Fishing was slow after that first fish. Side channels, dry fly slicks, and nymphing riffles. I waded further upstream trying seams close to the bank and farther out in the river. Actually, the original plan didn’t include the Beaverhead River, it was a “plan B” activity. 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. An access road follows the river. 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. We returned to the bridge with a little moisture from a thunderstorm falling on us. We decided to walk back to the bridge and try upstream where we hooked and landed a few fish. River description by David Archer. Well, she was right! We had heard about the high snow pack in southwest Montana last winter. I really had a hard time finding my fly becuase it was dark, but I certainly could see the ring from the fish eating my fly! Captain Lewis had originally named this river the Wisdom River, but through the years, the river became known as the Big Hole. It is a river rich not only in historical importance, but also in its ability to produce wild trout- and large ones at that. The Big Hole is in the late summer/early fall splendor. We walked downstream to the spot where we caught fish the previous day. Finding access and locating fish are a challenge. Montana Big Hole River website with thorough river descriptions, current fly fishing reports, suggested fly patterns, videos and typical catch photos. Friday after Dillon, we tried the canyon. But we did find some access points and walked along the river, ending up at an eddy just below a chute. A typical week of fishing at Big Hole Lodge may start with a float on the Big Hole River. Big Hole River Fly Fishing Trip A Cold Front Arrives. All of these qualities provide for healthy populations of trout and arctic grayling. 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. Here is what we found. 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. It looks really fishy, but not fish. The Big Hole is a productive river, and is typically only crowded for the middle weeks of June during the salmonfly hatch. While nondescript from the outside, I enjoy the rustic feel of the old bar…”rest your weary ass”. In summer is the river is very wade-able. Talk about a smooth casting fly rod! Required fields are marked *, By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website. This is Montana…what’s another 40 mile one-way trip to search for more fish? Big Hole River - Highway 43. We found out the Beaverhead river was fishing really well. I decided to fish a run using the Cone Head Bow River Bugger streamer I purchased from Frontier Anglers. We drove down I15 at the 80 mph speed limit to Clark Canyon Dam. Our last full day fishing the Big Hole river found us back at Maiden Rock, about an hour earlier than the previous day…nothing. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact. I landed some beautiful Rainbow and Brown Trout. Still nothing. That wasn’t necessarily bad, we just had to find the holding water where the fish were. I’ll tell you about it below. I’ve always liked the Big Hole River because of it’s size. Gear reviews, Shop Specials, Trip Reports and more. Then finding the right fly fishing guide service and fly shop that offers guided float trips, gear, clothing, flies, etc. Caddis hatches that can require dust masks. In certain sections of the river, there are approximately 3,500 trout per mile with a substantial percentage in the 18-20" class. 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. Upper Big Hole - North Fork to Dewey Full Day Float Trips Include: Transportation to and from Montana Troutfitters and your fishing destination, rentals, lunch and beverages, flies and terminal tackle, … *. To our surprise, we could definitely tell because the water was higher than we had fished it before. The Beaverhead River isn’t very wide. This year, “hoot owl” restrictions were in effect for the upper and lower Big Hole River, but not the areas we planned to fish. After eating a sandwich and cooling off with a Montana microbrew, we fished the other side in faster water. Having said that, we had a great time fly fishing the Big Hole and Beaverhead rivers. A small RV park is available as well if you plan to bring your own bed. Nadda! Well, that wasn’t going to deter us. From his guide crew to his office staff you can count on a professional, courteous, entertaining and hard working team that will make you feel at home during your stay. Here is the water above the bridge. I thought it might be a harbinger of things to come, but it wasn’t. Except the roughly 100 mosquito bites on my back! It could have been because we mostly used dry flies. It looks like an irrigation ditch to me. I HATE mosquitoes! Or we were between hatches. Will Winans of Big River Fly Fishing specializes in drift boat trips through this productive smallmouth bass fishery. The Big Hole Valley is a beautiful place. In spring, fishing from a drift boat or raft is preferred. The opportunity to own such a prestigious guest lodge in my home State of Montana was too good to pass up.” Paul Moseley is an avid fly fisherman and has fished, guided and lived in Southwest Montana since 1995. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. In spots, you crawl down the road. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. 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. The Big Hole is a mid-size river for Montana standards with classic pools and riffles. We’ve fished at the boat ramp as well as a little further downstream to the top of where the campground begins. They have rooms as well as a few cabins to choose from. I wonder if the Mule had anything to do with our answer? We can usually find fish. We drove back to Brown’s Bridge expecting a different experience. We gave up there and thought about our next fishing spot. Well, I did catch a Whitefish, but was hoping for more trout. The first stop after checking in to the Twins cabin was at Sunrise Fly Shop, which is right next door. Sure, there was a mosquito or two in the other locations, but they didn’t bother us much. Your email address will not be published. No fish. Toggle navigation Call us (406) 542-7411 View your cart Several of these came to hand. The Lewis and Clark Expeditions traversed through the Big Hole Valley in 1805 enroute to the Pacific Northwest. Brown Trout were rising about 10 feet from me under the brush along the river’s edge. Our new fly shop friend told us we could easily access the river a short distance downstream from the dam. Having guided on the Big Horn, Missouri, Madison, Big Hole, and Beaverhead Rivers, Lee brings his vast knowledge of fly fishing and Montana trout to the river every day. Call 406-683-3462 for more information. Maybe it was time of day, so we tried it again very early the next morning. Karen rose and landed a big Rainbow Trout. The next day might find you wading a private ranch on the Beaverhead River, one of the finest tail-water fisheries in the country. I found a rainbow about 17″. 