Fishing Report 6/1/2018.
River flow: 7100 cfs
Water Temp: 50 F
Bighorn Basin Snow Pack: 100% and declining.
The wet spring has caused huge Yellowstone River flows and the Bighorn River dam has been pulled back for the past few days to slow the flooding on the lower Yellowstone river, but the Bighorn Reservoir has reached critical mass and the BOR will be releasing 1000 cfs per day until they reach 11,000 cfs. That’s what they say anyway. With all the rain and the cooler temperatures this spring the mountain snow pack hasn’t even started to melt. In fact it’s grown a little bit. Once the weather warms up the run off will really start ripping the Bighorn River might get a little higher. BUT DON”T PANIC! The Bighorn River fishes exceptional in high watter. The Shiner numbers are in the millions on the lake and when the minnows get washed into the river it will be a feeding frenzy for trout. Not to mention the water temperature is just right for the aquatic worms to start coming up and looking for a mate and when they do they often get swept into the fast current and trout can’t resist them. Especially the big aggressive spawning rainbows!
Nymphs: Sow Bugs, BWO Nymphs (on the right days) Worms and Shiner Minnow
Method: 9 foot 3x or stronger leader to one 3o and a BB. 1ft or so to the first fly and1ft or so to the second fly.
Size 16-18 Tan Soft Hackle Ray Charles
Size 16-18 Cotton Candy
Size 16-18 Grey Ray Charles
Size 16-20 Wonder Nymph
Size 10-14 White shiner minnow imitation
Size 2- 4 Steel worm (Orange, Red and Purple)
Size 6-8 Chenille worm (Red, wine and brown)
The fish have definitely gotten savvy on the Shiner minnow, but the worm is really starting to come into play. With the increasing flows it’s likely to for the shiner minnows to get washed over in huge numbers and when they hit the river the trout go crazy for them. The water temperature is moving up to the perfect place for the worms to start moving around on the river bottom and when they do they get flushed into the river making for some incredible san juan worm fishing. With warmer water the fish are moving into the shallow and fast riffles. This water is hard to find when the water is high but if you can identify the center river shelves you’ll identify lots of trout. Keep that tan soft hackle ray Charles handy because they seem to be eating that consistently when the trick bugs aren’t working. Think of it as an investment strategy. The tan soft hackle will produce consistently giving you an 8-10% return on your investment if you stick with it, while the worm and the shiner minnow are your Google and Apple stocks if you got in at the right time. If you fish them on the right days.
Dry Flies: Midges BWO’s
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
Size 18-20 Parachute Baetis
Size 18-20 Cripple Thor
Dry flies are tough right now there isn’t a whole lot hatching, but on the right cloudy rainy days blue wings are still hatching and trout can be found eating them in sneaky spots. Particularly seam lines.
Streamers: Shiner minnow interpretations.
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 Especially WHITE
The shiner minnow is still a big hitter on the Bighorn River and more fish will be eating them with the projected big spill overs from the dam. I saw a 25 inch 9lb brown caught today on a streamer. The big ones are out there and they are eating streamers.
Happy early summer Fishing from Forrester’s Bighorn River Resort!