The Fishing: Big Hole

A face only an angler could truly love, what a brown!

A face only an angler could truly love, what a brown! 

The Big Hole River has been called the “The Last Best River”. Perhaps the finest dry fly river in the West. The angling situations are diverse and divine. Every Conceivable fly angling circumstance and water type associated with river fly fishing for trout are here on this most beautiful of rivers. The conditions are dynamic and with five species of game fish a mixed bag is guaranteed. The Big Hole runs unencumbered for 125 miles from its origins high in the Pintlars, Pioneer and Bitterroot mountains. The river is diverse as it slips through mountain meadows, towering canyons and classic meandering river bottoms to its confluence with the Beaverhead river to form the Jefferson, one of the great rivers to make up the Missouri. 

During the course of the summer, The Big Hole changes size in a dramatic fashion. In an average year, it will peak at 8000 CFS (cubic feet per second) in mid spring and drop to 400 CFS by late summer. When the river is big, floating is a must, and you might float as much as 25 miles in a day. As the flows drop the opportunity for wading increases. By late season, for instance, you might cover only a mile in a day of fishing. Thus, the methods that we use change. 

In addition, the diversity of habitat in an undammed freestone river like the Big Hole, provides many types of water to fish in. We chase the trout from pocket water to riffles to pools; from shallow water edges to deep runs with undercut banks. You have the chance to fish with #2 streamers all the way down to #20 emergers. If there is a style of fly fishing you prefer, we have it. If there is a method you wish you did better, we can teach it to you.