Late July has always been a tricky month on the Big Hole. It's that time where we are somewhere between the "big stones" and trico/sprucemoths. Last week I was putting the boat in near East Bank FAS and noticed that there were dozens of stonefly shucks on the ramp. This means that our summer stones have finally arrived and it's back to the big bugs. Olive and gold chubbies have been the best on top in a size 12. For the second fly we have been throwing PMD cripples in a 16 or 14. As for the nymph fishing, I personally have not thrown a nymph for a couple weeks but my guides have reported that the Olive hot collar perdigon #18 has been the best. Al has been getting them on the soft hackles in the riffles as well.
We have been traveling quite a bit during this current hot spell. The waters in the Big Hole have been getting too hot (68) around 1-3 pm, so we have been spending time on the Blackfoot and the forks of the Flathead where the temps have been significantly lower. We are still looking for some adventurous anglers that would like to join us next summer on a fly in trip to the Middle Fork of the Flathead in the Bob Marshal wilderness.
This is the current hoot owl restrictions in our area:
Starting tomorrow 26th of July, at 2pm, hoot owl restrictions will go into effect for sections 1, 2, and 4 of the Big Hole, which means everything but Section 3 will be under hoot owl. The lower Gallatin from the Missouri to the confluence with the East Gallatin will also be under hoot owl. We’re putting a full closure on the Madison River between Ennis Lake and Warm Springs FAS. Releases from Ennis Lake have exceeded 70 degrees since July 16 and 73 degrees since July 22; that’s 24 hours, not just peak daily temperatures. The Madison downstream of Warm Springs is still cooling down at night, so the current hoot owl remains in effect.
Tight lines, and take your water temps! -GDO