River flow: 2800 cfs
Water Temp: 58 F
The water temperature is dropping and the fish seem to be more active. The water clarity is down a bit making visibility approximately two feet. Seems like just as the lake started to settle it turned over with the recent cold weather and colder surface water temperatures. On the right cloudy days the dry fly fishing has been awesome and the Baetis nymph is definitely a big player sub-surface. Some fish are moving into the riffles to eat the Baetis nymphs but the majority of the fish are still hiding in the deep water.
Nymphs: Sow bugs, Baetis nymphs, Pseudo nymphs and scuds.
Method: 4-7 foot 3x or stronger leader to one BB. 1ft or so to the first fly and1ft or so to the second fly on your tippet.
Size 16-18 Tan Soft Hackle Ray Charles
Size 16-18 Gray Soft Hackle Ray Charles
Size 16-18 Carpet Sow Bug Gray and Tan
Size 14-18 Olive and Orange scuds
Size 18-22 Black Baetis Nymph
Size 16-20 Wonder Nymph (olive and black)
Size 18-22 Pseudo Nymphs
Size 16-20 Pheasant tail
The best sub-surface fly right now is some sort of Baetis nymph. Even though fish are concentrating on hatch bugs the usual Bighorn River suspects are still in the game. Fish the Orange Scud or a Sow Bug as the top fly and drop a Baetis nymph to the bottom fly. Fish the deeper water when it’s bright and sunny and the shallow riffles when the clouds roll in. The heaviest Blue Wing Olive (Baetis) activity starts around 2:00pm.
Dry Flies: Fall Baetis, trico, Pseudo’s
Method: 9-foot 5x leader to the top fly. 1ft or so leader to the second fly.
Size 14-18 Baetis Duns and Spinners (smoke jumper, cripple thor)
Size 18-20 Pseudo duns and spinners
This year the fall Baetis are enormous! They are size 14 -18 and the smaller 18’s are more than likely the tail end of the Pseudo hatch. These little sail boats are exciting to see and it opens up the dry fly box to flies you can see extremely well. The fish are eating them in the usual spots. Concentrate on the heavy riffles, but must importantly the heavy seam lines on the banks.
Colors: White, olive, black, brown, red and yellow Especially WHITE
The fall streamer bite hasn’t really kicked in yet, but there are some trout looking. Concentrate your streamer efforts in the riffles, below the shelves and the fast heavy banks.
Happy Early Fall Fishing from Forrester’s Bighorn River Resort!