From the upper river’s grassy meadows to the fast canyons, to the braids and islands in between classic riffles littered with hanging cottonwoods; the Big Hole River is the quintessential Montana trout stream and a favorite with guides and clients.
No matter the time of the year, world class fishing can be found along the Big Hole’s 160 gracefully winding miles, where trophy browns and rainbows lie in wait.
From early season pre run-off action that can be lightning fast on streamers and dries, to picture perfect summer-time dry flies; you can fish for five different species of trout (brook, rainbow, brown, the native grayling and cutthroat) on one river. And of course, radiant September and October, when solitude and ravenous kype-jawed browns await your presentation.
The upper Big Hole meanders its way through several meadows brimming with brook trout, rainbows and the last wild population of Arctic fluvial grayling in the US – all eager risers to your favorite dry fly. We’ve heard from more than one grinning client, “This is exactly what I imagined a Montana river would be like.”
As the Big Hole enters the canyon stretches, it changes drastically in surroundings and gradient. Here, grassy meadows give way to house-size boulders hiding some 3000 browns and rainbows per mile and some of our favorite ‘pocket water’. The hatch list, too long to cover it all, includes Mother’s Day Caddis, Salmon flies and Hoppers.
Wildlife is abundant along its entire length. It is not uncommon to see Golden eagles, White-tailed deer, and moose all in the same day. Further down, the river begins to slow.
The Big Hole eventually merges with the Beaverhead River just north of the town of Twin Bridges, forming the Jefferson River. Bluebird days and Hoppers; or clouds and streamers, the Big Hole is a river that everyone enjoys.
FishTales Outfitting LLC is a licensed Outfitter with the State of Montana's Board of Outfitters
and Permittee for the Madison, Big Hole and Beaverhead Rivers.
Site Photography: Bruce McDaniel and Vic Sorensen
Get fishing news, river reports and deals on fishing trips delivered straight to your inbox!