- Maiden Rock 5,570 cfs
- Melrose 5,350 cfs
- Glen 5,530 cfs
Floating the Upper Big Hole River is like floating through a postcard.
VISIBILTY: Good at 2+ feet, better above Wise River. 3+ feet.
The Big Hole River is currently dropping and clearing every day after peaking on May 27th at 8,610 cfs near Melrose. Flows are still on the big side but the Big Hole River is in fishable condition. The farther upriver you go the less water you will find. Above Wise River from Mudd Creek downstream to Sportsmen’s and East Bank (FAS) the alpine meadow stretches are fishing very well and the river’s character here is very floater friendly with mostly miles of grassy banks. Once Wise River enters the river down below Jerry Creek (FAS) the river picks up pace significantly and you better have your game face and rower’s pants on as the river is MUCH FASTER through the Dewey and Maiden Rock Canyon until it starts to slow some near Melrose (FAS).
TACTICS & PATTERNS:
The streamer game has been pretty good with the river dropping and clearing. And it’s usually the way we catch the bigger brown trout. I always prefer fishing a fast strip and pause, but a tight line can sometimes out fish the grip and rip method. Color preference will typically track the color of the water. Bright when the water is off color, natural and muted when it’s clearer. Cloudy days will be your best bet for good streamer action.
- •Try a JJ Special, Lyle’s Choice, Yellow Yummy, or Zonker in Copper, yellow or white size # 2-6.
- Try a Trick or Treat, Olive Brown or Black Crystal Bugger, or Yuk Bug, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow in size # 4-8.
- Try dead drifting your streamer under an indicator if the fish aren’t willing to make chase.
- Add a second smaller streamer if you’re getting short strikes or fish are rolling on your big streamer and not grabbing it.
Nymphing with the standard “two fly rig and strike indicator” will usually catch more numbers of fish. Stone flies are always present and are a primary food source for fish on the Big Hole River year round and because of this will almost always be my first big fly when nymphing. Adding a 15-20 ” inch section of tippet tied off the bend of the hook to a second fly will double your odds.
- •Try a Pat’s Rubber Leg Stone, Chocolate Trout Retriever or Pepperoni Yuk Bug in size # 6 8.
- •San Juan Worms in red, burgundy and pink size # 6-10 are a great dropper choice.
The dry fly bite has been pretty soft as the river has been in full run-off and the water temp’s on the cold side. The “Mother’s Day Caddis” did start to show up but the high water put a damper on the dry game. We’re seeing March Brown’s most days and you can find some riser’s in foamy back eddy’s.
- I like Furimsky’s extended foam body Brown Drake or Lawson’s Paradrake in size #10.
- An Elk Hair Caddis first developed by Dillon’s own Al Troth is tough to beat for a Caddis imitation with great visibility and floatability. I like a size #12 when the fish first get ‘on them’ and go smaller as the hatch progresses
- Adding a short dropper with a Mathews’ Iris Caddis or Lafontaine’s Sparkle Pupa size #14 are my suggestions for trout keying on caddis pupa rather than adults.
TIPS: Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP) has posted several floating hazard signs along the lower Big Hole River between Glen Fishing Access Site (FAS) and Pennington Bridge (FAS) due to the number of cottonwoods that have moved or blocked channels. Be aware of floating hazards like sweepers, strainers and floating trees as high water moves the lower rivers’ channels and tree’s. Where your PFD’s and bring ‘Throw Bag’ if you have one!
For more information on Montana fly fishing and guided fishing trips on the Big Hole River please contact Fishtales Outfitting.
(Report by Michael Stack-FishTales Outfitting LLC)