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. With more than 3000 fish per mile, the river is an angler’s dream. Side channels, dry fly slicks, and nymphing riffles. 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. You may unsubscribe via the link found at the bottom of every email. Learn how your comment data is processed. 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. What flies were most effective? I thought it was only accessible by boat because it flowed through quite a bit of private property. Stonefly hatches that bring even the largest of trout to the surface. The Big Hole River in Montana, one of the best fly fishing rivers in Southwest Montana. Here is another shot. Oh yea, we found a few Whitefish rising to dry flies as well! The fly fishing on this stretch of the Big Hole River is primarily for brook trout, cutthroat trout, rainbow trout and the native grayling (all grayling must be released). The next stop on our 2017 road trip was in southwest Montana. We are having solid reports of hopper fishing in the afternoon heat on the lower Big Hole River and around the Melrose area. Guided Fly Fishing Trips on the Big Hole River. It was getting dark and I rose a couple of fish, feeling one but no hook-ups. In addition, he showed us a caddis imitation he used to catch some nice trout. 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”. 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. A true freestone river, The Big Hole and its diverse water will distract even the most ardent angler from his fly now and then. We’ve never fished the Beaverhead before. The Big Hole River is the very definition of a Southwest Montana fly fishing trout stream. Equally as diverse as the water on the Big Hole is … If you need somewhere to stay in the Big Hole Valley, I highly recommend the Sportsman Motel. 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. Bighorn, Big Hole, Stillwater and Missouri River trips available for an additional $45 to cover travel costs. 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. Big mistake! After not catching any fish in the normal spots, we walked further upstream. The cabin has a full kitchen, which we like to have during our trip. If “hoot owl” is in effect, a person must stop fishing between 2 pm and midnight. You will find some trico's in spot specific areas in the morning and Blue Winged Olives. Big Hole River History in Brief. 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. The road into the canyon is very rough, full of deep holes and large rocks in several places. This river forms lots of ice when temps drop the way they did last weekend. At least that was our hope. Day one of your fishing week will likely begin with a full day float on the legendary Big Hole River, known for its beauty and world-class wild trout fishing. 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. I’ve always been able to catch fish upstream of Brown’s Bridge and this year was no exception. The car thermometer read 38 degrees. The first picture of this post captures the moment, thanks to my wife. This 17″ Brown Trout came to my net as darkness approached. And perhaps the interesting posters on the walls. This river is also world renowned for its salmon fly hatch and attracts fishermen from around the world. Current fly fishing report for the Big Hole located in Montana. The brook trout can become very large in this section, often exceeding sixteen inches. Perhaps fish were there because of increased oxygen levels. I thought it might be the beginning of a good night of fishing…but it wasn’t to be. A few mosquitoes began flying around as we opened the back of the Tahoe and slipped on our waders. Keith is a patient teacher and loves to share his passion for fly fishing with others. Besides our new favorite Parachute Chernobyl, we caught fish on Beetle Bailey and a Purple Haze. We learned a lot from our guide, both how to fish the Big Hole as well as access points were we could fish from shore. “Hoot owl” is a term used to restrict the hours a person can fish. ... His passion for fly fishing has driven him to explore many of the great rivers throughout Montana. No more fish…so we decided to move back upstream and try around the Divide bridge. We stayed in the Twins Cabin this trip. Below are the latest write-ups on the action we're seeing, and you can always get more information on fishing the Big Hole River and fishing the Beaverhead River on our site or by calling the shop at 406.683.5276. We pulled up our buffs, applied repellent and walked to the river. Mark Tobin and Kevin Kurz are hosted by fly fishing guide and drift-boat captain Jason Newmack of Five Rivers Lodge via Dillon, Montana. A quick call or email, and we will be happy to visit and help you plan your Montana fly fishing vacation. Having said that, we had a great time fly fishing the Big Hole and Beaverhead rivers. Floating isn't a good option unless your ok with having to hit a number of rocks at a low winter flow. The mosquitoes won! Read about the other rivers on our 2017 fly fishing road trip: Your email address will not be published. Recommended Fly Fishing Lodge for the Big Hole River: Healing Waters Lodge. By submitting this form, you are granting: Stonefly Outfitters, Po Box 428, Twin Bridges, Montana, 59754, United States, http://www.thestoneflyinn.com permission to email you. They were very helpful. 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. Fly Fishing the Big Hole River Posted on July 16, 2019 The next stop on our first fly fishing road trip this year was fly fishing the Big Hole River. Fishing ended about noon and we drove to Dillon that afternoon for supplies and stopped at the Frontier Anglers fly shop. The water we hoped to fish was not restricted by “hoot owl”, but we also heard a familiar phrase…”you’re between hatches”. We’ve been staying at the Sportsman Motel in Melrose, MT during our previous Big Hole River fishing trips. