There are hundreds of great fly fishing rivers in the state of Montana alone. While nondescript from the outside, I enjoy the rustic feel of the old bar…”rest your weary ass”. Best sinking fly line: Bank Shot Sink Tip Fly Line Big Hole River Description From its headwaters near Jackson, the Big Hole meanders 150 miles to its confluence with the Ruby and Beaverhead which form the Jefferson River. A typical week of fishing at Big Hole Lodge may start with a float on the Big Hole River. I waded further upstream trying seams close to the bank and farther out in the river. The Big Hole is a classic free-stone river, known for its varying landscapes of high mountain valleys, quick canyons and big, cottonwood bottoms. Dry fly fishing for smaller fish in the 10”-14” range can be exceptional in the upper reaches. The water we hoped to fish was not restricted by “hoot owl”, but we also heard a familiar phrase…”you’re between hatches”. I thought it might be the beginning of a good night of fishing…but it wasn’t to be. Granted, Melrose Montana only has a population of around 200 and there isn’t another choice of where to stay, but we really like to stay at the Sportsman Motel. So it begins high in the Beaverhead Mountains, the Big Hole River flows for 153 miles through a fly fishing wonderland filled with Brook, Rainbow, Brown and Cutthroat trout. We stayed in the Twins Cabin this trip. This river forms lots of ice when temps drop the way they did last weekend. In spring, fishing from a drift boat or raft is preferred. Here is my first fish from the Big Hole River using my 6 1/2 foot 3 weight bamboo fly rod my friend Skip Hosfield made me. Links to Free Old Fly Fishing and Fly Tying Books, Fly Fishing the Madison and Yellowstone Rivers. I cast farther out and was able to rise a couple of fish to that red Parachute Chernobyl I highlighted a couple of weeks ago in a TBT post. We’ve fished at the boat ramp as well as a little further downstream to the top of where the campground begins. All the while you will be our guests staying right on the banks of the Big Hole River, your headquarters for the best producing waters of Southwest Montana. The first picture of this post captures the moment, thanks to my wife. Besides our new favorite Parachute Chernobyl, we caught fish on Beetle Bailey and a Purple Haze. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. And perhaps the interesting posters on the walls. ... His passion for fly fishing has driven him to explore many of the great rivers throughout Montana. We’ve found four main areas where we’ve previously caught fish using walk/wade – Divide Bridge (which has a boat launch and campground), Maiden Rock above the canyon, the canyon, and Brown’s Bridge. To our surprise, we could definitely tell because the water was higher than we had fished it before. Brown Trout were rising about 10 feet from me under the brush along the river’s edge. In fact, I react to them in a very negative way…as in swell up something fierce, so I try to stay away from them at all cost. One of the few Simms endorsed outfitters in the United States, your outfitter and lodge owner Dan "Rooster" Leavens knows what it takes to get the job done right, the first time. Sure, there was a mosquito or two in the other locations, but they didn’t bother us much. Combine Big Hole’s unparalleled vistas with more than 3,000 trout per mile and hundreds of imagination-defying hatches, and it is no wonder the Big Hole River is nicknamed Montana’s Last Best River. You may unsubscribe via the link found at the bottom of every email. The fish stopped rising and we headed back to the cabin and ended up with an early dinner at the Hitchin’ Post. Tom Smith's Backcountry Angler Fly Shop offers guided tours down the Big Hole River, one of the most scenic wild trout streams in the country. We arrived on the Summer Solstice, June 20, 2019, in a thunder-snow and rainstorm. Equally as diverse as the water on the Big Hole is … Big Hole River Fly Fishing Trip A Cold Front Arrives. Required fields are marked *, By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website. The Big Hole River is the very definition of a Southwest Montana fly fishing trout stream. I’ll tell you about it below. Big Hole River History in Brief. I’m still trying to decide if catching those fish were worth those mosquito bites…. We left the Bitterroot River on our way to the Big Hole by driving south on Highway 93 from Hamilton, MT and turned onto Highway 43 right at the Idaho/ Montana border. What flies were most effective? Guided Fly Fishing Trips on the Big Hole River. The Big Hole Lodge is truly one of the classic fly … Finally, we arrived at a spot we’ve fished in prior years. Montana Big Hole River website with thorough river descriptions, current fly fishing reports, suggested fly patterns, videos and typical catch photos. The Big Hole Valley is notoriously cold at times but this was crazy. Here is another shot. Finding access and locating fish are a challenge. Enjoy…go fish! We can usually find fish. Other than that, the Big Hole remains one of the less crowded rivers in the state, partially because the state of Montana has placed regulations on commercial outfitting. At least that was our hope. Fly Fishing Guide to Big Hole River: As mentioned above, fly fishing the Big Hole River is largely dependant on where you fish the river, water levels and seasons. I’ve always been able to catch fish upstream of Brown’s Bridge and this year was no exception. Perhaps fish were there because of increased oxygen levels. A true freestone river, The Big Hole and its diverse water will distract even the most ardent angler from his fly now and then. I landed a nice fish with the Parachute Chernobyl and moved a few others. Stop into our fly shop in Dillon to get the most up-to-date information from the people out there fishing the area rivers every day. This year, “hoot owl” restrictions were in effect for the upper and lower Big Hole River, but not the areas we planned to fish. Oh my gosh, the wind was howling coming down the canyon. We drove down I15 at the 80 mph speed limit to Clark Canyon Dam. It could have been because we mostly