River Reports and Photos

BHL staff does the Blackfoot

The BHL staff took advantage of a rare day off and shot over to the Rock Creek and Blackfoot for a change of pace.

Fellow law student, Zane, assisted Kali with her fish spotting duties from an inner-tube tied to my anchor line.

He was in prime position to net all the fish Lanette and Laurie caught.

Best Guide On The River

Kali, the chef's Jack Russell, is out spotting fish.

Fishing Report as We Enter August


Fishing is: Good!
Water flow: 376 cubic feet per second
Visibility: 36 inches
Water temperature at mid-day: 70 Degrees F
Water condition: Clear
Best time of day to fish: 6 AM-1:00 PM
Best stretch: Jerry Creek-Glen
Fly fishing hatches in order of time of day:  Tricos, then Yellow Sallies, then Hoppes, Ants & Beetles, then Caddis.  There are spruce moths around, especially up the Wise River Valley, but the fish haven't really been on them like they have in years past.

How I'd Fish It: Hit it hard in the morning and then get off of the slow pools in the afternoon.  The water is warm and the fish are lethargic.  Get back out there for the evening Caddis.  If the water feels too warm and the fish don't appear to be recovering very quickly, get off the water and wait for it to cool off.

Don't overplay your fish:  Get them in, unhook them, (underwater) and let them go!  These warm temps are lethal to trout when they are overplayed.  If you must have a photo, practice your April Vokey and keep their head under!

Please, Revive your fish! Point their heads up stream in slow moving, clean water and move them slowly up-current and back again, allowing water to pour through their gills.  You will see their gill plates opening and closing.  Do this until the fish swims away from you on its own accord.
"Throwing" a fish back this time of year will probably kill the fish.  It may swim off, but it will belly up and die soon after without proper revival.



The Beaverhead is fishing GREAT, the Clarkfork is fishing well, and Rock Creek is fishing well.  BHL's spring creek options are full of hoppers as well, so get out here!!

Father-Daughter Fishing Trip

This week Phil, my father’s dear friend, brought his daughter, Lizzy, to the mountains of Montana.  After  a week in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, helping my Dad celebrate his 65th birthday, they stopped by the Big Hole Lodge on their way back to Aspen.  

I had the privilege of witnessing a truly special father daughter fishing trip.

Phil taught Lizzy everything she needed to know about fly casting and she picked up on it right away on the Roaring Fork and other streams in the Aspen area.  During cocktail hour at the Lodge, she caught two fish in the Home Pool on the Wise River!  The next day, we floated the Big Hole and fishing was slow, so we parked the boat in a handful of pools and worked foam lines.

As Phil sat with his hands in his lap, Lizzy worked a riffle from the front of the boat. The fish were in the top of the run, but we didn’t want to spook the possible slow-water sleeper into the riffle.  Unable to push the boat any further, I gave Lizzy an encouraging nod and said, “reach the top”.  Despite a stiff breeze, Lizzy showed no sign of apprehension.  She fired a long cast into the churning white-water drop-off and BAM!

Phil, who had up to this point remained silent, allowing Lizzy to tailor her casts to the changing winds and currents, burst into celebration and dove for the net.  It was my turn to sit back and watch.  I anchored the boat and smiled as I watched father and daughter, both grinning ear to ear, land a wild Big Hole River rainbow.

Feed Your Addiction

We’re so excited about the new Helios 2 fly rod that we couldn’t wait to spring the preview video on the world. The video will be released to the public today, and it doesn’t tell you much about specifics on the rods, so we thought we’d fill you in on some of the details.

The new Orvis Helios 2 rods are as light in hand as the original Helios (the lightest fly rods in the world), but with greatly improved tapers that reduce the swing weight. Precision casting has been improved with refined tapers and increased damping. The rods are stronger that the original Helios, and also have double the impact strength in the tips. Helios 2 rods are still 100% made in USA in the Orvis Rod Shop in Manchester,Vermont.

