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Bighorn River Fishing Report: May 2008

The fishing continues to be excellent on the river right now despite the recent reduction in stream flow.  They have the river reportedly at 1500 CFS but my gut feeling is not a shot glass over 1300 CFS.  This low cold water has most of the fish concentrated in moving pools of water 3-8 feet deep, with slower rolling water being the best.  Plenty of fish are in even slower deeper water runs.  There are some areas with fish in the shallower water, but nothing even remotely close to summer riffle fishing yet.  The rainbows are in full force right now on the spawning beds.  My personal feeling is that there are not NEARLY as many as years past. 

We continue to catch giagantic trout however, and great numbers in general.  See recent photos.  Already 2 monsters so far this year.  Zebra midges, quill nymphs, red midge larvae, wonder nymphs, ray charles and an occassional scud are taking most of the fish for our guides.  It seems as though the scud has died down, unike last month where anything pink seemed to catch fish.

There are great midge hatches most every morning on the river, but the fishing for these trout can be challenging to say the least.  Some days they eat well, and others you’ll pull your hair out trying to get them.  If you plan to fish midge dries in the morning, bring your “A” game.  BWO’s have been coming off in the afternoons in good numbers and this dry fly fishing is much more inviting to most anglers with vaious BWO patterns, adams, or baetis cripples catching most of the trout.  And if your with John, they’ll eat a royal wulff.:)

Overall fishing is great and it should continue.  It will be busier than Bill Clinton on secretaries day for the next month though, as most every other river is blown out right now.  We’ve had over 100% snowpack in most areas, and a cold winter and spring.  With the last week of 80 degree temps, someone opened the flood gates.  In fact, the Yellowstone has flood warnings right now in Livingston.  All the water is coming at once to other rivers.  We are clear and therefore, I expect the river to be busy with anglers.

Keep in mind that our resource is NOT bulletproof.  Take good care of the fish you do catch out there especially trout between 15-21 inches.  They are our breeders and the future of our river.  With low water flows and increased pressure by anglers, do your own personal part to help the Bighorn River.


Good luck, have fun and be safe.




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