Monday, August 8, 2016

Montana - The Bighorn River

It's been a week since we returned from our trip to Montana.  A very fast week, one that felt like any other week at work, and except for the memories of another great trip its almost as though we never went away.  Time does fly!  This year's trip was special though because my son Hunt joined the usual cast of charactors I go with every year. 

The first leg of the trip was spent fishing the Bighorn River.  This time of the year the weather in South-Central Montana is hot and dry with daily temps in the 90's and nighttime lows in the upper 50's.  The river is cool though, with the highest temp I recorded being 56 degrees F.  So, during the day we wet-waded in shorts, and then switched to waders the last couple of hours of daylight. Covering your head and arms, and plenty of sunscreen, makes the days pleasant while you fish and drift the big, wide river and it's numerous long pools, riffles and channels.

The river is surrounded by the Crow Indian reservation, so access is very limited and thus the river is best fished using a drift boat.  We rented a couple each day for the six of us; drifting from one spot to the next as we made our way down river.  We rarely fished from the boat.

This time of the year the black caddis hatch every day from late morning until dusk, when both hatching and egg-laying occurs.  And the trout rise to them, mostly in the riffles, 1-2 feet of water. So what did we fish?  Dry flies, and only dry flies, on fairly long leaders, 11-12 feet long.  And fishing only x-caddis and egg-laying caddis, #16 and 18, as I posted on July 13.   And we caught fish, lots of fish; both rainbows and browns, with the browns out numbering the rainbows about 5:1.  The average fish was a good 14 inches, with some pushing 20.  I also managed a few over 20; it's a amazing how many fish are in this river!

Here's my son with his first Montana trout, a Bighorn brown.  

And here's a typical Bighorn brown.  These fish are well-fed and fight hard.  Often these browns will jump several times just as their cousins the rainbows do.

Sunset after four days fishing the Bighorn.

Sharpen your hooks, and if you fish the Bighorn, bring plenty of water along!

1 comment:

Mr. Q said...

It was a great trip.....The Big Horn is great, but it's not the Madison!!!:)
I'll take it over the South Branch of The Raritan though.....;)
Never saw so many trout in a river in my life as the Big Horn....or mosquitoes the size of Pterodactyls with the bite of a horsefly.....