Blog Posts In Travel

Best Guide On The River

Kali, the chef's Jack Russell, is out spotting fish.

Father-Daughter Fishing Trip

This week Phil, my father’s dear friend, brought his daughter, Lizzy, to the mountains of Montana.  After  a week in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, helping my Dad celebrate his 65th birthday, they stopped by the Big Hole Lodge on their way back to Aspen.  

I had the privilege of witnessing a truly special father daughter fishing trip.

Phil taught Lizzy everything she needed to know about fly casting and she picked up on it right away on the Roaring Fork and other streams in the Aspen area.  During cocktail hour at the Lodge, she caught two fish in the Home Pool on the Wise River!  The next day, we floated the Big Hole and fishing was slow, so we parked the boat in a handful of pools and worked foam lines.

As Phil sat with his hands in his lap, Lizzy worked a riffle from the front of the boat. The fish were in the top of the run, but we didn’t want to spook the possible slow-water sleeper into the riffle.  Unable to push the boat any further, I gave Lizzy an encouraging nod and said, “reach the top”.  Despite a stiff breeze, Lizzy showed no sign of apprehension.  She fired a long cast into the churning white-water drop-off and BAM!

Phil, who had up to this point remained silent, allowing Lizzy to tailor her casts to the changing winds and currents, burst into celebration and dove for the net.  It was my turn to sit back and watch.  I anchored the boat and smiled as I watched father and daughter, both grinning ear to ear, land a wild Big Hole River rainbow.

The Hatch is On!

The bugs are out from the bottom of the river all the way up to Dicky Bridge! Reports say fishing is great and fish are smacking dries.  Dad is on the river so i'll have a better report tonight.

Running From the Law Pt. 2

After Running From the Law school to the Missouri River, Tom, Paul, and I headed to the Murphy's for a healthy helping of Mrs. Murphy's famed spaghetti. It was sooooo good.

We rolled out of bed at the crack of ten and ate a leisurely breakfast the next morning, clearly attempting to prolong our study break. The river looked too good on the way home to pass up, so we didn't.

We spread out in the drizzling rain and I couldn't hear Tommy when he hooked his fish, but before I could get my line in the water I heard a victory yell from Paul.  I arrived in time to witness him fight an exceptionally acrobatic rainbow!

The growing anxiety for the week ahead drove us back to the car early, but not before we each landed a handful.

Last stop was the Missouri River Inn for a burger and slice of apple pie.  In addition to a well equipped fly shop, the restaurant boasted the world's only fly dispensing cigarette machine!

Winter in Washington

 Craig has been on the Olympic Peninsula with his lab, Gus, for the past two months chasing steelhead as they return from the ocean.  He is still unpacking in Wise River and will be editing photos soon, but I was able to grab a few he took of the area he's been exploring.

Gus loved playing in surf at the beach near the RV park:

The upper Bogachiel River and Gus:

The Hoh Rainforest:

 Morgan's Crossing on the Hoh River, a popular run with spey casters:

The Sol Duc River:


The lower Bogachiel which flows next to the RV Park where he was staying. This guy has caught 81 steelhead since last summer!


Craig fished the pool below on the Dickey River with Gus one day and a seal swam over to the bank and Gus chased it back in the water. The seals follow the steelhead up the river.

This is the estuary where the Quillayute River enters the ocean. If you catch a steelhead here, it can't get any fresher.

More to come later!

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:

Big Hole Fishing Report 4/29/11

Spring on the Big Hole River

Big Hole River Fishing Report
  • Water Flow:  1,140 cfs
  • Water Temp:  39 degrees
  • Visibility: 3 feet
  • Weather:  High 34 today, cloudy
  • Fishing:  Good!

Hatches:  The skwala hatch has been on the Big Hole for the past week. This is a shy, unusual aquatic insect in that the male doesn't have the ability to fly very much due to the shortness of its wings. Trout look for them falling off willow and tree branches.

Recommended Leader: 9ft 3x

Recommended Tippet: 3x

Best Techniques: A dry/dropper combo is working well on warmer days when the trout are more active and looking for the skwalla stone flies. Tie on a #10 skwalla dry fly and attach a #12 Kaufman mini stone fly to the bend of the hook. Since the skwalla fly doesn't fly very often, trout look for them near the bank and falling off willow branches and overhanging limbs.

Tip of the Week: Streamer fishing can be productive on warmer days in the winter. Vary the speed of your strip starting out with a long, smooth strip keeping the tip of the rod on the water. If this doesn't work, try a faster strip and/or pausing to allow the streamer to sink before continuing the fast strip. Also try a dead drift with several big mends in the line to allow your streamer to get deep. A 2X tippet is recommended for streamer fishing this time of year in a 9' length. If these techniques don't produce, tie a small #16 beadhead pheasant tail or flashback hare's ear on the bend of the streamer hook with a 5x tippet and strip very slowly through the deep pools.

7 day outlook: The weather forecast is calling for highs in the 40's with possible snow showers through the week.

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

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