Blog Posts In Big Hole River Fishing Report

Fall Fishing Report: Streamers in the Shallows

Tom Murphy strayed from his beloved Missouri to investigate the state of the browns on the Big Hole.  Using an articulated Christmas ornament, he has determined they are hungry, mean, and preparing to spawn!


This skinny old brown ate in still water in front of the boat ramp before we had the anchor up!


Soon after, the below pictured fish hit "harder than a northern pike!"



We knew it would be nothing short of greedy to continue fishing after landing a hog like that, but after a summer on the was just too much fun to stop!





The sky was dark, the wind was up, and the temps were chilly, but the fishing was HOT!


Big Hole River Fishing Report: April 8, 2014

Report by: Craig Fellin for Orvis Fishing Reports

Image Hank Hunker, of Sweetwater Fishing Expeditions, with a nice early season brown

Fishing has been good in the afternoons! Fish are looking up for midges and skwalas in the slower water and along the banks and they are chasing streamers and chomping girdle bugs in the riffles, especially at the tail end.


Water flow: 820 cfs
Visibility: 36 inches
Water temperature at mid-day: 42 Degrees F
Water condition: Clear
Best time of day to fish: 1:00-4:00 PM
Best stretch: Jerry Creek- Dewey
Best access point: Dewey
Dry Fly fishing in order of importance:
Midges, blue winged olives, skwalas
Nymphs in order of importance:
Girdle bugs, yellow streamers, black wooly buggers
Fish species: Trout
Fishing season: Spring
Nearest airport: Butte
Recommended fly fishing leader12 Foot Leader
Recommended fly fishing tippet6X Tippet
Best fly fishing rod9' 5 Weight Fly Rod
Best floating fly lineDouble Taper Trout Fly Line
Best sinking fly lineStreamer Stripper Sink Tip Fly Line

Craig's Tip of the Week:

Leaders are probably the most overlooked pieces of equipment that we use on the trout stream. I finely tapered leader either knotless or knotted will turn your fly over with ease assuming you make a good cast and match the right sized tippet with the fly you're fishing. For example you'd use a 3x tippet if you're fishing #10 hoppers in the wind, or you'd use a 6x tippet fishing a #20 baetis imitation in a slow pool. What wouldn't work would be a 5x tippet attached to a #12 Royal Wulff. Another mistake many fly fishers make is using a leader that has been snipped off numerous times during the day adding new tippet to the point where the taper on the leader has been compromised. When this happens, the fly doesn't land where its intended to, and you spend a critical moment or two searching for your fly on the water and inviting a missed strike. Use a well tapered leader each time you step in the water.

Check back weekly for updated reports! 

An August Cold Snap?

Not quite, but things sure have cooled off over the past two days.  Temps were in the nineties on Saturday and Sunday and then out of nowhere, a front moved through dropping Sunday night's temp by 60 degrees!  I slept with my windows open and woke up thinking I was camping.

Big Hole River Report:

Cooler nighttime temps and a cloudy day yesterday really brought the water temp down from an alarming 73 degrees to a refreshing 59.  Great news for a heat-stressed fish population.

The river is holding tough at 300 cfs, and hopefully 5 day forecast for afternoon showers does in fact bring moisture.

Temps should stay below the 90 degree mark this week and nights should drop into the 40's.  Add in a little rain and we are in fine shape!

As for the fishing?  It has been really good the past two days on tricos, hoppers, and caddis.

Quick Update: 6/19/11

Big Hole River Fishing Report:

On my way out to the river, will report with photos tonight!

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!

snow way!

Big Hole River Fishing report 5/26/11

The rain poured last night after 2 a.m., turning to heavy snow by this morning.  The trees above 7,ooo feet were coated in white, but the big flakes in my yard lasted only a few minutes.
The old timers say, "when the snow on that thar face comes down, high water is here."  Well the snow on that thar face (pictured below) is far from gone.  In fact, just last week a two foot deep wet-slide avalanche cut it's way down the central slope and didn't reach the rock bed below.  There is a lot of snow left in the high country and this runoff could be furious over the next couple of weeks.
The Wise River in the below pictured section is marked by giant boulders, up to four feet above the river surface.  Today they are all but under water.
The Big Hole hasn't spiked from last night's storm yet, but this wave of mountain water is on its way down the valley.
Flood warnings are in effect today and tomorrow around the state and the Big Hole at Melrose has reached it's flood stage today.  However,  the cold weather forecast for the weekend means that the runoff will again be halted.  The Big Hole will most likely drop and clear by the weekend and streamer fishing could be very good like it was a week ago.

Late May Showers Bring July Flowers

Edit: (5/25/11)

  • water flow: 7,000 cfs!
  • water temp: 48 degrees
  • visibility: very muddy

Big Hole River Fishing Report 5/23/11:

The Big Hole fished well this weekend with dry fly action on Friday and streamer fishing through the weekend.  The weather was typical for spring in Montana with cold temps and frequent showers. It rained hard last night on the Wise River and I assume it did in the Big Hole Valley as well because the river jumped up overnight.
The rain throughout the week will continue to bring the water up, but the cool temperatures ought to keep the snow in the mountains and streamer fishing should be good.
The national weather service is issuing a flood watch for the Melrose area, and predicts that the river will rise by 2,000 cfs over the next few days.  Be careful getting in and out of the boat, and if you do find places to wade, tighten that wading belt!!

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.

Time to buy a Kayak, the Wise River is rockin' and rollin'

Big Hole Fishing Report 5/16/11

  • Water Flow: 4,540 cfs
  • Water Temp: 47 degrees
  • Visibility: muddy
  • Fishing: Streamer fishing has been cumbersome, but successful until today.  The water came up a lot last night and the Big Hole is very turbid today.
The spring weather that we have been missing out on will start this week and hopefully the weather will warm up enough to bring the mid-level snow out, essentially blowing out, and cleaning out, the watershed.  The weather predictions for the next two months indicate cooler days and cold nights which will bring the high snow out slowly and steadily throughout July and into August.    The Big Hole is going to be substantially bigger going into summer this year, but when the water clears fishing will be very good and fish will have more river to work with.