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Current river conditions on the Bighorn River, September 19,2018

Bighorn River — Currently we are facing some of the toughest fishing conditions we have seen yet this year. The Yellowtail reservoir has turned over 4-6 weeks ahead of schedule. Typically we see these river conditions in mid to late October when more guys are thinking about hunting instead of fishing. None the less flows have remained stable again this week and were at 3,008 cfs as of Monday. Flows should remain at this level for awhile. Water clarity has not improved and has gotten worse. It is presently at 1-2 feet as there is quite a lot of algae growth in the reservoir. The water temperature has remained in the mid-60s even though the reservoir is cooling off. Fishing was slow last week with the fluctuations of weather patterns and this week looks much the same. The trico hatch has ebbed and flowed this last week, mainly due to the fluctuations of the air temperatures and weather. The hatch begins before 7 a.m. and the spinner fall happens from roughly 8 a.m. till 10 a.m. on most mornings. Morning winds have been making it nearly impossible to predict good days or bad days. Best patterns have been the Trico RS2 CDC, the Trico Perfect Spinner and the Drowned Trico (all in 20). The black caddis hatch is pretty much over with little action reported. Nymph fishing continues to be slow. The only productive nymph fishing has been on fairly large Bighorn Orange Scuds (12-14) trailed by a Psuedo nymph (22).

Bighorn river conditions and fishing report for September 9, 2018

Bighorn River — Flows have remained stable again this week and were at 3,042cfs as of Monday. Flows should remain at this level for awhile. Water clarity has not improved and is still at 2-3 feet as there is quite a lot of algae growth in the reservoir. The water temperature has remained in the mid 60s even though the reservoir is cooling off. Fishing was slow last week with the fluctuations of weather patterns and this week looks much the same. The trico hatch has ebbed and flowed this last week mainly due to the fluctuations of the air temperatures and weather. The hatch begins before 7 a.m. and the spinner fall happens from roughly 8 a.m. till 10 a.m. on most mornings. Morning winds have been making it near impossible to predict good days or bad days. Best patterns have been the Trico RS2 CDC, the Trico Perfect Spinner and the Drowned Trico, all in size 20. The Black Caddis hatch is pretty much over with little action reported. Nymph fishing continues to be slow. The only productive nymph fishing has been on fairly large Bighorn Orange Scuds (12-14) trailed by a Psuedo nymph (22).

Bighorn River Conditions as of September 2nd, 2018

Bighorn River — Flows have remained stable again this week and were at 3,018 cfs as of Monday. Flows should remain at this level for a while. Water clarity has not improved and is still at 2-3 feet as there is quite a lot of algae growth in the reservoir. The water temperature has remained in the lower 60s. Fishing was slow last week with the fluctuations of weather patterns and this week looks much the same. The Trico hatch has ebbed and flowed this last week mainly due to the fluctuations of the air temperatures and weather. The hatch begins before 7 a.m. and the spinner fall happens from roughly 8 a.m. till 10 a.m. on most mornings. Morning winds have been making it near impossible to predict good days or bad days. Best patterns have been the Trico RS2 CDC, the Trico Perfect Spinner and the Drowned Trico, all in size 20. If you are going to try for hatches late in the evening, it has been best using Black Rip Cord Caddis or Black Henryville Caddis (16-18), even though this hatch is sputtering. Nymph fishing continues to be slow. The only productive nymph fishing has been on fairly large Bighorn Orange Scuds (12-14) trailed by a Psuedo nymph (22).

Bighorn River conditions as of August 1, 2018

Flows dropped last week and currently are at 4289.2 cubic feet per second. Water clarity remains the same at 6-8 feet. The water temperature has increased and is up to 61.2 degrees, which has led to some reports of a sporadic caddis hatch. We even had a few anglers last week who caught and released a few fish on hoppers, mainly using the Miller Time Hopper (8-10). Not sure if they are striking at them out of curiosity or actually seeking them out. There is currently a good trico hatch occurring in the mornings but you have to be an early riser. The dun hatch begins before 6am and the spinner fall happens from roughly 8am till 10am on most mornings. Best patterns have been the Trico RS2 CDC and the Trico Perfect Spinner in sizes 20.  If you are going to try for hatches late evening it has been best using Black Rip Cord Caddis or Black Henryville Caddis (16-18). Nymph fishing was slow last week as the trout are keying in on the Tricos and Black
Caddis. The only nymph fishing has been on fairly large Bighorn Orange Scuds sizes 12-14

Bighorn River Conditions as of July 23rd, 2018

Flows continue to drop and as of Monday were at 5074.3 cfs. Watch for possible decreases yet this week. Word has it that flows should be around the 3000 cfs area by the end of July. Water clarity remains 6-8 feet. The water temperature has increased and is up to 61 degrees, which has led to some reports of a sporadic caddis hatch. We even had a few anglers last week who caught and released a few fish on hoppers, mainly using the Miller Time Hopper sizes 8-10. Not sure if they are striking at them out of curiosity or actually seeking them out. Dry fly fishing is still slow but once the flows decrease to below 5,000 cfs it should pick up immediately. If you are going to try for hatches late evening it has been best using Black Rip Cord Caddis or Black Henryville Caddis (16-18). Nymph fishing has still been your best bet. Hot patterns include Pete’s Carpet Bug tan, Firebead Soft Hackle Sowbug tan and Firebead Soft Hackle Ray Charles tan (all in 14-16), trailed behind either orange or red Gummi (Squirmy) San Juan Worms.

