Early '11 Snowpack

Happy New Year!

At Big Hole Lodge we are eagerly awaiting the 2011 fishing season.  Winter 2010 was very dry and mild in Montana, which normally means summer drought for our snow-fed rivers and streams, but we had a wet spring and summer didn’t arrive until mid July, and it was abnormally cool when it did.  We had one of the best water years on record and though the hatches and fish were displaced by the high flows on the Big Hole, making fishing tough for most of June, the trout benefitted greatly.  According to the state fisheries biologist the fish looked healthy and numbers were up in all trout species except the cutthroat, which have been on the decline in recent years.   Winter arrived this year with a vengeance as if to make up for last years poor showing and we currently have above average snowpacks and bitterly cold temperatures in the Big Hole Valley.  Next summer should be a great year with plenty of water and healthy fish!

Headwaters of the Big Hole




Snowpack Discussion:

This is a La Niña year, which means that cooler sea surface temperatures drive colder and wetter weather into the northern Rockies.  At the start of December, Montana was 120% of last year with some watersheds reporting as high as 150%.   According to the weather models we have a 70% chance of having colder temperatures and more snow than historical average over the next 6 months.   Although that is by no means certain,  it's much better than a coin toss and as of  January 3rd we are sitting above historical average statewide, and 120% of last years snowpack.

Hatches and Fishing:
Our famed salmon fly hatch typically comes off in mid-June, although with the high water they didn’t show up until June 24th last year.  After the big bugs are gobbled up we have golden and yellow stone hatches which bring on great dry fly action for the weeks following the salmon flies.    The PMD fishing on the Big Hole and Beaverhead is also fantastic, starting in early July and lasting into early August.  Those of you who have been here in late July are well aware of the ‘spruce moth buzz’, excitement over a somewhat inconsistent annual hatch of moths that flutter down from the woods and drive the big brown trout crazy.  The Big Hole can appear to be boiling with feeding fish in late July and early August.

August also marks the start of our world renowned trico and hopper fishing.  In the mornings before the sun is high clouds of tiny grey and black bodied tricos ascend, mate, and descend upon the water to try and lay their eggs before frenzied trout have a chance to gulp them in.  If you aren’t worn out by lunch, you will spend the afternoon plopping a giant grasshopper pattern onto the banks, looking for big Mr. Brown snoozing in the shade.  Hopper, beetle and ant fishing continue through September until the temperatures start to get cold, the browns start to turn a vibrant orange, and streamer fishing gets hot!   So before 2011 flies by like 2010 drop us a line or shoot us an email, we’d love to enjoy this promising fishing season with you.

We’d love to hear from you!

Call: (406) 832-3252

Email: bigholeriver@montana.com

Check us out online at: www.flyfishinglodge.com