The upper Bighorn River in Montana is known as a fly-fishing haven. Drift boats and rafts sometimes bob downstream as close as bumper boats in a carnival ride. But only a few miles downstream anglers and floaters can have the water to themselves, especially in early spring. I floated down the river with friends the first weekend in May. The weather was cool, but the sun broke out on the second day.
Fishing was slow, with the river running at 7,500 cfs. But anglers have the chance of hooking into some fat brown trout on the lower river, which is also home to catfish, some sauger and walleye, according to Fish Wildlife and Parks fisheries manager Ken Frazer. What’s really nice is the serenity. The lower river has little pressure, so floaters and anglers have what seems to be an entire river to themselves. Diversion dams dot the river, but can be avoided by using the several well-located fishing access sites.
We went from Two Leggins FAS to General Custer, a distance of about 27 miles. The float is slow, though, as the river only drops about 500 feet from Yellowtail Dam to its confluence with the Yellowstone River. The river sees more use in the fall when waterfowl hunters flock to the region, since the river is late to freeze up. To find out more, log on to: http://bit.ly/1ksEXkl
(Written by Brett French – Outdoors Editor for the Billings Gazette)