BIG HOLE RIVER FISHING REPORT (05-01-14) by FishTales Outfitting LLC
By angelamontana

Posted: May 1, 2014

Current Big Hole River flows:

  • Maiden Rock 2,230 cfs
  • Melrose 1,940 cfs
  • Glen 1,890 cfs

Some typical spring tea color but clear at 2+ feet, expect that to start to change as things warm up.


Holly show’s off her catch, a nice streamer eating Big Hole River Brown trout!

The Big Hole River has been dropping off after a big run up to almost 5000cfs after a recent warm spell. Evening temps below freezing have dropped the flows currently at 2250cfs at Maiden Rock (FAS) Fishing Access Site. The Big Hole River is fishing well from East Bank (FAS) to Pennington Bridge (FAS). The big run-off has yet to really blow out the river but this weekend’s temps may change that. Your best bet will be floating the river as wade fishing at this level is dangerous and not recommended.

Tactics and Patterns:

·         Nymphing is still a productive method for catching trout on the Big Hole River. A two fly nymph rig presented dead drift, under an indicator, with plenty of mending to slow down your presentation.

·         Rubber legged patterns like a Chocolate Trout Retriever or Pat’s Stone in black and brown #6-10 are a good first fly choice.

·         San Juan Worms and Disco Worms in red, burgundy and pink #6-10.

·         Midge larva patterns like Zebra Midges, Shop Vac’s and Serendipities in black, red and purple in #14-18.

·         Baetis nymphs like Split Cases, Psycho May’s and Pheasant Tails, Soft Hackle Pheasant Tails and Prince Nymphs #10-14.

Dry Flies
·         March Browns are hatching fairly thick and trout are eating them in the afternoon in softer riffles and foam lines.

·         Try a Lawson’s Paradrake in olive or brown #10-12 or a Furimisky’s foam extended body drake in olive or brown #10-12

·         Caddis are starting to show up in the afternoon’s and trout are eating them sporadically on the surface in softer water along inside edges and back eddy’s. Cloudy, calm days will always be your best days for dry flies action.

·         Try an Elk Hair Caddis with an Iris Caddis Pupa tied off the bend of the hook.

·         Skwala’s are hatching and fish are taking them on the surface.

·         Chubby Chernobyl’s in olive or brown or a Black Magic are a good choice.

·         Streamer bite is good, better in the afternoon when water temps get above 45*. Slower retrieves and dead drifting in the morning, faster retrieves stripping your streamer off the bank’s is catching some nice brown trout.


A beautiful Big Hole River brown trout heading back home.

·         Streamer patterns in olive, yellow, natural or brown or combination with yellow legs are all catching fish.

·         Try a Yellow Yummie, Yellow Peanut Envy, JJ Special, Wooley Sculpin or Boogie Man #2-6 Check my Top Ten Streamer’s for SW Montana  for a more thorough list.


The Big Hole River and its’ channels change every year as a freestone river should. Be aware that there are sweepers and strainers hanging off the bank and that the channel you used to be able to get through may not be an option. Also be aware of spring fishing hazards like rapidly rising water and severe 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.

(Report by Michael Stack-FishTales Outfitting LLC)