River flow: 3,300 cfs
Water Temp: 64 F
Mountain Snow pack: 0% The snow is gone
Lake Inflow: 3,780 cfs
Lake Level: On target for normal
Nymphs: Sow Bugs, Worms, Sunken Trico, Pseudo Nymph
Method: 7.5 foot 4x or stronger leader to one BB split shot. 1ft or so to the first fly and1ft or so to the second fly.
Size 14-18 Grey Ray Charles
Size 14-18 Tan Ray Charles
Size 18 -20 Sunken Trico imitations
Size 4-6 Steel worms. Red, orange or purple
Size 8-10 Chenille worm. Red, orange, purple or two tone.
Size 18-20 Pseudo nymphs. Yellow, light green and burnt pink.
The Bighorn River is finally back to it’s “normal” summer flows and has been for about a week. Nymphing can be tough if there’s a big Trico Spinner fall that trout key into. They will literally fill themselves on these tiny mayflies. I call it the Trico hangover. Fish can still be caught in the afternoons by fishing one of two methods; A short leader to the bank with a sunken trico or pseudo spinner. Or fishing traditional deep slow water with the other nymphs listed above. Don’t ask me why the water temperature is so high and fish are in slow spring water, but they are.
Dry Flies: Mahoganies, Tricos and Pseudo patterns.
Method: 9 foot 5x leader to the top fly. 1ft or so leader to the second fly.
Size 12-14 Mahogany spinners
Size 16-20 Trico spinner
Size 16-20 Trico duns
Size 18-20 Pseudo duns
Size 18-20 pseudo spinners
It’s forest fire season in Montana and sometimes the smoke haze fills the Bighorn River Valley. The smoke acts as clouds and the fish will often times eat on the surface better on a these hazy days. Fish are still on Trico spinners in the morning. On average the Trico spinner fall has started between 7am and 8am and can last as long as 4 hours. Sometimes Pseudo spinners will mix in with the Trico spinners, but mostly the pseudo spinners can be found in the late morning early afternoon. If you get into a spot that doesn’t get hammered to hard in the morning you can switch gears and fish pseudos’ well after the trico spinner fall has finished. Always, always, always be on the look out for Mahogany spinners as they are a very delightful surprise on the Bighorn River.
Streamers: Little shiner minnows and spawned rainbow, whitefish, sucker and carp minnows.
Method: 4-6 foot 0x or stronger leader to your first fly and 1-2 feet to your bottom fly.
Colors: White, olive, black, brown and yellow
The streamer bite has slowed down. The shiner minnows are primarily gone from the trout water on the upper Bighorn and fish are more interested in Tricos. However if you pay attention to the bigger deep holes and calm water spots you can often find fish crashing on the surface chasing bait fish. It’s worth it to stop in and try some different streamer’s to see if you can hook a few fish. Remember it’s forrest fire season and smoke can fill the valley this time of year producing cloud cover conditions. Fish always eat streamers better on cloudy and hazy days.
Happy Fishing from Forrester’s Bighorn River Resort