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Bighorn River Fishing Update April 16

Big Brown on a little LBF. Photo – John Sindland

Recent colder weather reminds us that Spring in Montana can be cruel.  It also can result in great fishing, which is where things are headed.  The Spring Baetis are slowly growing in numbers and along with prevalent Midge hatches, it’s getting closer to one of our favorite dry fly seasons of the year.  Bighorn River flows are now up at 2750 CFS, which cooled the water temp a bit, and if anything, shortened the feeding window during the day.  We’ll see what this additional precip does to the river, but a bit more water isn’t a bad thing this time of year!

This past week has been perfect weather for finding a few fish up on the surface.  The colder, the better!  At least the wind has stayed down a bit as well.  The upper 3 remains your best bet for finding some fish looking up.  Expect the Baetis to get thicker and thicker each week.

Nymphing is still very solid throughout the entire river.  As the fish get a bit more Spring pressure, we’ve noticed they have become a little more selective, so scaling down your Sowbug patterns and focusing on specific Midge and Baetis nymphs seems to work well.  Make sure you have some of our new LBF’s, Mac Grubers and Graveyard Midges in your box.

The streamer bite has been decent, but not on yet.  Most of the fish are still in the mid river troughs, so keep your sink tips on a bit longer.  The small setback in water temps from rising flows will delay this a bit, but shouldn’t be much longer til’ it’s good!