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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.

Big Hole Runoff, by the numbers

Big Hole River Fishing Report

  • Water Flow: 2,580 cfs
  • Water Temp: 53 degrees mid-day
  • visibility: 6 inches
  •  fishing: big shiny streamers

When I woke up this morning, NOAA was preaching doom and gloom and predicting an 8ft flood stage at Melrose by Saturday.  This would be a disaster for our Kid's Day on the Big Hole, but luckily the weather patterns have changed and so has the flood prediction.
Big Hole River Flood Prediction

Big Hole River weather report through the weekend

The weather will warm up, but not quite enough to bring the snow down with any consequence.  It looks like we are going to have high water for quite some time this year.  As I have been saying though, as long as it peaks and clears by mid June, fishing is going to be great regardless of the water level.

Big Hole River flow chart, cfs

Winter Weather Advisory: 1-2 feet of snow in the mountains

Better get the skis back out. Alex Ralston, former BHL guide, on Lost Trail Pass

Big Hole River Fishing Report 4/10/11

  • Water Flow: 2,830 cfs and rising
  • Water Temp: 42 degrees
  • Visibility: 6-8 inches
  • Fishing: Catch up on housework for a few days

Big Hole River Fishing Report 4/9/11

  • Water Flow: 2,330 cfs and rising
  • Water Temp: 45 degrees
  • Visibility: 6-8 inches
  • Fishing: Catch up on housework for a few days
  • Weather:

A couple of links you ought to check out:

Big Hole River:

  • Water Flow: 1,210 cfs
  • Water temp: 40 degrees
  • Visibility: 2 feet
  • Fishing: Good!  The temps are supposed to reach the mid-sixties today which may bring down some meadow snow in the upper valley, the water may discolor over the weekend, but I wouldn't be afraid of fishing big stone fly nymphs.

And now a couple of links you might enjoy:

A man catches a fish of a lifetime on the Missouri River yesterday:  Monster Rainbow

Orvisnews.com interviewed me for Trout Bum of the Week:  Orvis Trout Bum

May 2-8 Fishing Outlook, Big Hole & Beaverhead

Big Hole Fishing Report

  • Water Flow: 909 cfs
  • Water Temp: 46
  • Visibility: clear
  • Fishing:  Good, on nymphs and streamers in the morning.  Skwala's and small dries in the slower water when the water warms up

Beaverhead Fishing Report

  • Water Flow: 424 cfs
  • Visibility: clear
  • Fishing: excellent on blue winged olives in the afternoon.  Nymphs in the AM, streamers in the cloudy weather.

Weather report:  Mostly sunny and in the high 40's to low 50's throughout the week.

Keep your eye out for the Mother's Day Caddis Hatch.......

Big Browns on the Big Hole River: no better way to spend a day off

snow on car in wise river

Yeah, yesterday was a good day! I've been itching to get my boat in the water to check things out before guiding begins and it just so happened that our website designer was going to be in the area fishing with a friend.  The valley had a fresh coat of snow and the sun was shining when I met David Thompson and Bryan Ulring at the Wis River Club.  These boys don't get out to fish as much as they'd like and they wore their excitement on their faces.  David founded and runs Brickhouse Creative, the company currently designing our new website, and Bryan manages the J bar L Ranch near Twin Bridges.  This was a rare day off and they were determined to enjoy every minute, and I was happy to be a part of it.

The put-in was jammed with ice and 10:00 am proved too early to launch.  We all agreed we should have had a bloody at the Club and let things warm up.  We were in no hurry and extremely glad to be back on the river.  A quick inventory of the cooler contents revealed stores of jerky from Bryan's ranch, bags of meats, cheeses, and chips, and a case of local beer. Life was good.  We cracked a beer around 11:00 and once that fish call echoed through the crisp morning, it was on! In fact, each time we popped open a double hopped golden lager a big brown would chomp our fly:

big hole river brownie

smiles all around

smiles all around

We caught hundreds of inches of fish, froze our fingers off, tried to drown the guide, told great stories and shared a lot of laughs! A big thank you to my hearty companions for braving the weather, bringing the grub, and kicking off the 2011 season in style.   Keep an eye out next week for David's photos and video from the day on our new website.   In the meantime,  I highly recommend getting out on the river with some big ugly bugs!

Weekend Warriors, this is your time

Big Hole River Fishing Report

  • Water Flow:  1,140 cfs
  • Water Temp:  39 degrees
  • Visibility: 3 feet
  • Weather:  High 34 today, cloudy

The warm weather last week brought the water up and discolored it a bit, but as you can see from the chart below the cold weather this week has halted the snow melt.  I expect this even plateau in cubic feet per second to continue through the weekend.  It's going to be cold today but it will warm up to the 40's and 50's Saturday and Sunday.

Because the water got so cold last night, fishing will start later today.  I recommend skwala nymphs and streamers in the morning when the water is cold and skwala dries in the afternoon as it warms up.  Fishing has been hot this week so get out there!

Skwala pattern

Hit this window before the run-off!

Big Hole River Fishing Report:

  • Water Flow: 1,120 cfs
  • Temperature:  47 degrees
  • Visibility:  2-3 feet
  • Bugs:  fish are looking for skwalas, streamers, and small dries when the sun is out.
  • Weather Forecast:  Thurs- 42 degrees and snow showers.   Fri- 36 degrees, windy and snow showers.  Sat- 45 degrees and partly sunny.  Sun- 50 degrees and mostly sunny

Bucknell grads, Dan and Chris, eager to get after it

The snow in the upper Big Hole Valley hasn't even come out of the meadows yet.  The meadow snow, or low snow as it is referred to around here, is typically gone by the end of April and we have a nice window for fishing until the warm spring temps bring down the high snow.

This year we are experiencing a late winter and a cool spring is likely.  One or two warm days will bring that remaining low snow out and the river will be off-color but most likely fishable.  When the temps reach 60 and 70, usually in early May, this winter's huge snowpack will begin to release and the river will be high and muddy for a week or two.  I expect high water to last well into June but as long as the water clears this is ok for fishing.   In the world of fly fishing there is always something to complain about but we would much rather have the problem of too much water than too little.  This year will be great for the health of the watershed.

Get out there with big ugly bugs in the inclement weather this week and tie on a  little dry fly when the temps hit the upper 40's and 50's this weekend.  Enjoy it while you can!

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