BIG HOLE RIVER FISHING REPORT-3.20.14 (by Michael Stack of FishTales Outfitting, LLC)
By angelamontana

Posted: March 20, 2014


Current Big Hole River flows
Maiden Rock 524 cfs
Melrose 604 cfs
Glen 458 cfs


This Big Hole River brown fell to a Pat’s Rubber legged stone fly nymph.

This Big Hole River brown fell to a Pat’s Rubber legged stone fly nymph.


Good 2-3 feet. Visibility conditions are expected to change as ice begins to melt off elevations just above the river bottom.

Currently river flows are fairly stable and dropping because evening temperatures are still below freezing keeping the big run-off from starting. Southwestern Montana is finally experiencing normal spring daytime temperatures causing the river ice to recede along most of The Big Hole River.

The lower river has quite a bit of ice still clearing causing 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 clear of ice and fishing is good. Other reaches to consider that are also fishing well are Maiden Rock (FAS) and George Grant (FAS).


  • Nymphing with two flies, dead drift under an indicator will provide the most method.
  • 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 #6-10.
  • Midges make up for the bulk of the small winter food forage for trout on the Big Hole River. 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 #6-10.


  • Fish are rising to midges sporadically, look for soft bulging rises in softer water along inside edges and back eddy’s.
  • Try a Purple Haze 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 game is starting get going, more so in the afternoons as water temps rise. We are catching fish on faster strip and pause retrieves as well as a low and slow retrieve and dead drift.
  • Now that we are seeing some color in the river, I recommend streamer patterns in Yellow or White or Yellow and Olive or a pattern with yellow…you get it!
  • 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.

Eric show’s us a beautiful Big Hole River brown that ate a Yellow Boogie Man!


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 on Montana fly fishing and guided fishing trips The Big Hole River, please contact FishTales Outfitting.

(Report and photos by FishTales Outfitting, LLC)