Get your rods and waders out from winter storage and head on over to the Bighorn, as the weather here has been nothing but fantastic. With the wind and warm weather working together the snow is nearly melted, which has caused some runoff from other small creeks nearby. The water clarity is rather good on the upper thirteen, until reaching soap creek which has been flowing in some murky water. The water clarity from bighorn access all the way to mallards is not terrible, and could in other words be described as “slightly cloudy”, but fishing well. If you are looking to fish the lower section of the river from Mallards to Two Leggins, we would just suggest that you float the upper thirteen. The weather for the end of this week is is expected to drop down into the mid 30s and high 20’s for a short period of time, but should pick back later in the next week.
The water flows have remained relatively consistent throughout the winter, and according to the USGS Current Conditions for Montana the Bighorn is now flowing at 2,520 cfs. The water is cold, and the grass problem is no longer an issue which is good news when throwing both streamers and nymphs. There are still a few bits of grass, but not enough to affect your drift and have you to continually clean off your flies. Nymph Fishing has been strong and still continues to be the go to method for anglers this time of year. Patterns such as the ray charles in both firebead and original have been very productive. Colors such as pink, grey, and tan are all working well. Midges remain to be the dominant hatch with patterns such as the zebra, rootbeer midge, red midge larva, and cream have been the go to flies trailed behind either a sow bug, or scud. Baetis have been non existent, but with the warmer weather and spring approaching we hope see a spike in their activity.
As for dry flies there has been a fair amount of midges hatching, but the wind has been a constant issue. The days with very little to no wind the dry fly action has been pretty decent. Such patterns as the griffiths gnat, cdc transitional midge, and a smoke jumper midge have been working well. Even though this may put the fear upon many anglers, a size 20-24 adams can be a great pattern once they begin feeding more than one at a time. On the warmer days fish have moved into the shallows, so keep an open eye for trout keying in on small midges. Light tippet and a clean presentation is the key.
The most common question we have been getting asked here at the shop has been concerning the streamer bite. To keep in plain and simple streamers have been turning plenty of heads. Our go to patterns have been consisting of zonkers, conehead buggers, and many articulated patterns. Experiment with a range of different colors such as natural, white, and ginger, as they have been grabbing the attention of many fish. To get the best results change colors frequently, as one may be better than the other as the day progresses. Having a mixture of colors is not a bad option such as black and red, and yellow and brown.
Patterns to Consider
Nymphs: Firebead Soft hackle Rays (Grey, Pink, Natural 14,16), small blood worm or annelid patterns (16-20), Black Beauty emergers (18-20), Zebra Midge (18-20), Red Midge Larva (18-20), RS2 (grey, black 18-20), Soft hackle sowbugs (Pink 14-18)
Dries: BA Zonker (white, olive), Sparkle Minnow Sculpin (6), Squidly, Zonkers (white, natural), Clouser (6), standard wooly bugger(4-6)
Streamers: Smokejumper Midge (20-22), Micro Wulff Cripple (18-20), CDC Transitional Midge (20), Twilight Midge (18-20), Smokejumper BWO (20-22), Parachute Adams (18-22, even 24 if you dare)
Categorised in: Fishing Reports
This post was written by Bighornangler