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Anticipation of the big bugs

Early June is here, and both locals and those from afar are chattering about Salmonflies (Pteronarcys californica). Water temperatures have been hitting the magic number (mid fifties) where we begin to see the salmon fly nymphs move towards the bank for their annual emergence. These big stoneflies sure are fun to watch on an annual basis, and even more fun to see become a suitable snack for hungry trout. Our friend Brian Wheeler, with the Big Hole River Foundation, wrote a very informative piece about these bugs, Check it out here. And be sure to support the very important work these folks are doing to conserve and protect the Big Hole River.

Over the weekend we started to see salmon fly nymphs move towards the bank, and anticipate we will see adults anytime in the coming days. The weather looks favorable for a good hatch this year; most people will likely recall the nasty snowstorms that have knocked the big bugs down in the past few years. River flows still remain slightly below normal, which should make for a little easier fishing with large dry flies. Currently we are having success with stone fly nymph patterns (Pats Rubber Leg, Stonefly Candy, Prince Nymph #8/10), red worms, dark buggers and streamers (olive zirdles, black wooly bugger, yuk bug), and occasionally finding some fish rising to large caddis patterns such as #12 Twisted Baby Tan/Brn, PMX and Sparkle Bugs.

With the anticipation and excitement anglers build for this hatch, please remember to respect fellow river users, and the areas you use to access the Big Hole. Parking areas will be full, boat ramps will be busy. Park smartly to minimize hassle in the parking lots. Drive with care on the busy roads. Be respectful to other people who are floating or wade fishing. Lastly and perhaps most importantly, lets be sure to take care of the fish and the habitat that keep us all flocking here year after year. Keep the fish wet and minimize air exposure while you are releasing them. Bring fish to the net quickly. If you are spin fishing, replace treble hooks with a single hook.

Cheers to all!


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