We are in ‘transition’ here on the Bighorn. Hatches from late spring have waned and we are looking forward to yellow bugs (PMD’s, Yellow Sallies) in the future. Flows are down from the 8,000’s to roughly 3,000 in a matter of a couple weeks. Luckily, the river should be stable for a while.
A common occurrence this time of year is river bottom moss. Every June we experience the overgrowth of this moss resulting in frustrating fishing for some. This past week we have experienced some of the worst moss we have seen this season as flows were dropped suddenly and coupled with warmer water temps created tough conditions on a good portion of the river. However, the grass will soon start growing over existing vegetation resulting in less drifting moss. And the fishing? It’s still the Bighorn and with a little extra fly maintenance, you will still be into plenty of fish.
Nymphing continues to be mainstay for the past week. Hatch bugs such as Midges and Baetis have been less abundant than in the past. Stomach samples have mainly yielded Sowbugs, Scuds and a few worms. Our most popular patterns include Soft Hackle Ray Charles (Grey, Tan 14-18), Epoxyback Sowbug (Grey, Tan 14-16), Wire worm (Red 4-6), Micro San Juan (Red, Red/brown 12-14), Cream Zebra (18-20) and Palmer’s Midge (black 18-20). Remember to lighten your rig up as flows have dropped. In most cases we are using 0 or 2 shot and at least 7′ of leader or so.
The Streamer bite has been very good lately with warmer water temps making the fish more willing to grab them. You can fish without a tip for the most part to keep out of the excess of drifting moss. The fish have been partial to brighter patterns including White Krystal buggers, Sparkle minnows (Sculpin) and White/grey Clousers. Change up colors and experiment, especially on the cloudy days where a darker color sometimes will produce better. Be wise on pattern selections as patterns with barbell eyes tend to pick up more moss vs. those with a conehead.
We are a couple weeks away from any consistent dry fly fishing. The fish that have been up are eating the random Midge or Baetis. Terrestrial fishing with ants and beetles is a steady producer. We have seen a couple PMD’s, but based on past years, we are still a bit out. We will keep you posted…
Categorised in: Fishing Reports
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