Shifting to Fall on the Big Hole: Restrictions Lifted on all of Big Hole River

Notice: All of the Big Hole River is now open to fishing

The past weeks weather has made for some tough fishing conditions.  There was not a cloud in site for 4 days and the water was dropping, forcing the fish to move to different feeding lanes, making them skittish and hard to get on top.  There have been BWO’s coming off in the morning, as long as the wind does not pick up, and blow them off the water.  The conditions on the Big Hole gave me an opportunity to do a little guiding on one of my favorite fall fishing spots, the Jefferson River.  The weather was similar, but the flows were remaining steady and the fishing was better than the upper Big Hole, but not by much.  The fish on the Jefferson were eating size 18 copper johns, size 10 black girdle bugs, and silver … Continue reading

The Tides May Have Turned


Over the last couple of weeks we have battled high temperatures, bright cloudless days, smoke from local fires, and, of course, low water conditions.  I have been hoping that the temps would drop and bring rain to the valley and it looks like it is finally here.  The temp today is a high of 54 degrees in Divided and they clouds have settled in, bringing light drizzles that should turn into T-storms this evening.  The fish and the river have received a long awaited reprieve from this out-of-the-ordinary summer.

That being said, the fishing has been improving.  The browns are putting on their sexy colors and beginning to chase streamers on a regular basis.  The big fish have been on the hunt as well.   Our good friend and guide, Mark Thompson, managed to catch a client the fish of a lifetime last week coming in at 27 … Continue reading

Temporary river closure

The Big Hole will be for closed to float launches at Greenwood Flats FAS and Silver Bridge (Powerhouse FAS) on Wednesday, August 19. Wade fishing will also be restricted 1000′ feet up and down stream from Silver Bridge. The construction crew is still working on Silver Bridge; this temporary closure is due to that process. If you plan on floating below Jerry Creek, please be aware that you will need to take out at Greenwood!

We have heard from the construction crew that they are a month ahead of schedule (for now), and hope to be completed with the project in mid-September. Hopefully we can get some photos of them putting the bridge back where it belongs!

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Smoking them out on the Big Hole

IMG_0864 The last week has been very interesting for all the guides, including myself. The fish have
still been active on trico’s, but the trico’s have changed colors….several times. The spruce moth is still fluttering around, but the fish are stung and are very wary of the moth patterns. The weather has been variable. It rained, sleeted, hailed and was 85 degrees…..yesterday. The fishing has had its ups and downs, but the clouds have rolled in consistently, bringing good fishing with them. The bugs we are using have been changing from one river mile to the next. The short list for my boat is the #10 tan hopper, #8 purple hopper, #12 purple haze, #16 green quill, and #20 spent trico, the long list costs money.

Today was a very different day. This morning the valley was filled with smoke from the lightning strikes yesterday, and subsequent fires that started in the afternoon. Southwest Montana is on fire. The visibility was very low and the stench was powerful. In the past I have seen smoke help the fishing when the weather has been hot and sunny, but not today. I had two great anglers, Palmer and John, and we fished every dry fly I had in my box. The trico worked early but tailed off with the wind around 11 am. From then on it was extremely difficult to get a fish up. Some of my secret spots produced fish, but not as well as they usually do. Later in the day, as we entered the canyon stretch the fishing picked up and we whacked a few nice browns on a green lightning bug to start; then moved on to the caddis and hoppers to finish the day off. The water was low, but the Sotar was not scared and we bumped and scraped our way through a very tough day with a few nice fish and an intact boat.

I am going to take tomorrow off and have a few beers. I might fish, I might not, but what I IMG_0858will do is have Jimmy T songs stuck in my head…”I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain..” Good luck out there friends.

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Spruce Moths and new River restrictions

Kevin Warren


Spruce moth activity has been hot in the canyon, with the best fishing from Jerry Creek to Maiden Rock. We have been catching rising fish on a variety of patterns, the best being a #12 CDC Underwing Spruce Moth. Elk hair caddis and the 2Pac patterns have worked as well, #12-14. We expect to only see the moths our for a few more days, but there is really no way of knowing. The trico hatch has still been steady on most of the river. Stop in the shop to stock up on moths and grab a shuttle before you head out.

FWP announced yesterday that restrictions have been put back in place. Currently the river is under hoot-owl restrictions from Maiden Rock to the confluence with the Beaverhead. Additional restrictions are in place … Continue reading



P1050594Yesterday we had an unusual, but much welcome July rain storm. It dumped buckets all day, with temperatures barely coming out of the 40’s. There are lots of reports of snow
accumulation above 8000 ft. A couple of our clients who are here for the week opted to hit the river regardless of the weather, while some others took off to enjoy the hot springs. Those that braved the weather were well rewarded, boating lots of fish who were hungry for streamers.

Look for continued action on the streamers (olive, white, yellow, copper) as the river came up 112 cfs at Maiden Rock, and is still rising with all of the rain we received. Today is supposed to warm up to about 70 degrees, with some lingering storms clouds. Tricos, hoppers and caddis are working well for … Continue reading

Lost Wallet

A wade fisherman, fishing around Saw Log lost his wallet yesterday, July 20. He also fished at the Jerry Creek FAS.  The wallet is tan, and fell out of his pocket. If you come across it, please drop it at the fly shop. Mr. Graff is willing to offer a reward for it safe return. Thank you!

Additionally, for those of you looking for some hatches, the tricos have started hatching. We have heard they are out from Dickie Bridge clear down to Brown’s Bridge. Mid-morning has been the heaviest portion of the hatch, sometime between 10 and 11 AM, lasting until about 1 PM.  As I write this it is pouring down rain in Divide; a welcome rain, sure to add some needed water to the Big Hole. Streamer’s have also been working well during the cloud cover. We recommend copper zonkers, olive/white coneheads, and white/pearl streamers. … Continue reading

Summer time fun

The summer is rolling by quickly, a little too quick for me. I have been keeping busy with various tasks; from managing the lodge, filling in at the fly shop when needed, and recently I have been teaching a lot of horseback riding lessons for locals around town. Yesterday, I had a new first: haying. Now, I have done some farm work in the hay fields, but have generally not been given a chance to drive the machinery. Well, after some persuading, my neighbor taught me how to drive his swather. I handily mowed down all 18 acres of grass in our field, and proudly drove the swather back to its parking spot up the road. As I was pulling in, my neighbor, Ron, was standing there watching me. In the gate I went, and CRASH, there went the gate, flying off the hinges. I guess I forgot … Continue reading

Immediate Attention

I have just been notified of a proposed law concerning flats fishing in the Bahamas. There is a proposed law which would eliminate all non Bahamians from fishing without a Bahamian guide. Several of my contacts hire a guide for a couple days and then rent a boat to go out on their own as they cannot afford to hire a guide every day.

I found out the dead line for commenting on this law is tomorrow, June 26th. I also just found  out about this from my friends in Norway. It seems like they are trying to push it through quickly.

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