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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).

Bighorn River — Flows were increased a bit last week to 7984 CFS. Water temps warming up a bit as well to 43 degrees. Water clarity at least 6-8 feet down to Bighorn Access. A few of our guides have been fishing all the way down to Mallards Landing. Streamer fishing has been exceptionally good as small emerald shiners are being washed over the spillway from the reservoir and are dazed as they are washed into the river. 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). — Bighorn Fly and Tackle Shop, Fort Smith. 

Bighorn River conditions and Fishing report

Water conditions continue to greatly improve as Soap Creek has cleared up immensely. Visibility is 6-8 feet even after Soap Creek dumps in. Flows are still stable at 7,500 cfs with a water temp warming up to 41 degrees as of Monday. Streamer fishing has been exceptionally good as small Emerald Shiners are being washed over the spillway from the reservoir and are dazed as they are washed into the river. Best streamer patterns have been White/Pearl Zonkers, White Floating Gurglers, and Hot Spot White Buggers all in sizes 6. We are still seeing good Baetis hatches on cloudy days with some midges present. For best opportunities look for areas of slower water, like back channels, inside corners and the ends of islands. For the midge hatch use a Griffith’s Gnat (14-16) trailed with a gray or black 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).

Bighorn River conditions and fishing report as of April 30, 2018

Not much change from last week other than the uptick of streamer fishing. Current flows remain steady at 7,500 cfs with a water temp of 36 degrees. Soap Creek is still kicking in quite a bit of dirty water and will probably remain the same for a few weeks as the low land snow melts. Then we also had the addition of close to an inch of rain early this week. So stay river left after it dumps in just a couple of miles above Bighorn Access. Dry fly fishing is very good even with the higher than normal flows. Lots of midges and Baetis are present so look for areas of slower water, as in back channels, inside corners and ends of islands. For best results use a Griffith’s Gnat or Cluster Midge (14-16) trailed with a Gray, Black or Red  Smokejumper (16-18). Subsurface use a Red or Orange Wire Worm (4-6) trailed by a  Beadhead  Midge Larvae in Red, Black or Rootbeer (16-18). Good streamer fishing has been reported with white being the hot color. Best pattern White Zonkers, sizes 4-6

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Bighorn Fly & Tackle

BIGHORN FLY & TACKLE SHOP

Duane Schreiner
Ft Smith, Montana 59035

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61 First Street East
Ft. Smith, MT 59035

Toll Free (888) 665-1321
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