The Bighorn has Opened!

The Bighorn has Opened!

May 6, 2020 8:34 pm Published by 6 Comments

Hey guys, sorry for the delay.  Our blog was down for almost a week, but hopefully most of you follow us on Instagram or Facebook, where I’ve been posting updates.

So, finally good news!  Today the barriers were removed at Afterbay and Three Mile access points.  Ok-A-Beh is still closed as well as the campgrounds.  We’re hoping those lift soon.  Also, for our out-of-State friends, the Montana mandated 14 day quarantine is still in effect.  We’re not quite sure when it will lift, but rumors say end of month(ish)..

We’ve been waiting and waiting for the upper access points to be lifted, so today Bryen and I got our crap together as fast as we could and set out to fish the upper (A to 3).  Right out of the gate the fish were eating, and eating well!  We saw plenty of browns in the 15-18″ range and a few rainbows mixed in as well.  The spawn for those guys seems to be just getting going, so they probably aren’t thinking about eating bugs… Our best rig by far was a Cotton Candy (14) with a Jellybean (18) behind.  The fish were in just about every slot we thought they’d be.  I’d definitely have some Baetis nymphs and Midges on hand as well.

The peak of the day was the great dry fly session we had from about 11-1.  It would’ve held out longer, but the clouds parted and the wind kicked up a couple notches. Great numbers of Baetis and Midges had fish up in most of the usual spots.  They were a bit selective, but our Smokejumpers and Cripple Thors were the ticket.  It looks like we’ll have some serious wind the next few days, which never helps, but we’re looking forward to our next opportunity of good weather.

The water looks great so far.  Flows dropped to 4000 CFS today and are on the way down to 3700 or so by tomorrow.  We’re set up perfect for a lower water year, just as long as we don’t get catastrophic amounts of rain or snow.  We’re seeing a bit of algae on the lower (greycliffs and below), but still very fishable.

We’ll be around the shop daily for shuttles, flies and great advice starting tomorrow.  We’ve got some openings in prime spring slots for the next few weeks for lodging and guides, so hope you guys can make it out!

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This post was written by Pete Shanafelt

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