11 August 2011

Big Hole River Trout Fishing: red hot on dry flies

I like to fly fish and do it often around my home in southwest Montana. From ice-out in March on the Jefferson River, to brook trout creeks in May, to halcyon dry fly August days on the Big Hole River--it's all good. Probably if you asked me at any moment while fishing, I'd tell you that NOW is the very best time to be casting a fly upon the water. The past few mornings on the canyon reach of the Big Hole River have been incredible: from 9 a.m. to noon, the trout are looking up (i.e. taking dry flies).

Brown trout like this are taking spruce moths and large fluttering caddis. Size 10-12 Elk Hair Caddis or Stimulators will do the job:

Rainbow trout tend not to be so selective, feeding on the smaller caddis (I like #16 or even 18 Goddards) as well as larger bugs. Also, as the sun gets high and the brown trout action tapers off, the (generally smaller) rainbows still feed greedily:

I'm the first to recognize it and my fishing friends will attest to the fact that I am a mediocre caster. I overcome this, in part, by using a leader of 11+ feet including a 5X or even 6X tippet of 2 feet or so--this allows for lots of slack near the fly, and hence a more drag-free drift of the fly.  Keeping hooks VERY sharp (I carry a little diamond stick) also helps make your fly "sticky."

While fishing, be sure to look up once in awhile. Otters, mink, beaver, and other wildlife such as pronghorn antelope and mule deer are common where I fish. Here's a mulie fawn with ears nearly as big as it is:

And here's a herd of pronghorn does and fawn feeding in a hayfield near the river:

Sadly, MollyTheDog is out of action for a few weeks when it comes to fishing or hiking. She cut her foot badly while running behind our house--requiring stitches and a cumbersome bandage. Sad puppy:

Tight Lines!

Like any river, if you're new to the Big Hole you probably need some guidance. Stop in and see Al Lefor at Great Divide Outfitters near "Silver Bridge"--he'll have the flies & advice you need, and offers guiding service too.
871 Pumphouse Road
Divide, MT 59727
Phone: 406-267-3346


Should Fish More said...

Nice pics, Pat. I just got back from M#@$%^$#@ creek, near Orvando. Really good for Cutts. I've been all over so far this summer, Centennial valley, Y-stone, Glacier...I'm heading to my old home town tomorrow, Bend. Might fish the upper Deschutes, just for nostalgia.
When do you leave for the mysterious East?

secret agent woman said...

Aw, poor Molly!

BLD in MT said...

Awww....and poor Molly looks so sad.... I hope her paw mends up quickly and she can get back out there with you.

Rocky said...

Fishing looks good up on the Big Hole...

I was lucky enough to put a few flies on the waters of the Little Popo Agie down in Wyoming a week ago. It is true: a day of fishing is better any day in the office!

Max said...

Beautiful brown. I missed my chance to catch one on a rare Big Hole trip this weekend. I guess my #16 caddis were large enough for rainbows but too small for browns.

Merri said...

that's IT! i'm going fly fishing THIS WEEK! I am ashamed to say I've had this fly rod for... well, a very long time and I have yet to crack it open. THIS WEEK!
(poor Molly!)
- The Equestrian Vagabond

Judy said...

Hugs to poor Molly!!

~ Sheepheads said...

Sorry to read about MTD.

Sure she will be back at it soon though.

Janie said...

When I see your fishing posts, I think of A River Runs Through It.
Poor MTD. She looks very sad with her bandaged foot. I hope she's healed and back on the trail soon.