Blog Posts In big hole river

BOOK YOUR SPRING STREAMER SPECIAL!

Join us in April for Ice-Out on the Big Hole, Beaverhead, and Missouri Rivers!
Our guides are on the water chasing huge fish, join them for an unforgettable experience!

Big Hole Lodge will be open from April 1st until spring run-off in May so call and book today!

SPECIAL SPRING RATES

- Day Trip for Two: $450

Include flies, gourmet lunch, hot coffee and cold beer!

- 10% Off All Packages: 

6 Nights/5 Days Fishing
5 Nights/4 Days Fishing
4 Nights/3 Days Fishing
3 Nights/2 Day Fishing 

For prices and availability visit our website

Includes lodging, gourmet meals, and flies

GUIDES ARE FISHING IF YOU AREN'T!

BIG FISH ON BIG FLIES

Come rain, snow, or gorgeous sunshine one thing is sure - these trout are hungry!

IF YOU DON'T LIKE THE WEATHER...

...WAIT FIVE MINUTES!

PACK FOR THE ELEMENTS

On cold days guides will have hand warmers, extra clothing and can build a bankside fire.

CALL AND RESERVE YOUR SPOT TODAY!

Space is limited during this pre-runoff window. 

Don't miss your chance for the fishing adventure of a lifetime!

(406) 832-3252
email: info@bigholelodge.com

WORLD FISHING NETWORK TO FEATURE BIG HOLE LODGE THIS SUNDAY!


Friends,

We are pleased to announce that this coming Sunday January 18th, Big Hole Lodge will be featured in episode 2 of "Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die," a new television series on the World Fishing Network based on Chris Santella's book of the same name.


In this show fly fishing celebrity and host of World of Fly Fishing, Conway Bowman, floats the Big Hole guided by our own Wade Fellin and Rudy Ketchum.


Though there are plenty of beautiful, wild trout netted and our incredible scenery is highlighted, the main emphasis of this segment is the impressive conservation work being done for the river by the Big Hole Watershed Committee, Big Hole River Foundation, donors like The Orvis Company and through state and federal grants.

This is truly a success story of what can be accomplished if everyone pitches in and works together for the benefit of the resource. The Big Hole River is a great fly fishing river and one of the Blue Ribbon Streams of Montana, but it is also a good example for other watersheds to emulate in their efforts to improve their own local rivers and streams.


For show times click here and to find out if you get the World Fishing Network click here.

We hope you’ll enjoy the show and please email us your thoughts-we’d enjoy hearing from you!

Best,

Craig Fellin

50 Places To Fly Fish Before You Die

We are proud to announce Big Hole Lodge will be featured in episode two of Fifty Places To Fly Fish Before You Die, a television series on the World Fishing Network based on a book by Chris Santella. Click the photo to watch the promotional video and tune in Sunday January 18th to watch the show!

Promo Video Promo Video for episode two: Big Hole River

"The Big Hole River in southwestern Montana is a study in contrasts: running through high mountain country, sprawling valleys, and rugged canyons. We launch near the town of Wise River and our timing couldn’t have been better, the much sought after salmon fly hatch is in full swing and the trout fishing is really heating up. We land a very nice brown trout in the eighteen inch range and catch some rainbow trout as well. While here we meet with Jim Olsen, the biologist on the Big Hole drainage and Harold Peterson, a rancher in the valley. Together, they provide great insight on how conservation efforts to keep adequate water levels in the river benefit both man and wildlife."

Wildlife Showcase of a Healthy Southwest Montana

The most spectacular and rewarding aspect of fly-fishing in Montana is knowing each time you step into the river there is a chance to intimately interact with the wildest and most beautiful creatures in the Rocky Mountains.  This summer has been particularly spectacular and we at Big Hole Lodge want to close our season by sharing a few of our favorite moments from our untamed backyard. Southwest Montana is healthy and flourishing!

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unnamed-1_MG_410210460262_10152404138197620_515361497023343886_n 10368215_10152475696012620_2520147587230546517_n   10653332_10152475693327620_8187220504057801051_n 10675521_980314399959_3255294140442966892_n 10696162_980001716579_5080249296106258490_nThank you to all who joined us this summer! We are deflating the rafts, battening down the hatches for the coming snow, and eagerly awaiting an even more incredible year in 2015. We hope to spend it with you!

Tight lines,

Craig, Wade, Lanette, and the entire Big Hole Lodge staff.

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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!

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

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

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

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

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Montana Had a Great Winter, Who Didn't?

Montana Had a Great Winter, Who Didn't?

