Bighorn River Fishing Report: 10,000 cfs

The guides are readying for war. In the foreground, we have Kurt Olson’s station wagon. What a beauty, but hard to find parts. To the left we see Merritt Harris standing next to his signature “brown trout mothership.” Mark Gervase’s new Hyde is beyond Merritt. David Dill’s rig is behind Kurt. Kip Dean’s Subaru and blue Northwest is on the right.

This morning at 8:00 AM the Bureau of Reclamation, in cooperation with the Army Corps of Engineers, increased water flows from 8,500 to 10,000 cfs. Flows will probably stay at this level for two or three weeks. Early reports from the guides indicate that the fishing remains excellent, and trout are still rising to PMDs and Yellow Sallies. In the late evening, black caddis are bringing trout to the surface. 10,000 cfs seems like no big deal. Heck, we’ve had our baptism in fire … err water … at 15,500 cfs, so the boys at the Bureau are going to have to do more than this to scare us. But if you “boys” are reading this, don’t take that as a challenge. Anyway, flows are fine; water clarity is good, and the fish are feeding aggressively.

Yesterday (7/10) I floated from Bighorn Access to Mallard Access. Nymph fishing was good on brown San Juan Worms and Soft Hackle Sowbugs. There was a killer Yellow Sally hatch from around noon until 4:00 PM above St. X bridge, and PMDs were coming off at the same time. The upper river was also good, although there were reports of slow nymph fishing in the afternoon. This is not unusual in July and August when it’s hot and bright. Streamer fishing has been productive for those of you who can “hit the bank” and cover a lot of water.

Work is progressing at Afterbay Access (see Facebook page for pics). Not sure about the completion date, but anglers are able to launch boats before 9:00 AM at the main-access, and they can launch any time on the town side of the river.

If you plan of fishing the Bighorn this summer, be advised that August is nearly booked up and September is filling up as well. Still plenty of room in October and November. Judging from the last two years, we should enjoy outstanding trico fishing in September.