Blog Posts In Friday Fishing Outlook

Friday Fly Fishing Film Festival


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Orvis' Friday Film Festival

Click the photo for another edition of the Friday Film Festival, in which Orvis scours the Web for the best fly-fishing footage available.

Comin' Down

Warm weather, then snow and rain, then more warm weather has rocketed the river from a scary July level to historical average for June.  This has made for a tough week of fishing, but starting Wednesday the river is leveling out and coming down.

This weekend's cold temps ought to keep the snow in the mountains, so we will be at the mercy of the rainstorms.  The hatch will most likely not come off until we get a warm day, but I wouldn't be afraid to throw a big bug as the water clears up.

April Showers....

The Big Hole is on the rise, up almost 1,000 cfs over the past three days.  Looks like a wet weekend ahead.  Luckily, with valley temps in the 40's we should get a good hit of snow in the mountains.

Big Hole CFS: 1,910

50" in 48 hours: Upper Big Hole Mountains

Did that storm come in with heavy winds, or was that a collective sigh of relief from the skiing and fishing community of Southwest Montana?
On Monday, the NWS started issuing promising forecasts which turned to winter storm warnings and eventually into the storm system being called Snowmageddon throughout the Northwest.

What did that mean for the Big Hole Watershed?

True to her word, La Nina and her beau, Old Man Winter, returned to Southwest Montana this week, and as if to apologize for their late arrival they coated our mountains with over 4 feet of snow over the course of two days.

Lost Trail Powder Mountain ski area, situated near the top of the pass which feeds the Big Hole, has had a tough time defending its name thus far this season, but today they are reporting 50" in the past 48 hours:

photo credit: Lost Trail Ski Area

Keep doing your snow dances and ritualistic sacrifices to Ullr, the trout will thank you next summer!

Area Fishing Report 7/20/11

Big Hole River

  • Water Flow: 2,700 cfs
  • Water Temp: 63 cfs
  • Visibility: clear
  • Weather: 70's and sunny this week
  • Fishing: Good! Dry flies: Attractors, stone flies, mayflies, caddis
Beaverhead River
  • Water Flow: 408 cfs in town
  • Visibility: 2 feet
  • Fishing: Very good, PMD's, caddis, nymphs
Wheat's Ranch on the Beaverhead
  • Excellent, PMD's, damsel flies
McCoy Spring Creeks
  • Excellent, hoppers and ants
Bitterroot River
  • Water Flow: 355 cfs near Connor
  • Visibility: clear
  • Fishing: Fair to good, slow starting but eating dries through the afternoon

Montana's 9th Month of Winter

I woke up to the sound of the Wise River raging outside my window yesterday.  I rubbed my eyes and sat up to see this scene...I rubbed them again thinking I might still be asleep, but a quick walk around the property confirmed the winter storm.

The snow continued until about 11 a.m. before turning to rain.  The river is rising big time, but this is the runoff we've been waiting for and i'm glad to see it happen sooner than later.

The weather forecast calls for temps in the low 60's and slight chances of rain throughout the week.  The fresh snow will come off the base snowpack, initially dirtying the river, but most likely clearing as the river drops by the end of the week.  Remember, we fished at these levels last year.  Don't be afraid of this big water -if it's clear it'll fish well.

The national news makes it sound like the entire state is underwater, but that is not the case at all.  The central and eastern parts of the state are indeed flooding, and will have a long road ahead of them before fishing is even a thought.  The Big Hole is forecast to peak today at a moderate flood stage (flooding in some pastureland) and will drop back within its banks over the next day or so.  As the river comes down it will clear up.  We are hoping for some good fishing by mid-week.

Big Hole River Fishing Report:

Bring On the Sunshine!

Big Hole River Fishing Report: 6/3/11 Weekend Outlook

  • Water Flow: 4,750 cfs
  • Water Temp: 46 degrees
  • Visibility: 10-12 inches
  • Fishing: good with streamers
  • Weather: snow today, sunny and 70's through the weekend

The new rain has brought the water level up, but fishing has still been good underneath. Early yesterday morning we had high winds, a furious hail storm, and then heavy rain on the upper Big Hole.  The rain showers continued through the day and into last night.  This morning it is snowing at the lodge!   The weather forecast is calling for sunny skies and temps in the 70's through Monday...bring it on!  The warm weather will definitely bring snow down and the river will most likely rise significantly by the beginning of next week.

The sunshine ought to bring on the caddis hatch and top water fishing could be very good this weekend.  Streamers have been working well in this nasty weather and should continue to do so in the mornings before you tie on a dry.  Good luck!

Happy Birthday to our chef, Lanette!  She is over in West Yellowstone celebrating with our trusty guide, Chuck Ravetta.  They plan to get out on the Madison today to bring in her new year.  Enjoy your next trip around the sun, Netter!

Friday Fishing Outlook: Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend Fishing Outlook: Big Hole River

With river flows as they are, big ugly bugs are the order of the day. Trout will seek havens close to the bank to get out of the current. Opportunities are limited in these conditions but there will be backwaters and inside turns where trout will look for their next meal. If and when the mother's day caddis hatch comes off, we could see some good surface activity.

The river has been rising all week and plateaued today.  The river will continue to drop throughout the weekend with these cool temperatures.  Fishing should be good!

Water flow: 7,530 cfs
: 12-14 inches
Water temperature at mid-day
: 49 Degrees F
Water condition
: Slightly off color
Best time of day to fish
: 12-4:00 PM
Best stretch
: Fishtrap-Jerry Creek
Weather: High 40's and rain showers

"Should-have" fly fishing patterns in descending order of importance:

Fly Name: Fly Color: Fly Size(s):
Senyo's Iced Out Sculpin Brown #4-8
Rouse's Poodle Olive #4-8
Sumpin' Ugly Brown #4-8
Tunghead Marabou Muddler Black #4-8
Cone Head Marabou Muddler Yellow #4-8
Kaufman's Mini Stone Fly Black/brown #8-10
Wooly Bugger Black/olive #8-10
BH Sparkle Pupa Tan #14, 16
Flexi-Girdle Bug Brown #8-10
Elk hair caddis Tan #14, 16


T.G.I.F. Big Hole River is clearing up

Friday Fishing Outlook: Big Hole River

  • Water Flow: 3,630 cfs
  • Water Temp: 49 degrees
  • Visibility: 18 inches
  • Weather: high 50's and chance of showers through the weekend
  • Fishing: Good
  • Flies:  streamers, march browns, caddis, stone fly nymphs

The Big Hole has been dropping steadily for the past three days and clearing as it falls.  The clouds and cool temps throughout the weekend will keep the river clear and fishing should be great.