Baby it’s cold outside, but if the guides stay clear the lines stay tight!
River flow: 4,300 cfs
Water Temp: 38 F
Bighorn Basin Snow Pack: 118% and rising.
Snow pack is high and although the Bighorn River Alliance is doing it’s best to promote better river management practices, Montana is having one of it’s biggest snow years on record. The Bighorn Basin snow pack is already 118% above average and the two upper Bighorn River drainages; the Shoshone and Wind ranges are averaging 133% above average snowpack. If history teaches us anything we will get substantial spring precipitation. All this could mean it’s shaping up to be another high water year very similar to last year. This is nothing to be afraid of. High water on the Bighorn always offers some extremely exciting fishing opportunities!
Nymphs: Sow Bugs, Scuds and Midges
Method: 7.5 foot 4x or stronger leader to one BB and a B 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 12-16 Orange Scud
Size 12-16 Natural Scud
Size 16-20 Black Zebra Midge
Size 16-20 Red Zebra Midge
Size 18-20 Tongue Teaser Midge
The fish are still in the deep winter holes and are likely to stay there for a while. The weather has remained chilly, but the midge fishing is good. Colder water conditions typically mean sluggish trout, but don’t let that stop you from getting out there. The trout seem to be getting bigger on the Bighorn River so keep your flies in the water.
Dry Flies: Midges
Method: 9 foot 5x leader to the top fly. 1ft or so leader to the second fly.
Size 18-20 Midge patterns
Size 18-20 Griffith’s Gnat
Size 18-20 Midge Cluster
Size 18-20 Student
Size 18-20 Adams
Cold water makes for sluggish trout, but they can’t resist a blanket hatch of midges gently stacking up on the surface. Keep your eyes fixed on the heavy seam lines in the deeper water. Trout SIP midges so give a dry fly spot some time and you might be surprised at just how many trout are actually in that spot eating dry flies.
Streamers: Working ok.
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, red and yellow
The Emerald shiner is still in play on the Bighorn River. I’ve heard reports from many folks that the same Emerald shiner patterns that were working last spring are producing big time in the deep slow holes. That means those Emerald shiners have stuck it out through the winter and trout are still looking for them. Get out there and strip!
Happy Winter Fishing from Forrester’s Bighorn River Resort!