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Bighorn River Update August 15

The Bighorn is fishing pretty damn good out there folks.  Don’t need to take our word for it.  Had three clients over the last week come in and tell us it’s the best fishing they’ve ever had.  There’s good reason for that, a smorgasbord of food out there right now…Hoppers, PMDs, yellow sallies, and caddis.

There are a lot of hoppers on the water but the fish aren’t blowing up on them like they were.  Since the PMD’s started up the fish have keyed in on them and generally ignoring everything else.  If you stick with hoppers you will be rewarded for sure and would not write them off for the season, but catch rates are lower from where we were a couple weeks ago.  Some yellow sallies around and fish are eating them.  The Black Caddis are building in strength and starting to come off in good numbers.   With the PMD hatch beginning to wane, we’re just starting to see some fish switch over to the caddis.  The most consistent dry fly activity has still been from 1 PM on till dark.

The rising fish we encounter have been pretty wary, both selective and spooky.  However, these fish are mainly in the 18-20″ range, so big fish don’t get big for being dumb. The standard technical fare doesn’t seem to be getting the job done.  Even the techy CDC patterns that look exactly like what is on the water are getting completely ignored, but the fish keep coming up and eating anyway.  Part of this is because the PMDs are so varied right now.  Some are big yellow duns, others small darker almost beatis looking duns, rusty color, sulfur colored emergers, cripples and knocked down duns, spinners…..the hatch is covering a wide spectrum.  You’ll need to watch very carefully to get a sense of what that specific fish is targeting and get creative, tie on some different stuff.  Try your favorite emerger or floating nymph pattern that will sit partly or fully under the film, or something completely different that looks nothing like what they are eating.  We’re noticing a pile of spinners throughout the day, so having various sizes and patterns in pale yellow and rust are a must.

The nymph fishing continues to be pretty hot generally and definitely in the right spots.  Nothing much has changed there.  More fish on the upper stretches, fewer but plenty of fish in the lower stretch.  Fish in the lower stretches generally larger and rip when hooked.  The fish are just gorging right now and there are some pretty scary big ones out there.  Split back PMDs, Flashback PT, Tan sow bugs, Pete’s Carpet bug in the 14-18 range all still working well.   Caddis pupa such as the Poodle Sniffer and Hare’s Ear variations are good to have too.

Overall, we’re all very pleased with what the Bighorn is serving up these days.  We’re headed in the right direction with numbers of fish and variety.  If you like big, strong fish that test your fishing ability, this is the place to be right now!