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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 lightning bugs size 16.  The best time of the day seamed to be from 11 to 2, shutting down when the water was reaching peak temperature.

Unlike last week, the weather looks like it is going to be cloudy and cold for the next few days.  There is a dusting of snow on the ridge above the fly shop, but I imagine that will be gone before night fall.  The river is going to come up significantly, (it came up about 100 cfs last night) and it is tough telling how the fish are going to react.  I am going to take a gamble and head over to the Madison and Yellowstone to see if those rivers will produce in these cloudy conditions.  The streamer fishing should treat us pretty well, and if the wind doesn’t blow, the BWO’s will give us a window for the dry flies.

I wanted to give a special thanks to Jim Kroll and his crew for coming out and pushing through those tough days with smiles on their faces.  I would also like to thank Mr. Warren Hess and his good friend, Frank.  These guys all got to see the Big Hole when it was being particularly finicky, but they didn’t let the sun or the wind blow the smiles off their faces.  Thanks fellas, and I hope I get to see you again soon. Check back soon for fishing reports from the Madison and Yellowstone, and stop in the shop if you need to add some bugs to your streamer boxes.

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