used dry flies. Captain Lewis had originally named this river the Wisdom River, but through the years, the river became known as the Big Hole. The next stop on our 2017 road trip was in southwest Montana. A favorite guest of mine, Bob Chadwell once said, “We just fished the Big Hole for 5 days, and each day it seemed we were on a different river”. Still nothing. We are having solid reports of hopper fishing in the afternoon heat on the lower Big Hole River and around the Melrose area. Several of these came to hand. We decided to walk back to the bridge and try upstream where we hooked and landed a few fish. I found a rainbow about 17″. Talk about a smooth casting fly rod! The Big Hole River is likely in the top 3 … Bighorn, Big Hole, Stillwater and Missouri River trips available for an additional $45 to cover travel costs. The Big Hole is in the late summer/early fall splendor. Having said that, we had a great time fly fishing the Big Hole and Beaverhead rivers. We double-checked the “hoot owl” locations. Then finding the right fly fishing guide service and fly shop that offers guided float trips, gear, clothing, flies, etc. The Big Hole River is right out the front door, but we also frequently fish the Beaverhead, Jefferson, Madison, Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers. Current fly fishing report for the Big Hole located in Montana. I purchased four caddis flies along with this streamer for the Big Hole. A few mosquitoes began flying around as we opened the back of the Tahoe and slipped on our waders. A quick call or email, and we will be happy to visit and help you plan your Montana fly fishing vacation. They were very helpful. We gave up there and thought about our next fishing spot. Side channels, dry fly slicks, and nymphing riffles. We found several midge clusters close to the edge. Gear reviews, Shop Specials, Trip Reports and more. “Hoot owl” is a term used to restrict the hours a person can fish. One of the positive aspects of not finding rising fish is the opportunity to look around and enjoy the scenery, bald eagles, and bugs along the edge of the river. Our location allows for fast and easy access to some of the best trout fishing in Southwest Montana. Oh yea, we found a few Whitefish rising to dry flies as well! Here is what we found. I wonder if the Mule had anything to do with our answer? From canyon walls to meandering farmlands the Big Hole River changes its face around every corner. The road into the canyon is very rough, full of deep holes and large rocks in several places. Recommended Fly Fishing Lodge for the Big Hole River: Healing Waters Lodge. Fishing ended about noon and we drove to Dillon that afternoon for supplies and stopped at the Frontier Anglers fly shop. The Big Hole is a mid-size river for Montana standards with classic pools and riffles. It is a river rich not only in historical importance, but also in its ability to produce wild trout- and large ones at that. Just over an hour's drive from Chicago, through the cornfields of Illinois, runs a particularly scenic and well-preserved stretch of the Kankakee River. Back to the cabin and some dinner before heading out and fishing until dark. I got out and saw some standing water from the overflow ditch (not a good sign). Learn how your comment data is processed. We offer guided fly fishing float trips as well as walk and wade trips on the Big Hole River, Beaverhead River, Jefferson River, and Madison River. If “hoot owl” is in effect, a person must stop fishing between 2 pm and midnight. After not catching any fish in the normal spots, we walked further upstream. Mika Keleti – A Montana native, Mika has been fly fishing since he was old enough to hold a rod. These are chunky, thick fish! The Big Hole is a river rich not only in historical importance but also in its ability to produce wild trout — and large ones at that. Well, I did catch a Whitefish, but was hoping for more trout. Boasting 8 bedrooms, there is room enough for the entire family or corporate retreat. We drove back to Brown’s Bridge expecting a different experience. After eating a sandwich and cooling off with a Montana microbrew, we fished the other side in faster water. This is Montana…what’s another 40 mile one-way trip to search for more fish? Our new fly shop friend told us we could easily access the river a short distance downstream from the dam. Nadda! The Big Hole is the last remaining habitat for fluvial Arctic Grayling in … Trip itineraries will be tailored to ensure the best fishing options available in a given week. Big mistake! Side channels, dry fly slicks, and nymphing riffles. Fly Fishing Accommodations on the Big Hole River When fly fishers come to Southwest Montana, they are usually focused on the rivers to fish and the fishing experience. A small RV park is available as well if you plan to bring your own bed. Even with all these midges were on the water, not a fish rose to them. The Big Hole River may be reached via Highway 93 from Salmon, Idaho or from Interstate 15 from Idaho Falls to Butte or at the junction with Interstate 90 and Interstate 15 west of Butte. Toggle navigation Call us (406) 542-7411 View your cart I thought it might be a harbinger of things to come, but it wasn’t. They have rooms as well as a few cabins to choose from. As the river leaves the canyon it becomes a valley river lined with cottonwood trees. We gave it a try, but didn’t find any fish. It was getting dark and I rose a couple of fish, feeling one but no hook-ups. I HATE mosquitoes! Our comprehensive fishing trip package price includes: Five full days of guided fishing on the best rivers in Southwest Montana including but not limited to the Big Hole, Beaverhead, Bitterroot, Private Leases, Rock Creek, Clark Fork, Jefferson. Actually, the original plan didn’t include the Beaverhead River, it was a “plan B” activity. I caught my first fish around 8 pm and continued catching them till the mosquitoes carried me off at dark. River description by David Archer. That wasn’t necessarily bad, we just had to find the holding water where the fish were. Or we were between hatches. 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