Well, it looks like our dismal snowpack has caught up to us. As of 4 PM yesterday, Bighorn River flows are down at 1980 CFS. Low incoming flows to Bighorn Lake and no snow are the root of this. I can safely say we will NOT have high water this season. This is great news for the summer months!
We’re seeing a bit of algae growth throught the river, which is very typical on a low water season. Keep your bugs clean, run a bit more weight and you’ll do fine!
With the lower flows, the Bighorn will turn into more of a ‘Spring Creek’ scenario, where smaller bugs like Baetis and Midges will be on the trout’s menu. You can still catch a handful of fish on Sowbugs, but a Midge/Baetis or Baetis/Baetis nymph rig is becoming more standard. LBF’s, Black Quills, JuJu Baetis, Wondernymphs, Zebra Midges and Graveyard Midges are the bugs you’ll want to fish.
The Dry fly window was starting to get going and is usually pretty good at low flows. Today was the first, and best, day of Baetis fishing I’ve seen this season, so that’s one good part of the river being low. Conditions were perfect. Overcast skies and light wind. Let’s just hope this keeps going for a bit! Little CDC Sparkle Duns and Pat’s Baetis Cripple were all it took to fool them today, and there were some big boys looking up!