If you have studded boots or cleats… where them!
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
For more information on Montana fly fishing and guided fishing trips The Big Hole River please contact FishTales Outfitting.
(Fishing report and photos by Michael Stack of FishTales Outfitting, LLC)