State of the Bighorn – Fall ’14

State of the Bighorn – Fall ’14

September 25, 2014 7:17 am Published by Leave your thoughts

We are experiencing some ‘interesting’ water conditions on the Bighorn River right now. By interesting we mean tougher than normal fishing conditions for September.  The Afterbay reservoir has been drawn down to a minimal level in order to continue maintenance on the dam. Combined with the fall lake turnover and an abundant amount of weed growth in the river from higher than normal water temperatures, this has resulted in less than desirable conditions for the Bighorn.  Most notably, water clarity.  Here are a few questions and answers to the matters at hand:

An Empty Afterbay

An Empty Afterbay

Is the fishing still any good?  Yes, in the shallower spots (riffles, drop offs) where fish can see your flies better it has been good nymphing, good dry fly fishing (in the AM), and decent streamer fishing.

Is it me or is the boat fishing slow?  Yes, water clarity is 1′ max and the fish in deeper water are not seeing your bugs ahead of time during the drift enough to produce consistent eats.

Is there any dry fly fishing?  Yes, Tricos are still full on – and the fish are responding well to them in certain spots.  Mainly 3 mile and downstream.  Duns are on the water from about 7 AM until the spinners fall at about 10 or so. Hoppers still are no good, unfortunately.

What are our guides fishing?  Red Wire Worms, Soft Hackle Ray Charles (16-18, tan, grey), Atomic Worms, Red midge larvae (14-18), San Juan worms, Orange Scuds (8-16),  and more worms.  Notice a pattern?  Adjusting your weight and spots are more key than bug selection.  The fish are eating a good drift and a variety of bugs.

Is there still floating grass in the river?  Yes, quite a bit.  As the general rule of the past month, keep your bugs clean and you will catch fish.  It’s not any worse than we have seen in the past few weeks.

When will the water clear up?  Good question.  Word on the street is that they have a week to work on the gates, which has been going on for a few days now.  As soon as the water comes back up to normal levels in the Afterbay, we should see an improvement in water clarity. Don’t expect water clarity to improve to normal with all the weeds in the river.  Once our first real cold snap arrives expect the grass to start to die and break up. General fall turnover usually lasts 4-6 weeks.  As always, we will keep you posted.


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This post was written by Bighornangler

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