The Big Hole River remains locked up with ice in the lower reaches from Twin Bridges upstream to Salmon Fly Fishing Access Site (FAS) and the Fish & Game FAS further up. Dewey now named George Grant FAS and reaches upstream are fishing well and are your best bets right now for winter fly fishing on the Big Hole River.
Flows and Conditions ~
- Current Big Hole River real-time flows are not available USGS due to icing. Estimated at 175cfs – 200cfs
- Very good at 4+ feet
Tactics and Patterns ~
- NYMPHING ~ A two fly nymphing rig will be your most productive method. Rubber-legged stone fly patterns #8-10 in black or brown are a good choice. For a second fly, there lots of midges around so midge patterns in red or other patterns with red will work. Try a Copper John, Serendipity, or San Juan Worm #8-14. Egg patterns #16-12 in orange, pink and yellow are also catching fish.
- DRY FLIES ~ There are fish rising to midges, look for rise forms in softer water along the banks, inside edges and in back eddy’s. Try a Purple Haze, Parachute Adams or Griffith’s Gnat #14-18. Try adding an emerger or a bead-head Pheasant Tail nymph # 18-14 below your dry fly. There are a lot more fish feeding subsurface.
- STREAMERS ~ Streamer bite is like the water temperature’s… a little chilly. Better on warm, cloudy day’s as you might expect. Try dead drifting, slowing down your retrieve or a classic quartering downstream swing. Smaller sculpin patterns in olive and or brown or a Zonker in natural/pearl or natural/copper #6-10 are a good choice.
- TIPS ~ Be aware of winter fishing hazards like drifting ice, shelf ice and rapid weather changes. So be prepared with appropriate winter fishing clothing. If you have studded boots or cleats… where them! If you don’t check out Goat Head Sole Spikes. The rainbow trout are starting to spawn , so if you see patches of bright gravel, watch your step, and please stay clear! Line freezing in the guides is a common winter fly fishing problem. Pre-treat your fly rod and line with Stanley’s Ice Off Paste by Loon Outdoors or spraying your rod and fly line with non stick cooking spray like Pam. Have Chapstick in your vest and retreat your rods guides as needed.