Bighorn River Conditions as of July 11th, 2018

Flows have dropped considerably since last week and are currently at 6,567 cfs. Watch for possible decreases yet this week. Water clarity remains 6-8 feet. Soap Creek should not be an issue for the remainder of the summer unless we receive some thunderstorms. The water temperature has increased and is up to 58.6 degrees. Which has led to some reports of a caddis hatch here and there though sporadic. Dry fly fishing is still slow but once the flows decrease to below 5000 cfs it should pick up immediately.  Nymph fishing has still been your best bet. Hot patterns include Pete’s Carpet Bug tan, Firebead Soft Hackle Sowbug tan and Firebead Soft Hackle Ray Charles tan (all in 14-16), trailed behind either orange or red Gummi (Squirmy) San Juan Worms.

Flows were dropped over the weekend and as of Wednesday were at 11,167 cfs. Down about 3000 cfs from it’s peak. Water clarity remains 2-3 feet. Soap Creek is no longer an issue as most of the snow melt is gone and we have not had any significant precip for the last few days. The water temperature decreased a bit to 52.7 degrees. Streamer fishing still remains good. Best streamer patterns have been white/pearl Zonkers, Sherick’s Hatchery Smolt, and Foxy Fry (all in size 6). Nymph fishing has been very good as crustaceans are still being dislodged with the higher flows. Hot patterns include Pete’s Carpet Bug tan, Firebead Soft Hackle Sowbug tan and Firebead Soft Hackle Ray Charles tan (all in 14-16), trailed behind either orange or red Gummi (Squirmy) San Juan Worms.

Bighorn River Conditions as of June 22nd, 2018

Flows are currently just a bit above 14,107 cfs. Water clarity still remains 6-8 feet before Soap Creek dumps in. With the downpour we had Saturday evening Soap Creek is very high and muddy and producing quite a stain as it enters the Bighorn. Not much fishing after that. The water temperature remained at 53 degrees as more water is being released over the spillway. Dry fly fishing is non-existent with these high flows. Streamer fishing still remains good, though not as hot as last week. Best streamer patterns have been white/pearl Zonkers, Sherick’s Hatchery Smolt, and Foxy Fry (all in size 6). Nymph fishing has been very good as crustaceans are still being dislodged with the higher flows. Hot patterns include Pete’s Carpet bug tan, Firebead Soft Hackle Sowbug tan and Firebead Soft Hackle Ray Charles tan, all in sizes 14-16, trailed behind either orange or red Gummi (Squirmy) San Juan Worms.

Bighorn River Conditions and fishing report as of June 6th, 2018

Flows have been increased dramatically since last week. As of Monday flows were 11880 cfs with possible increases yet this week. Yellowtail Reservoir is filling up rapidly. Water clarity still remains 6-8 feet before Soap Creek dumps in. Water temp has jumped  to 52 degrees as more water is being released over the spillway. With these increased flows it has brought to an end any significant dry fly fishing. Streamer fishing has been exceptionally good as small emerald shiners are being washed over the spillway. Best streamer patterns have been White/Pearl Zonkers, Sherick’s Hatchery Smolt, and Foxy Fry (all in size 6).  Nymph fishing has been very good as well as crustaceans are being dislodged with the higher flows.  Either Orange Bighorn Scuds or Tan or Pink Soft Hackled Ray Charles sizes 14-16 trailed behind an Orange or Red Wire Worm sizes 4-6 have been the best bet.

Fishing is just a mirror of last week even though river conditions have changed. Due to the flooding along the Yellowstone River flows on the Bighorn were decreased to 6000 cfs last week. Water temps remain at 43 degrees. Water clarity is at least 6-8 feet to Soap Creek and then muddies up after that. Stay river left after Soap Creek and you will continue to have good fishing down to Bighorn Access. After Bighorn Access clarity gets much worse. Streamer fishing has been exceptionally good as small emerald shiners are being washed over the spillway from the reservoir. Best streamer patterns have been White/Pearl Zonkers, Sherick’s Hatchery Smolt, and Foxy Fry (all in size 6). We are still seeing good Baetis hatches on cloudy days with some midges present. For the best opportunities look for areas of slower water. For the midge hatch use a Hi-Vis Griffith’s Gnat (14-16) trailed with a gray, black or red Smokejumper (16-18). For Baetis use a Blue Winged Olive Parachute trailed by a Black Baetis Emerger (16-18). Subsurface use an orange or red Wire Worm (4-6) trailed by a beadhead black or red Midge Larvae (both in 16-18).

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