Bighorn River Update: July 25, 2011

It appears inflows into the lake are finally matching outflows. This is good, since the level of Bighorn Trout is at the very top of the exclusive flood pool. We expect them to keep flows near the current level for a while in order to draft the reservoir down. This has been a historic year all over the northern Rockies. We are fortunate that the Bighorn River is a tailwater fishery, and has remained fishable throughout this record water year. Many streams in Montana are still high and off-color, or are just now dropping and clearing.

Hopper fishing has been good at times—from 1:00 to 4:00 seems to be prime time, and the upper 8 miles is the best. I guided yesterday (3 Mile to Mallards) and tried to force feed the trout during the morning hours. We had a few lookers, but no hookups. We did stop and catch a couple of fish on Yellow Sallies, but PMD duns were few and far between. Nymph fishing proved quite productive. The hot rig seemed to be a burgundy S.J. Worm with a tan #16 Hot Bead Soft Hackle Sow Bug. Some of my guides have been throwing a brown S.J. Worm with a grey Ray Charles behind it.

The upper three miles has the greatest number of Yellow Sallies and PMDs. There was a decent number of Sallies around St. X bridge yesterday, and a few fish up on them, but evening caddis are the main event down there.

Steve Hilbers Update: Some of you are aware that my business partner, Steve Hilbers, had to undergo brain surgery on Saturday night/Sunday morning. The six-hour procedure went well, and the prognosis for complete recovery is good. That being said, his condition is very serious, and your continued prayers are appreciated. Currently, no visitors are allowed as Steve is still in ICU. For those of you who would like to send him a card, the address is as follows:

Billings Clinic Hospital
P.O.B. 37000
Billings, MT 59107