Solid summer fishing continues on the Bighorn river, especially if an angler is to think out of the box. Early and late in the day proves to be exceptional fishing, especially on the hotter days. We are lucky to have a bottom release dam, which keep water temps cool for the remainder of the summer, unlike our neighboring rivers. Flows are stable (3,500 cfs) and should continue to drop over the next couple of weeks. Some aquatic grass is showing up providing some obstacles, but fishing remains good all the way down to Mallard’s access.
The Bighorn is becoming a fisherman’s river, meaning the better the fisherman, the higher the success rate. In short, our fishing has become a bit technical, but there are plenty of opportunities to hone your dry fly skills right now. The Black Caddis continue to dominate the dry fly scene. A few Sallies and PMDs are also around. Make sure you have plenty of CDC Caddis, Bubbleback Caddis and Hemingway Caddis. The terrestrial bite is really good and offers a good alternative for fading eyesight (you know who you are). Bloom’s Ants, CFO Ants and Foam Beetles are all great patterns to be throwing. Also, we are witnessing the first good hopper fishing of the year. It’s not lights out right now, but stick with it and you will get some good fish, plus what’s better than watching a brown come up and crush a big foam bug? Standard issue patterns (Morrish, Parachute, Rainy’s) are all working and so far PINK has been the color of choice.
The nymph game is good, but has had its challenges. Leftover grass and drifting moss are somewhat of an issue below 3 mile, so keeping your bugs clean can be a chore. The nymph bite in the morning has been fairly slow as water temps are cool, but come noon or so, our fish are definitely more willing to eat. Keep SH Rays (grey, tan 16-18), Carpet Bugs (16-18) and SH Ray Firebeads (tan, grey 16-18) as your lead bugs all day and drop an Olive PT, Poodle Sniffer or Tungteaser underneath and you should be in business. The fish are moving back into the faster shelves and sight nymphing is becoming better and better as well.
It’s hard to say what the upcoming weeks will bring, but the good news is the first of the Tan caddis have shown up and hopper fishing is just starting to kick off. Expect the Black Caddis to continue their show for the next couple of weeks as well. If you haven’t made it out to the Bighorn for your summer trip, now is a good time to do so.
Categorised in: Fishing Reports
This post was written by Bighornangler