Early May Bighorn River Report

Early May Bighorn River Report

May 6, 2018 5:37 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The river has been fishing quite different than most visiting anglers are used to.  Many people who are used to fishing the textbook wade spots are not doing as well.  The river and fish are in great shape, but the Bighorn is fishing more like a normal river vs. the sit in one hole and catch fish all day of the past. It’s not the worst idea right now to our one of our knowledgeable guides to show you some tricks and techniques to catch the Bighorn fish. 

charlie brown

Charlie with a nice minnow fed brown

We are seeing the start of the infamous ‘Bighorn Shiner hatch’ right now on the upper 5 miles or so of the River.  The fish have absolutely been gorging on the minnows early and late in the day.  There are quite a few more people on the river in the evenings, but for good reason.

With the influx of minnows, the streamer fishing keeps getting better and better.  Any smaller, baitfish type patterns in white or grey are your best options.  Fishing a dry line is the best way to go now as the fish are feeding on or near the surface.


Stomach sample of a fish on the upper river.

Our dry fly window has been quite limited.  The cloudy days are definitely your best option, but the fish are feeding in just a few spots.  Piles of midges as well as Baetis in the afternoons are the main game still.

Nymphing is still productive, although a bit spotty in the morning hours.  Sowbugs, Midges, Baetis and a few worms are showing up in most fish right now.  We are still doing well on the ‘pink themed’ bugs – Pink Crush, Cotton Candy, Pink Softhackles. Many fish are moving into faster bank seams and skinnier riffles with the slight bump in water temp.  

The river is going to be stable @ 7500 cfs for the foreseeable future.  Lake levels look great for plenty of water storage, so as of now it looks like we’re going to dodge the high water bullet.


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This post was written by Bighornangler

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