4th of July Fishing Report by Bighorn Angler 7.3.19
By angelamontana

Posted: July 4, 2019

Happy Independence Day everyone!

We’ll just get to the point….fishing is good right now on the Bighorn.  With flows at 8,500 and river temps at a perfect 55 degrees the fish are active and feeding.  Our guide reports are good numbers of healthy fish in the nets daily.  AND THERE IS NO ONE HERE!!!  The next couple weeks should offer smaller crowds and great fishing.   Word on the street is our flow will remain at 8,500 for the next two weeks and will start dropping sometime around July 15th.

Bighorn Angler Guide Kerry E with a Big Bow

The nymph fishing is EXCELLENT.  The sowbugs are BIG and plentiful, worms also getting it done.  Streamer fishing is decent, some shiner activity but would grade that as just OK.  For all you dry fly folks the black caddis are starting to show up and we’re seeing some fish up on them, but it’s not in full swing yet.  We expect the caddis hatch to get stronger everyday and be in full swing by mid-July which should correspond nicely with flow drops and present a solid dry fly window.  While 8,500 is on the higher side, there remains plenty of wading to be had as fish have moved up into those shallower riffles and shelves.

The river clarity is great.  The upper river is clear, some moss will show up after 10 miles but it’s not effecting fishing, and some larger fish are being caught in that lower section.

We at the Angler feel compelled to go on record regarding a recent news article regarding fish counts on our river.  Are the fish counts down on the Bighorn?  Yes.  Are they as low as a recent article suggests they are?  Not even close.   Why the low report?  At the time of shocking the river was a frigid 36 degrees, and fish had not yet spread out into the areas we watched them shock.  The fish were still grouped up and hunkered down in their typical winter lies.

Have the lower counts effected the fishing?  No.  From a guide perspective, once the river temps got into the 40s it’s been normal Bighorn fishing….translated normal means AWESOME.  We’d like to reiterate in our estimation too many fish were in our system than could be supported the last few years.  Nature has a way of balancing itself out and the reduction in fish has resulted in more abundant food and in turn bigger fish.  In short, we see the fish reduction as a very healthy turn in our river’s cycle for years to come.  The article also suggested we might be missing an age class of fish spawning sized fish.  Again, this assertion simply runs contradictory to what we are seeing  on the river.  In addition to larger fish, our guides are boating a ton of both rainbows and browns in the 12-14 inch range.

In other news, we’d like to say thanks to all you Montana residents for all the support and help you get on the river this season with a $99 (daily) boat rental special.  Give us a call and we can get you set up!

Be safe out there and enjoy your 4th of July!

For more info from Bighorn Angler out of Smith, MT, click here.