Areas of the US Old Man Winter neglected this year

"When am I gonna catch a fish like that?!"

Tales of a Fly Fishing Lodge Chef suffering from Trout Addiction

Our Chef appeared agitated after serving the final breakfast of Big Hole Lodge's 2nd Annual Spey Casting Clinic.   She opened the door to the Trout House and her ten-year-old jack russell, Kali, rocketed through the log cabin and up the stairs to wake up Wade.  Lanette Evener plopped into her recliner, flipped on the San Francisco Giants game, and grabbed her computer to check the area fishing reports.  The employee digs weren't always so plush.  In fact, Lanette weathered her first 15 summers out here in a one-room cabin without running water or electricity and had to share it with more mice than she could set traps for.  She will spend her 19th summer half a mile downstream from the Lodge in The Trout House.

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Wade stopped wrestling with Kali upstairs when he heard a sharp, "Oh, come on! When am I gonna catch a fish like that?"
"What's the river look like?"
"Flattened out last night and dropping this morning. Supposed to be off and on rain today."

This time of year, a high mountain rain can wash out a mudbank and blow out the Big Hole overnight, but it has been cold at night in the valley and a falling river is perfect.

"You got your waders on yet?"
"No. Why, are we going?"
"Yep. I'm up. I'll go get the boat, you get ready."

Wade could tell by her tone she was legitimately envious of the fish on someone's blog and didn't even need to see the pictures. Employee float trips are few and far between once the summer gets rolling and will be even more rare this summer while Wade is away studying for the bar exam. Lanette didn't have to be in the kitchen until 5pm to cook steak dinner, and with these spring flows they could cover a lot of ground in a few hours.

When Wade returned with the boat, Lanette had the cooler packed, her flies picked out, and her waders on. Every guide knows it's bad luck for a guide to leave a boat seat open on a free day, so Wade invited his friend, Katie, to hold down the fort and play clean-up from the backseat, DJ, and row a bit. As a fisherman, it's always a good idea to allow everyone ample rowing practice time.

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Nine miles up the Big Hole, Wade realized he'd forgot his net.  Nets take a beating in a raft over the course of the summer, but his would have been better than nothing after a bit of tippet patchwork.  It was too late to go back, so they opted to go without.  Wade pulled into a fly shop for a shuttle. Lanette quietly went to the back wall and picked out a beautiful rubber telescopic boat net, complete with a floating foam handle.  To Wade's protest, she said, "Shut up, Jr., this is a graduation present. Now go find me a fish to put in it."

On her fifth cast, throwing a three-inch yellow and orange sex dungeon, Lanette smacked the fly into the bottom of a small riffle right on the bank.  The fly sat on the rocks, just under the surface and only a few inches off the bank.  The fly line caught current, pulling the fly right over the drop off along the seam.
"FISH!"
"He's not hooked, that was a subtle take, hit him again to the side!"
"He's hooked!  And coming right at the boat! Row Jr., row!! Oh my God, he's a monster!"

Ten minutes later, Wade extended that new net under the biggest fish Lanette has ever seen on the Big Hole River.  She has suffered through story after story of "wall-fish" as clients come beaming into the dinning room for 19 years, each time high five-ing the angler and celebrating with them, but in the back of her mind, time and time again she's asked, when am I gonna catch my break? When do I get a wall-fish?  And it has not been for lack of paying her dues.  Wade, Lanette and their good friend Laurie have fished rain or shine, through big water and low water, and have fished hard for the last 15 years.

She could hardly breathe, her voice was high pitched, and she nearly fell headlong into the river as she clamored onto the bank to admire the beauty.

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"Oh my God, this fish just made my season. Hell, it made my career! Look at this thing!"

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After reviving the old boy, Lanette turned him on his side for one last optical feast before sliding him back into the beautiful river that raised him.  The three looked up and out into the Pintler Mountains and smiled and sighed. Then they erupted into high-fives and hugs.

Congratulations, Lanette! You definitely deserved it!

Hope you got out there before the melt! River is on the rise

After fishing Monday, we reported that the river was in good shape. This is no longer the case at the moment! The warm weather this week has brought out a lot of low snow and the river has temporarily (we hope) blown out.  Fish with big bugs and get em tight to the bank! 

Water flow: 1,950 cfs
Visibility: 12 inches
Water temperature at mid-day: 42 Degrees F
Water condition: Off-color 
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:
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 leader: 9 Foot Leader
Recommended fly fishing tippet: 3X Tippet
Best fly fishing rod9′ 6 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! 

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.

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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! 

