River flow: 8,000 cfs
Water Temp: 65 F
Mountain Snow pack: 0% The snow has mostly melted
Lake Inflow: 4,700 cfs
Lake Level: Full
Nymphs: Sow bugs, worms, Sunken Trico, Orange Scud
Method: 8 foot 3x or stronger leader to one 3o 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 or orange
Size 8-10 Chenille worm
Size 14-18 Orange scud
Snow melt comes to an end and the lake level begins to stabilize. More water is released from the bottom of the lake. The water has begun to cool and clear. The nymph bite has picked up in this cool water. The Trico spinner fall has moved up in the day to 7:30am. They like an air temperature of 68 degrees F to hit the water. Fishing the deep inside seams and medium speed water is still productive. Many trout have moved into shallow riffles to eat tricos and will hold in that water throughout the day. When the fish are on Trico's it’s not uncommon for there to be a lull in the day after the spinner fall is done so pack a big lunch.
Dry Flies: Mahoganies and Tricos
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
Tricos have been active for a few weeks now. The air temperature is dropping and will remain mild for the next few weeks. With cooler air temperatures the trico spinner fall wont happen until the air temperature hits 68 degrees F which may not be until 9 in the morning. So keep an eye on the weather when planning your spinner fall fishing. I mention Mahogany spinners only because two days ago we had the most incredible Mahogany spinner fall I’ve ever seen on the Bighorn River. It lasted for 6 hours on 13 miles of river. Mahoganies are sort of a Mythical beast of Bighorn. There are very few indicators of a spinner fall and it usually only happens in isolated spots on the Bighorn. It’s truly the "in the right spot at the right time" fly. It seems that when the trico spinner fall happens the mahoganies seem to appear. So make sure you have a dozen or so Mahogany spinner patterns in your box.
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
Pay attention to the dropping water as all the soft flooded banks disappear and the Millions of baitfish hiding in them get flushed back into the main river current. It’s day-to-day as to what and where a streamer will work the best, but there are still plenty of fish crashing the surface on the edge of soft water spots. As usual hitting the banks is a good producer for trout but don’t ignore some of those 2-3 foot riffles and tail outs as the trout are still holding in these spots after eating Tricos.
Happy Fishing from Forrester’s Bighorn River Resort