The biggest concern anglers have had this year on the Bighorn has been the water flow. Good news for everyone is that in the past week and a half we have seen the river drop dramatically, as flows are now at 4,980 cfs. With the river now at an ideal flow, which leaves more sections of water available for wade fishing, and makes Bighorn Access much easier to put in or take out your boats. Water temperature remains to be in the high 40’s to low 50’s, and changes with the time of day, and the section of river you may be floating. Ideally if the water temp reaches to the mid to high 50s, this could mean the start of our summer hatches.
We have received reports from local anglers and guides that the weeds have become more of an issue, but at the same time are still tolerable. As the river stabilizes the weeds should settle down, and should no longer be an issue. Water clarity on the upper river is gin clear up until hitting soap creek. The dirty water coming in from soap creek has been staying on the right bank, and continues to do so throughout the lower river until hitting rotten grass, which is puking in murky water. Mallards to Two Leggins is still a couple of weeks out from clearing up. Despite having to clean your flies here and there fishing remains to be excellent, as nymph fishing has been by far the most productive method. Go to patterns consist of the Ray Charles (Pink, Tan, Grey), Firebead Sowbug, San Juan Worms, and the dreaded Wire worm for the lead flies. Trailing flies consist of both midge, and baetis patterns. Using the Wondernymph, Killer Mayfly, Quill Nymph, Juju Baetis, Cream Midge, Zebra, and Rootbeer Midge have all been rather effective.
As for all of you dry fly connoisseurs, the top water has been hit and miss. Good dry fly action can be found, especially in the early morning and late evening. Both midge and baetis seem to be the ongoing hatches, with decent baetis spinner action in the morning, and duns in the evening. There are still plenty of fish eating on top, but takes time and effort to hunt for heads throughout the day. Patterns such as the Cripple Thor, Sparkle Duns, Sipper Emerger, Dills Bwo, and the Student Emerger have been effective baetis patterns. Midge dries such as Deweys Midge, Renegade, Griffiths Gnat, and the Smoke Jumper will attract those trout looking up.
As for streamers we have received many reports that they have been working well. Remember to pound the banks hard, and switch up your retrieval speed. Patterns such as the Meat Whistle, Clouser, Sparkle Minnow, and the Squidly have been getting a good number of chases.
We feel it is important for all anglers to know that the rainbows are not yet finished with their spawn, and must stay observant when wading, in order to not stomp on the beds. When fishing side channels please refrain from fishing the visible spawning rainbows, as these fish are key to our rivers success. It is expected to catch post spawning rainbows throughout the river.
Categorised in: Fishing Reports
This post was written by Bighornangler