The late fall early winter scenery on the Bighorn River is unlike any other in the world. The warm waters of the Bighorn River, combined with the cool air temperatures cause a mist that covers the trees and bushes with frost. It creates the perfect winter wonderland. It also creates the perfect waterfowl hunting and fishing scenario.
The Bighorn River is a dam-released river that starts in Fort Smith, Montana and flows to Custer, Montana where it enters the Yellowstone River. The river is situated perfectly on the Western edge of the central fly-away just off the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains. As a tail-water it releases at 40-50 degrees all winter long, making it a hot tub for migrating waterfowl. Cereal grains are planted on both sides of the river. The valley grows sugar beats, corn, alfalfa, millet, sunflowers and soybeans. Once the ducks and geese arrive they usually don’t leave. The waterfowl hunting is second to none and the fishing, even better!
Late fall and early winter fishing is incredible on the Bighorn River. The Brown Trout are spawning, the water is clear, and the dry fly hatches are incredible. Blue Wing Olive and Midge Hatches happen daily. The aggressive Brown Trout are eating anything that comes near the trout bed and the floating grass/moss has vanished until spring. The big hungry Rainbows have moved in below the spawning beds to prey on the Brown Trout eggs and make themselves very easy to catch.
A typical Waterfowl Cast & Blast experience at Forrester’s Bighorn River Resort begins with breakfast in the Lodge followed by guide introductions. This is where clients will learn the day’s plan and how best to prepare for it. The first part of the day is a float down the gorgeous Bighorn River to a pre-built blind. Clients enjoy coffee and a morning snack while they get comfortable in the blind. Our professional guides bring chairs, dogs, decoys, heaters and duck calls. We try to be setup before shooting light so we can catch the magic hour, but the duck and goose hunting is so good, that good hunting doesn’t end in the morning. It goes all day long. The limit in Montana (as of 2018) is 6 ducks and 5 geese per day. After the morning hunt, clients enjoy the incredible fishing on the way to the ramp. Guides will take care of cleaning all the birds and package them however you like.
In the evening, Forrester’s Bighorn River Resort offers delectable Hors’ D Oeuvres next to the open fire in the Lodge. Hors’ D Oeuvres are followed by an exquisite dinner in the dinning room overlooking the Bighorn River Valley. Chef Frank Kerstetter offers world-class cuisine in a beautifully rustic Montana setting. After bellies are stuffed, clients have the choice of retiring to their own private cabin or the cozy Loft. The Loft offers a 50 inch screen TV to watch the game, a card table for your favorite game of chance, cozy leather furniture and fully stocked NA bar with ice.
Things to bring on a Waterfowl Cast and Blast Trip
- Waders (we can supply if you can’t)
- Fly Rod (we can supply we can supply if you can’t)
- 12 Gauge shot gun (we can supply if you can’t)
- Size 4-5 steel or non-toxic shot (we can supply if you can’t)
- Warm socks
- Warm under layers
- Warm waterproof jacket
- Warm hat
- Warm gloves (preferably shooting gloves.We have some for sale)
- Blind bag to keep your belongings in while your in the blind
We’ll do our best to make sure you stay cozy in the blind. Our professional guides will bring heaters for each client and hot coffee, but it’s the client’s responsibility to bring warm clothes that will handle the cold hunting conditions. We sometimes hunt when it’s near 0 outside and believe us those are the days you want to be out there shooting. The Waterfowl fly the best when it’s cold. We aim to have the hunting be so good that you can keep your hands warm on the gun barrel.
The most common types of waterfowl that we hunt:
- Mallard ducks
- Widgeon ducks
- Gadwall ducks
- Wood duck
- Blue Wing Teal ducks
- Green Wing Teal ducks
- Red Head ducks
- Golden Eye ducks
- Blue Bill ducks (not many around)
- Pintail Ducks (early in the season)
- Greater Canada Goose
- Lesser Canada Goose
- Snow Geese (early in the season)
We’ve seen almost every type of duck come to the Bighorn River, but the ones listed above are the most common.
The Bighorn River is second to none for a true Waterfowl Cast & Blast experience. Forrester’s Bighorn River Resort has all the resources to make sure you have the time of your life. Come see us and explore the amazing hunting and fishing opportunities Southeast Montana has to offer.