2014 Preview: Your Own Room, Fresh Faces and a Fresh Look!

ImageWith another snowstorm bearing down on Southwest Montana, I thought it would bolster my mental fortitude to write about fly fishing.  I’ve been tying steelhead patterns to use on the Salmon River next month for the early spring run. This has helped abate the extreme cabin fever all of us in the Big Hole Valley seem to contract about this time each winter, although this winter has been different than most. I think that could be an understatement for just about anywhere in the country, but I make the motion with great enthusiasm that its time to start thinking about big brown trout and beautiful rivers like the Big Hole, Beaverhead and Bitterroot.

“I still don’t know why I fish or why other men fish, except that we like it and it makes us think and feel.”
Roderick L. Haig-Brown
A River Never Sleeps (1946)

Tight Lines,
Craig Fellin

ImageSPRING FISHING
Our season starts with an early pre-runoff 4 night/3 day fly fishing package (see rates) from April 29-May 2nd. The water level on the Big Hole is usually ideal at this time and the trout are hungry after a long, cold winter. Expect to fish nymphs and streamers in the morning and skwala stonefly and blue winged olive dry fly patterns in the afternoon. Very few people are on the river at this time and the trout haven’t seen many flies yet. This is also a great time to be on the Missouri River, which is well known for its prolific blue winged olive hatches in April and May and superb dry fly fishing.

SPEY CASTING CLINIC
Big Hole Lodge will be hosting its 2nd annual Spey Casting Clinic with Larry Aiuppy on May 3-7. Larry is the only certified spey casting instructor in Montana and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the event. For me the spey cast is like watching a well-balanced and well-timed golf swing or even a ballet as some would compare. Granted the cast is meant for large salmon/steelhead rivers but there are also trout applications with the shorter spey or switch rods, fishing streamers or soft hackles in the surface film. This is a 4 night/3 day package for $2,630 per person based on double occupancy and guaranteed to jump-start your fly fishing season.

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YOUR OWN ROOM AND CELL SERVICE
We have changed our total capacity at the lodge from twelve down to eight guests. We still plan on accommodating larger intact groups of 10-12 by special request, but the norm will be eight guests per week. There are several reasons why we made the change, but primarily it will allow each guest to have their own bedroom.  We heard so many tales of guests not being able to sleep because their roommate kept them awake at night, so now your worries are over and you’ll be able to sleep to your heart’s content. We also feel that we can give more attention to the individual at our lodge with the lower capacity and be able to deliver a quality experience that exceeds all expectations. Your satisfaction has always been our utmost concern and now we’ll be able to give you even more attention than before.

We have also replaced a lot of the furniture around the lodge with plush leather armchairs and sofas that we think you’ll really enjoy. The outdoor furniture has also been replaced with cedar Adirondack chairs that will make your cocktail hour even more enjoyable as you gaze at the majestic Pioneer Mountains surrounding the lodge.  We now have Verizon cell phone service at the lodge limited to the dining room and the deck adjoining the dining room.

FRESH FACES ON THE OARS
We have a new guide in our line-up, Rudy Ketchum, whom I think will be a great addition to our team. Rudy grew up in Butte and has fly fished the Big Hole most of his life. He has an MBA and has installed healthcare software in hospitals for the past 22 years. Rudy has two sons and a daughter and looks forward to spending more time with his family and guiding our clients on the Big Hole. We also have a new guide for the Missouri River, Russ  Dobrzynski, who lives in Craig, MT and fishes and guides on the river year round.  Russ will be our Missouri River expert and loves to hunt those trophy brown trout that the river is known for. This is an overnight trip and requires advance reservations so please call us if you’re interested. The additional fee for the Missouri trip is $200 per person. My son Wade will finish law school and sit for his bar exam in late July. After what will be a much-needed vacation, he’ll return to our guide roster in late August and be with us each summer going forward.

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145% OF SNOWPACK
With all the snow we’ve been getting, the Big Hole should have great flows this summer and allow our guides to float their boats with relative ease through September. The snowpack going into March is 145% of normal which is fantastic! We still have some excellent weeks available in July, August and September that should offer some of the best fishing we’ve had in several years with the healthy flows that are predicted for the latter part of the season.

As an Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Lodge and being one of the premiere lodges offered by Frontiers Travel, we are proud to have hosted fly fishing trips for our guests for over 30 years.  Please give us a call soon and we can talk Montana trout fishing! This is shaping up to be a very special year and we don’t want you to miss it.

(406) 832-3252
info@bigholelodge.com
www.flyfishinglodge.com

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