A Mid-Summer’s Dream – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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A Mid-Summer’s Dream

I spent much of last week guiding over on the Bighorn River with some regular clients of our guide service. Although there are plenty of options here around Bozeman, every once in awhile, folks want to do something different and see other parst of the state. After living and fishing around the region for the last 20+ years, I’m always up for a change of scenery and a trip back to my old “haunts.” I feel a little bit like a Nomad at at times as I typically spend the Spring up on the Missouri, parts unknown in June, Bozeman most of the year, and then end up in Missoula for a few weeks somewhere later in the year. This last trip to the BIghorn was another great adventure with lots of fish and laughs among our crew.

The most significant thing of interest on the Bighorn right now has to do with the effects of bottom releases from the dam on Yellowtail Reservoir. The water is very cold for this time of year and has been so pretty much all season. Morning temps are in the high 40’s and waders are pretty much a blessing, even on the hot days of late. The best part of this though has to do with the fact that the water is so cold that the typical masses of weeds, grass, and algae are pretty much non-existent.

So, with the lack of weeds came some easy mid-summer nymphing on the Bighorn. We were frotunate enough to be there on the day the Mahoganies “popped’ on the lower river whihc brought fish up to the surface early in the day and we were able to enjoy some great dry fly fihing right through the early afternoon as the fih switched over to PMD’s. The other days of the trip saw some great rising fish from 12:30-3:00 or so both Mahoganies and PMD’s. Nymphing was really good from ramp to ramp with a steady bite on various sowbug and PMD nymph patterns.

The Bighorn is worth the trip right now for sure in terms of the fishing. Expect to see some other folks as there were well over 75 boats on the water everyday I was over there. Heading out early is always a smart way to go if you want to try to get into one of your favorite runs, but the bite generally is a slower go until the water really starts to warm in late morning. If you want to just fish dries, hold off until later morning as it takes the bugs awhile to really get going. Its a great river anytime of the year and its hard to beat in terms of numbers anywhere else in the region right now.