What our testers have been raving about is how smooth these rods are in casting, and how accurate the rods are. For us, that’s the name of the game—if a rod is a delight to cast and it gets your fly exactly where you want it, fishing is just plain fun.

Was it a hot new material? Not really. Orvis is using a secret ultra-light additive (not carbon fiber) in its tip sections to increase tip impact strength in addition to the graphite/resin system used in the first generation of Helios rods. But the real secret to the amazing light feel and much smoother casting characteristics lies in how the fibers and resin systems are combined to create the taper, using Orvis’ patented thermoplastic technology.

The same kind of technological shift is happening in other high-tech sports products such as performance road bikes, where a recent article in Men’s Journal stated, “The bike’s tech revolution is as much about the methods used in their design as their materials”.

According to Shawn Combs, Orvis rod developer, “We’ve increased the impact strength in the tips of these rods by 100%, and made the tips lighter at the same time, giving you less fatigue when casting and more sensitivity. But what’s even more important to the angler is the additional horsepower you get from your casting stroke. A fly rod can be viewed as an infinite series of springs that transition from stiff at the cork to very flexible at the tip. We’ve virtually tuned each spring to work perfectly within the system to give you the smoothest possible power curve during casting. It’s a whole new construction for us.”

You can see some of the testing that went into Helios here. Scroll down to see the video. Also, as of tomorrow, if you want to go to Vimeo to get an embed code, here is the Vimeo link: https://vimeo.com/46309723

Of course, all the technical talk in the world is not as important as how the rod performs when fishing. Here is a sample of some of the comments received during the Helios 2 testing process:HOLY SH*T!!! No BS, damn thing is like casting with a laser pointer. Bubba Smith, Fisheads of the San Juan

Power - yes! Great, effortless casting with a 14' leader, double leech set up hung under indicator, even into stiff headwinds this week. Amazing backbone to fight these fish, especially to pull them out of the reeds where we were hooking up. Dave Jensen, Fly Fish Alberta

Loving the 9 and 10wt H2s. Been handling tuna, trevally, queenfish and an array of other species. All good so far, super light, super strong, great castability and fighting sticks. Jono Shales, Australia

The 966 is vastly more sensitive than the Helios version and much easier to load for the inexperienced angler. Toby Swank, Montana Fins & Feathers

That is the finest casting tool I have ever used. It is just unreal how the tip doesn't jump no matter how much line or how hard I threw it. It dampens superbly. Loads effortlessly. Chuck Hawkins, Hawkins Outfitters, Michigan

Helios 2 reel seats feature nickel-plated aluminum, which is harder and more abrasion- resistant than anodized aluminum. The freshwater configuration uses a gorgeous California buckeye burl insert and the saltwater versions have a woven carbon insert. All rods utilize Recoil guides for reduced weight and better line shooting.

Four models will be available in November, 2012

To order, call us today!

Good Mornin'

The Lunch Guest

 Christina, newest member of the Quality Chicks, does not take lunch breaks.  Not when 25" rainbows cruise by the picnic table.

Christina showed up at the Big Hole Lodge, just her second trip fly fishing, ready to begin her journey toward mastering the sport.  Her bags weren't even unpacked before she strung up a rod and began casting practice with fellow Chick, Chris, on the front lawn of the lodge.

Over the course of the week, she caught numerous fish and even completed the Big Hole River Grand Slam, catching a grayling, cutthroat, rainbow, brookie, and brown all in one day.  On her final day of the week, guide Marc took her and three other Chicks down to the Beaverhead River.  After a productive morning, the crew spread out table clothes under a sun tent on Wheat's Pond and sat down to a liesurley lunch. Or so they thought.

Two bites into her sandwich, Christina spotted a massive rainbow cruising the shore near the tent.

