Date: March 30 – April 1, 2012
Bighorn River Flow: 2,850 CFS
Water Temperature: 41-44 Degrees
Flies: #18-22 Black Beauty, #18-20 Zebra Midge, #14-18 San Juan Worm, #16-19 Sow Bug, #14-16 Scud, #18-20 Pheasant Tail, 6mm Oregon Cheese Troutbead, Streamers
The Bighorn River in Montana is fishing very well. Low flows have concentrated the fish in the riffles and shelves. Midges are hatching in huge numbers. This has the fish moving into the shallow riffles to feed. The weather in Fort Smith has been unusually warm. On the last day, the temperature hit 83 degrees! Unbelievable for April! We floated the upper sections of the Bighorn and waded most of the time. Fishing out of the boat is not nearly as productive as getting out and targeting the fish in the shallows.
Ninja Jim (seen on the right) is still learning how wear his buff. Jim hammered fish the entire trip and caught the majority of the larger fish. Most of the fish we saw on the Bighorn were 12-16″, but Jim managed to pull in a few that were 17-18″. The top fly for the trip was a small black midge. Black Beauties, Zebra Midges and Black Beauty Emergers all got the job done. We saw a few Blue Winged Olives, but not a lot. The BWOs will intensify as spring goes on.
Most of the fish were in 1-4 feet of water. Our nymph rigs were about 4-6 feet deep and we focused on the top half of the riffles and runs. Inside seams held the most fish, right where the main channel and seams meet. Now is a great time to fish the Bighorn. Check out the video below we shot in the last day we were on the Bighorn River. Lots of fish is the best way to end a trip!
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