First of May Bighorn River Report

Spring is crawling in slowly to our region.  Water temps are still well below where they normally are for this time of year, but we don’t have the higher flows (8K +) we saw the previous few Springs, so it’s a bit of a tradeoff. Overall fishing has been a bit off and on. The weather has a big factor in how the fish are behaving.  Windy sunny days have been tough with high pressure, but if you can find a nice calm, cloudy day, the fish seem to be more willing to participate.  It’s officially ‘Busy Season’ as well on the river, so don’t expect to have a lot of solitude unless you go down low.

With the cold water temps our fish are still stuck in middle river ‘buckets’ and many of them just outside the wade boxes.  Deep nymph rigs are the way to go for the most part and the patterns we’ve been fishing all Spring are still the bugs to have: Jellybeans, Carpet Bugs, Eddie Vedders, Cotton Candy, LBF’s, JuJu Baetis, etc..  There haven’t been too many ‘secret’ patterns, but finding the fish is the most important part of the puzzle.

Good numbers of Baetis are around in the afternoons.  The Upper 3 remains the most consistent for finding fish on the surface.  As stated above, cloudy, overcast days are the ticket, they don’t seem to like the sun much!  Some fish prefer the techy CDC style patterns, while others will smash a Para Adams.  Make sure you have a wide variety!

Streamer fishing is still pretty tough.  Water temp is key! Until we see it get towards the mid 40’s, it will continue to be a battle.

We have no word on when we might see higher flows in the future, but the high elevation snow is melting at a glacial pace.  In other words, we’re looking at good stable flows for the upcoming weeks!