We’re in Spring mode on the Bighorn. Lots of recent precip is greening everything up and adding to our river volume as well. Current flows are right around 9,000 and we don’t see any possibility for a drop in the near future. The big runoff is still a ways out, so no telling what will happen until we see how fast the snow comes down. The water is clear, the fish are happy and the flows are good. Get to the Bighorn!
Water temps are still pretty cold (38) so nymphing has been the way to go. The streamer bite has been very hit and miss and will continue to be until temps get into the upper 40’s. The rig of choice are tandem sowbugs with the following patterns: SH Ray Charles (Pink, Tan, Grey 14-18), Firebead Sows (pink, tan 14-18), Carpet Bugs (grey 14-16) and SH Sowbugs (pink 16-18). Small midge pupa patterns dropped behind these will also work, but it’s a lot easier to hang onto fish in higher water with a bigger hook. 8-9′ to the shot from indicator and a fair amount of weight will keep you where the fish are. Look for slower insides, soft seams and any other settled water to contain the highest concentrations of fish. There is a lot of water the fish are not in right now.
For the dry fly guys (and gals) there is nothing too exciting to report. There have been some pretty heavy numbers of midges around and a few fish can be found up here and there. Yesterday we saw quite a few Baetis toward Bighorn access, so hopefully that is a sign of things to come. Like streamer fishing, we need temps to jump into the 40’s for bigger numbers of bugs and fish to start focusing on them. Maybe a week or so away…
It’s not crazy busy yet, but expect an increase of people in the next couple weeks. There aren’t really any hazards to speak of on the river. The worst obstacle right now are the Bighorn ramps. It’s not a bad idea to drive down and take a look at them if you haven’t seen them in high water. You should be on your ‘A’ game when approaching these ramps. There is no room for mistakes!
This post was written by Bighornangler