Fort Smith
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Bighorn River Conditions as of July 3,2020

Bighorn River conditons as of July 3,2020. Flows are currently at 3950CFS but stable. Quite a few increases last week which really made fishing rather tough. Water temps remain in the lower 40’s and the Rainbow spawn is coming to an end. Still nymph fishing has been fair to good depending upon the weather mostly as cool fronts move through our area. Favorite patterns have been Firebead Soft Hackle Ray Charles in Tan and Gray, sizes 14,16. Favorite trailer has been Beadhead Thread Midge Larvae in Black, Red or Cream. Also use either Skinny Nelsons or Flashback Pheasant Tail Nymphs as Baetis nymphs. All trailers in sizes 18-20. Hopper season is just around the corner as they are getting a bit bigger by the day. I predict the last two weeks of July through the first two weeks of September are going to be phenomenal Hopper fishing! Both streamer fishing and dry fly fishing have been marginal at best.

Bighorn River Conditions and Fishing Report June 18, 2020

Current Flows are 2000 CFS and water temps are in the lower 50’s. Fishing has been just fair with again nymph fishing coming out on top. Best patterns have been Beadhead Soft Hackle Sowbugs sizes 14,16 in colors of Gray or Pink trailed by a Beadhead Midge Larvae sizes 18,20 in colors Red, Black and Cream. No streamer action to speak of but there is still some sparse activity on Blue Winged Olive’s during the calm days. Good luck Fishing!

Bighorn River Conditions and Fishing Report for June 3,2020


Bighorn River Conditions and Fishing Report for June 3,2020. Current flows are at 2250 CFS with plans to be increased to 2500 CFS within a few days. When I did this video it was at 2050 CFS. Water temps are in the 56-58 degree range depending what portion of the river you are on. The Bighorn River and Montana is no longer on 14 day quarantine for nonresidents as of June 1st.. So all of Montana is now open for fishing for residents and nonresidents alike! Nymphing has presently been most successful. Better patterns have been Bighorn Orange Scuds size 14 trailed by a Black Beadhead Midge Larvae sizes 18-20. Also during certain times of the day Red Beadhead Midge Larvae sizes 18-20 and Pink Soft Hackle Sowbugs size 14 have been working as well. No reports of any good streamer fishing at this time. Dry fly fishing has been spotty with some success on Blue Winged Olives sizes 18-20 and Blue Winged Olive Emergers same sizes. All in all a very good time to be out on the water!

Bighorn River conditions as of May 21, 2020

Current flows are steady at 2000 CFS with a water temp of 50.7 degrees. Nymph fishing has been good with of course scud and sowbug imitations. Hot patterns have been the Dark Orange Bighorn Scud sizes 14-16 trailed by a UV Eddie Vedder Sowbug sizes 16-18 both Gray and Tan. With flows down not much weight is needed. Usually just one B split shot is sufficient. As for dries it’s been mostly Cluster midges, sizes 16-18 as well as Blue Winged Olives in the same sizes. Wind is the biggest factor on successful dry fly days. No wind, good day. Lots of wind, bad day.

Bighorn River Conditions and Fishing report for January 9,2020

Bighorn River flows are currently at 3140 cfs with a water temp right around 41 degrees. The trout are a bit sluggish but are taking bright colored streamers well. Try White, Yellow or Orange colored buggers in sizes 2-6. Browns are now done spawning but please stay out of the redds as these are your future fishes! Some nymphing to still be had with Orange Beadhead Soft Hackle Ray Charles in tan or gray sizes 16-18. Fairly chilly yet this week temperature wise but warmer weather is forecast for next week. Good Luck!

Bighorn River conditions as of October 13, 2019

Current flows are approximately 3200cfs with a water temp of upper 50’s Still have some grass from the river dying off and detaching as well as murky water from the reservoir as well. Visibility is limited to 18-24 ” so streamer fishing has been the better option. Zonkers in white, yellow or gray sizes 4-6 have been most productive. No hatches what so ever so no dry fly fishing to be found. Still a few takes on nymphs using brighter colored San Juan worms followed by size 14 or larger Firebead Soft Hackle Sowbug in tan or pink. Good Luck!

Bighorn River conditions as of September 19,2019

Bighorn river flows as of September 19,2019 are at 3200 cfs with a water temp of 62 degrees. Between runoff from a good rain on Tuesday (another good amount forecast for Friday) and the reservoir sending down lots of filamentaceous moss water conditions are quite cloudy. Visibility between 18-24 inches. Starting to get some pretty good amounts of grass sloughing off the bottom of the river as well with the longer nights and shorter days. Still some sporadic Trico hatches even though the fish don’t seem to be keying in on them but decent hopper fishing during the afternoons. Best patterns have been the White Cloud Hopper or Morrish Hopper in sizes 8-12, colors peach, flesh, tan or yellow. Nymphing has been fair with Firebead Soft Hackled Ray Charles trailed behind an Orange Bighorn Scud. Mostly sizes 14-16. Good luck fishing!

Bighorn River Conditions as of August 30, 2019

Current flows are at 3260 CFS with a water temp of 60.4 degrees. Water clarity is good but there is a small amount of floating grass in the river. As the amount of daylight decreases we will see this increase as the grass dies off and floats down the river. Will certainly be an issue until mid to late October. Overall fishing is good with exceptional dry fly fishing with hoppers in the afternoon and evening. Warm temps and a bit of wind help this situation each day. Best patterns have still been the White Cloud hoppers or Morrish Hoppers sizes 8-12 in colors of peach, flesh, pink or tan. Nymph fishing in the morning has been fair with the usual scud and sowbug patterns. Good Luck.

Bighorn River conditions as of August 16th, 2019

Currently flows on the Bighorn are running at around 3600cfs which is down 500 from last week. Water temp is between 57 and 59 degrees. Water conditions are quite clear with visibility 6-8 feet. Best success has been on Hopper imitations in fairly large sizes 6, 8 or 10. Best patterns have been on White Cloud Hopper, Morrish Hopper or the Grand Hopper. Colors Tan, Flesh, Pink or Yellow. Still some black caddis in the evening but the trout don’t seem to be keying in on them. Trico action in the morning has been slow but will be picking up in the next few days. Nymph are the usual Scud and Sowbug patterns. Good Luck!

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