Bighorn River Fishing Report and Tungsten Tutorial: June 1, 2012

It appears the Baetis hatch is waning somewhat. We’ve had a couple of cloudy days recently and insect numbers are falling off. That being said, there are still dry fly opportunities throughout the day. If you look around, you’ll find fish eating midges in the morning—use a #20 Sipper Midge—and trout are still tuned into Baetis in the afternoon. With the low, clear water, fish are becoming selective. A good drift with 6X tippet is what they want.

We’re still nymph fishing with Baetis nymphs and midge pupa. The RS2 has been very effective of late, along with Flashback Quill nymphs and Wonder Nymphs. Fish all of these in size 18. I’ve been fishing 5X tippet on the bottom fly for my nymph rig. And I use tungsten putty to get everything down. Many people don’t know how to use tungsten putty, so they continue to use split shot. Some of these people are very troubled and superstitious. For example, I once attempted to photograph one of these “shot users” holding a small trout, but he asked me not to do so because he said the camera might “take my spirit.”

Anyway, to correctly use tungsten putty, pinch a small amount of the stuff above your tippet knot and roll it between your thumb and index finger. If you’re a fly tier, it’s kind of like dubbing fur. Roll it out into an elongated shape. This shape will grip the line better and be easier to cast. Plus it won’t snag the bottom as much as shot will, because it glides over the rocks and crevices. The application procedure will take a little practice, but once you master it you’ll find that tungsten putty is easy to use and very versatile. Tungsten is actually heavier than lead, so keep that in mind.

Streamer fishing is fairly good on cloudy days. The moss is annoying as you approach Bighorn Access, but if you can pound the banks and get five or six strips, that’s all you need. Brown has been a good color.