She grabbed her rod and carefully flipped a crawfish pattern into the moss in front of the fish. She waited until the big bow swam within sight of her fly and she twitched it ever so slightly, just  enough to give it the illusion of a live crawfish burying itself in the moss.  BAM.  The rainbow flipped its tail and dove on the fly.  As soon as it felt the hook it was running across the lake like a bonefish, peeling line off of Christina's reel, and taking her well into her backing.

And then it ran back, sending Christina back-peddaling to the barbed-wire fence surrounding the lake.  Her line caught in the fence briefly, then wrapped around her legs just as the fish turned for another run. Marc saw what was bound to ensue and leapt from his lunch.  He ran to Christina, stuck out his arm, and shouted, "Grab my arm and lift your legs!"  As Christina did a one armed pull-up on Marc's arm, fellow guide, Mike, untangled the line from her feet.  All the while, the three were shuffling toward the shore as the rainbow tugged them from the other side of the line.  At this point it was unclear who had caught whom.

In the end, Christina was admiring her conquered through the lens of her underwater camera as Marc revived the fish near shore.

Congratulations on a great week!

(Photos by: Christina)

Bluegrass, A Pig Roast, and Your New Boat. Tomorrow at Big Hole River Day

2nd Annual Big Hole River Day in Melrose, MT

July 21, 2012 8 AM to 9 PM


8 AM Pancake Breakfast at Hitchin' Post by 4 H Club

10 AM Vendors, arts and crafts open

10 AM Fly tying, casting competition and rowing demos begin

10 AM Kid's Activities with FWP Tip-Mont trailer and RMEF SAFE shooting booth open

4 PM Vendors, demos and activities close and music by Mountain Moongrass Band begins

6 PM BBQ pig roast dinner, auctions and raffles

9 PM Drawing for Hyde Drift boat raffle (need not be present to win)

BBQ dinner tickets are $25 each and are on sale now. Purchase your ticket early as we sold out last year.

Auction items include Harvey Eckert artwork, Monte Dolack artwork, 2-night stay at Sportsman Motel, artwork, jewelry, Salvestrin wine, local arts and crafts and more.

Roasted pork dinner with all the trimmings courtesy of Ray Weaver and Hitchin' Post Restaurant.

Dinner Tickets

BBQ dinner ticket $25 each. Purchase by July 15th. After the 15th, tickets will be $30.

I would like to attend the dinner: Please call (866) 533-2473 no later than 5 PM, Friday July 20th to order by phone. Tickets can also be purchased at the event on Saturday, July 21st.

Hyde "Rocky Mountain Skiff" Drift Boat Raffle - Ready to Fish! (Tickets are $20 each or 6 for $100)

Tickets are available in Butte at RD's Travel Stop, Bugs & Bullets, Fran Johnsons, StoneFly Fly Shop, and Three Bears. In Melrose/Divide at Great Divide Sports Shop, Sportsman Motel, Sunrise Fly Shop, and Hitchin' Post. In Wise River and Divide at Wise River Club, Dewey Bar and Wise River Merchantile. In Dillon at Frontier Anglers. In Twin/Sheridan at Four River Fishing Company.

Our Sponsors - Thank You!

Ruby Springs Sunrise Fly Shop Insty-Prints

Hitchin' Post Restaurant & Bar - Melrose

Win This Boat! Tomorrow!

The 2012 Big Hole River Foundation raffle is here!
This year our grand prize is a Hyde "Rocky Mountain Skiff" drift boat that comes ready to fish with trailer, 3 seats, oars, anchor system, storage boxes and knee braces. This boat is valued at over $8,700.
Tickets are $20 each or 6 for $100.
Please contact us at (866)533-2473 to order your raffle tickets. Drawing will take place at our fundraising dinner on July 21, 2012 in Melrose. Need not be present to win.

For more information, visit: www.bhrf.org

Wowzer! Quality Fish from a Quality Chick!

Cathy, of the Quality Chicks, put this 24" bruiser in the boat right out of the gate with Chuck Page on Monday, despite rising river conditions, drizzling rain, and cold temperatures the night before.  Great Fish!