Question & Answer

Here are a few of the more commonly asked questions we receive this time of year:

Bighorn River Valley on March 1, 2012. Just above Pipleline.

1. What do you predict for water flows?

Outside of calling the Psychic Friends Network, it’s still too early to call. Currently, our snowpack is normal and there is a fair amount of water in the lake. It is not unusual for Montana to receive a lot of moisture in March and April. But if I were to guess, and people love it when I do, especially when I’m very specific with my guesswork, I’d expect flows of around 3,000 cfs through late May, increasing to 6,000 cfs in early June, and being brought back down to 4,000 throughout most of July. They will then return to 3,500 cfs through most of August. That’s as far as I can see at the moment. By the way, you should know that it was just a few months ago that I predicted the Denver Broncos would win the Super Bowl.

2. What’s the fish population?
This is another tough one. I recently asked the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks biologist who oversees the Bighorn River this question and his response was, “We’re still crunching the numbers.” It seems they are always doing this but this is okay, since as a fly shop owner I am now free to wildly overestimate the number of fish in the river. I’d say there are 27,000 catchable fish per mile in the upper river. Okay, only kidding. I’d place the actual number at closer to 8,000. “Catchable size” refers to fish over 9 inches. Regardless, there are a lot of fish in the river, especially those in the 10 to 14 inch class.

3. How are the hatches going to be?
The hatches should be great in 2012. We’ve had several years of high water and this has always brought the hatches back strong. Last year we saw PMDs and Tricos return with a vengeance, almost like the glory years. Should be even better this year. And don’t forget the Yellow Sallies.

4. How is Steve Hilbers doing?
As most of you know, Steve had some health problems last year, but he is doing great now. Thanks for you thoughts and prayers. He’s been given a clean bill of health and you’ll see him rowing down the river once again.

Give us a call if you need to book a fishing trip. It looks like it’s going to be a busy year. Due to cancellations and rearranged trip dates, there are still openings throughout the season, but May and August are filling up quick.

Tel: (406) 666-2375