Fly Fish The Big Hole

Here at Montana Fishtales

Fly Fish The Big Hole

The Big Hole River’s grassy meadows, mountainous horizon, wide-open spaces, braids and islands in between classic riffles littered with hanging cottonwoods are gorgeous to first-time explorers.

With its blue-ribbon trout streams, slow-moving pools, sharp turns overlooking thick forests and lush green agricultural fields, and rich wildlife, the river is a favorite spot for fishing with guides and clients. Once it leaves the mountains, the river spills into a valley and merges with the Beaverhead River.

Big Hole River is the ultimate spot for blue-ribbon trout fishing. The river is home to a variety of trout, including wild trout, rainbow trout, and brown trout. Strict fishing regulations maintain fly fishing quality and keep the fishing pressure tolerable.

So, if you’re up for the fishing trip of your life, take our fly fishing guide and explore the prettiest river in all of Montana.

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.”

Trout fishing
Salmon Fly

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.

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.”

Recommended Flies

Dry Flies

Elk Hair Caddis
Rogue River Salmon Fly
Parachute Adams
Chubby Chernobyl
Terrestrials
Purple Haze
Sparkly Dun

Nymphs

Pheasant Tail
Prince Nymph
Copper John
Pat’s Rubber Leg Stonefly Nymph
Hare’s Ear Nymph

Streamers

Yellow Yummie
Lyle’s Choice
Zonker
Boogie Man
Sex Dungeon