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Ten miles per hour seems like flying 80 down the freeway. Dry fly fishing for smaller fish in the 10”-14” range can be exceptional in the upper reaches. As dusk settled in, my wife told me to turn around and cast back to shore, aiming at a little riffle in the water. 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. It wasn’t the first or last time we would hear those words during out fly fishing road trip! Thousands in the United States. Tributaries . Since Brown’s Bridge wasn’t looking so good to catch fish, we decided to drive up to the Divide Bridge, about 14 miles upstream. Below the Wise River, the Big Hole runs through a section of canyon water known for some of the best salmon fly fishing in the world during mid-June. Troutfitters, located within casting distance of the famed Big Hole River, two miles west of Wise River, Montana, provides the ultimate in fly shops, fishing information and guide service in southwestern Montana. 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. By the time we were ready to cast a fly, it was late afternoon and Brown’s Bridge was the closest for us to try. Our location allows for fast and easy access to some of the best trout fishing in Southwest Montana. There are hundreds of great fly fishing rivers in the state of Montana alone. 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. During previous trips, we were able to catch fish in all those locations…some more than others. A Fly Fishing Lodge on the Big Hole River. Read about the other rivers on our 2017 fly fishing road trip: Missouri River Fly Fishing; Fly Fishing the St. Joe River, ID; Upper Columbia River Fly Fishing Finally, we arrived at a spot we’ve fished in prior years. Oh my gosh, the wind was howling coming down the canyon. I enjoy the walk and wade experience. I think I landed 7 fish, all over 17″. Whatever the reason, if we go back, it most likely will be a different time of year. 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. I cast a few times because I couldn’t help myself and finally gave up…all within 5 minutes. We discussed our fishing on the Big Hole and thought about the Beaverhead River tip. I don’t really know. The Big Hole River is right out the front door, but we also frequently fish the Beaverhead, Jefferson, Madison, Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers. Overall, I was disappointed in the “catching” at the Big Hole River. We arrived on the Summer Solstice, June 20, 2019, in a thunder-snow and rainstorm. Trip itineraries will be tailored to ensure the best fishing options available in a given week. I HATE MOSQUITOES!!!!! Even with all these midges were on the water, not a fish rose to them. Boasting 8 bedrooms, there is room enough for the entire family or corporate retreat. Another “plan B” was hatched! I got out and saw some standing water from the overflow ditch (not a good sign). Mika Keleti – A Montana native, Mika has been fly fishing since he was old enough to hold a rod. The Big Hole is the last remaining habitat for fluvial Arctic Grayling in … We gave it a try, but didn’t find any fish. We took a guided trip back in 2011 where we floated from the put-in above Maiden Rock through the canyon and ended our trip at the Melrose take-out. Fish have been found in past years along the shore…very close to the shore. We found several midge clusters close to the edge. Enjoy…go fish! I’m still trying to decide if catching those fish were worth those mosquito bites…. Whitefish and trout moved to our flies, hooking up or just hitting the fly and missing. I purchased four caddis flies along with this streamer for the Big Hole. 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. The Big Hole Valley is a beautiful place. 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. The Big Hole River is likely in the top 3 … The Big Hole Valley is notoriously cold at times but this was crazy. The Big Hole Lodge is truly one of the classic fly … The Big Hole is a classic free-stone river, known for its varying landscapes of high mountain valleys, quick canyons and big, cottonwood bottoms. From the headwaters to the North Fork the Big Hole offers small stream fishing for rainbows, brook trout, and the native grayling and cutthroat. We focus on every detail of your guided fishing trip, ensuring that your fly fishing vacation is the best it can be. We double-checked the “hoot owl” locations. The Big Hole River and the Complete Fly Fisher are a combination for fly fisherman that few destinations can match. These are chunky, thick fish! It’s always interesting to find new water. Back to the cabin and some dinner before heading out and fishing until dark. Cold weather has dropped the flow as water is turning into hard stuff. 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. Our all-inclusive, Grand Lodge is ideal for a romantic getaway, a fly fishing adventure or a Montana family vacation. 6 months of changing conditions - great early and late season opportunities. There are approximately six different floats the lodge utilizes on the Big Hole and each one has a different look and feel to it. (See our Email Privacy Policy for details.) The fish stopped rising and we headed back to the cabin and ended up with an early dinner at the Hitchin’ Post. Links to Free Old Fly Fishing and Fly Tying Books, Fly Fishing the Madison and Yellowstone Rivers. Perhaps that’s the main function and trout come second. I caught my first fish around 8 pm and continued catching them till the mosquitoes carried me off at dark. Established in 1984 by long-time angler Craig Fellin, the Big Hole Lodge continues to offer world-renowned wild trout fishing, remarkable cuisine, and comfortable accommodations in a secluded mountain setting. As the river leaves the canyon it becomes a valley river lined with cottonwood trees. In this video we will be water wading in Montana doing some trout fishing with a great guide. From canyon walls to meandering farmlands the Big Hole River changes its face around every corner. I’m glad I did. 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