Blog Posts In Fishing Reports

Two in the hand

Didn't fish today but I went out late last night with my dad for the caddis hatch.  It was pretty good when you could see the fly but after the sun went down it was extremely tough to time the sets.    I had to share these pictures from Thursday. Phyllis of Cheyenne, WY doesn't miss many strikes, in fact when she does strike she seems to catch everything in the vicinity!

Hit 'em high and hit 'em low!

Together they were 16 inches ha ha

The Quality Chicks!


Wow what a week!  Big Hole Lodge was taken by force this week by twelve women armed with fly rods, bags of fly boxes, and a ferocious passion for the sport.   Hailing from all corners of the country but predominantly the west, these gals came to fish.         

Lori-Ann Murphy, the first female Orvis endorsed guide, started a women-only fly fishing destination company in 1992 called Reel Women, which now offers women and men guided float trips, coed guide schools, basic fly fishing schools, casting clinics, & destination trips for everyone.  This weeks crew at Big Hole Lodge met 17 years ago on one of Lori-Ann's trips and has since developed their own 24 member crew proudly named, The Quality Chicks.  I swear they have been to every lodge in the west and several in the tropics over the past 17 years and through these expeditions they have developed lasting friendships.  Their enjoyment of each other was evident in the cross-river whoops and hollers when a fellow 'Chick' hooked into a fish or at the dinner table when laughter erupted from the dinning room.   

I apologize for my lack of posting this week, these gals kept me busy!  We were on the river late most nights and by the time I got my boat unhooked and back to my house I was asleep before the computer turned on.  What can you expect after netting so many fish?...and climbing trees for flies...and laughing hysterically when a flying fish nearly hit me in the face causing me to drop the oars, allowing the boat to float under a willow securely tying everyone's lines to the bank.  It was a great week.  

The fishing was fair this week, hot some days and very tough others.  We had extremely cold nights due to a major cold front on Monday which brought a lot of wind and a falling barometer.  Fish don't like big changes in pressure or temperature, and frankly neither do I!  There was frost on my lawn all week and I'm too stubborn to wear waders.  We fished the Big Hole, the Beaverhead, a spring creek, and the West Fork of the Bitterroot.  When the fish were warm they were really feeding, when they weren't it was a lot of work to find them.   

On Sunday and Monday I had the pleasure of guiding Lisa from Minnesota.  Her fervor for fishing is as enjoyable as her sense of humor and these qualities, coupled with her casting ability, made for a very enjoyable day.   She found the Montana trout particularly tough to handle, not in terms of catching them but holding onto them after they'd been netted:  






Hang on!

ha ha Gotcha!


I also had the pleasure of guiding the group leader, Linda, two days this week.  She is a very accomplished fly tyer from Idaho Falls and I look forward to putting my order in for some new patterns this winter.  It was like I had a walking fly shop behind me on the spring creek and then one floating with me on the Big Hole.  I was able to throw patterns I had never seen before!  Unfortunately the Big Hole didn't fish very well in the section we were in that day but she was able to land a pretty nice brown.  

if at first you don't succeed....tie on a thirty first fly and it will bring up a fish!


And like I said, despite the couple of tough windy days there was plenty of fun to go around!  Congratulations to Susannah for her pre-lunch Grand Slam, congrats to Linda for her 25 inch Brown on the Beaverhead lake (pictures when I get them),  and congratulations to Sarah for trying our beloved sport and doing great this week!  Welcome to the fishing world.  

Big Hole Rainbow, right after she hooked two brownies on one cast!


Big Bitterroot Cutthroat, nice Carol Joe!


Thank you Quality Chicks, we had a blast and can't wait to see you this week next year! 

 Tight Lines, Wade

Fire and Ice

I wish I could freeze the Big Hole at this level and keep it here for the rest of the year.  At 2,620 CFS this river is in prime condition. 

The nights have been getting down to freezing temperatures and below but when the river warms up the fish are hungry!  Yesterday was great and the fish were looking up.  We took four brand new fisherman from the South out to show them the ropes and despite the stiff breeze and cold weather they were able to catch quite a few fish, but most importantly they learned to cast from a boat. 

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

Today was beautiful.  I had two artists from Maine who met while studying art at Bowdoin College and have been together for 25 years.  Susan sat in the back, marveled at the majesty of the Beaverhead Valley and took some great pictures- i'm working on a poster patent for the above shot, any slogan ideas??  

Rufus fished hard and as soon as he got the hang of the 'mend cast' we started catching a lot of fish.  The brownie below fought us hard but we stuck with him and chased him down river until we could get a net under him. 


It took a while for the river to warm up but when it finally kicked off we had great fishing.  Stay tuned for a Bitterroot report tomorrow.

Big Hole Grand Slam

Happy 4th of July!  The rivers are coming into shape nicely and dropping to more manageable levels.  We have had some cold nights so the snow is coming out of the mountains slowly.  We're looking forward to a great week.

Springtime colors

Congratulations to Franklin Paisley of Kentucky for scoring a Grand Slam at the end of last week.  With Rick Rossi at the oars Frank boated a brook, brown, rainbow, cutthroat, and grayling on the Big Hole all before lunch!  Rick took Frank and his father Lewis on a long float upriver and got them into over 30 fish.  They netted a handful in the 18" range and a bunch in the 14-16" range on dries and droppers.

The Big Hole fished well today although the bigger fish seemed to be taking some time off.  Our boat was able to bring up a lot of fish in the mid-teen range but the big boys are either stuffed or hunkering down for the big storm due in tonight and tomorrow.

Today was tough down in the Dillon area.  We had a near freezing night last night and bright sun and wind today.  These factors make spring creek and lake fishing very difficult.  The PMD hatch never started due to the cold so we were forced to power terrestrials into the wind, making delicate presentation nearly impossible.  The fish were spooky and picky and my clients will appreciate cocktail hour this evening.

Paid our dues today

The Big Hole is in great shape at 4,070 cubic feet per second.  Lots of bugs flying around.

Fly fishing will teach you a lot about yourself and your place in this world if you let it.  Today we tested our patience against very selective trout on the upper Big Hole and learned a lesson in the importance of presentation!  At the start of the Pale Morning Dunn hatch the fish were hungry and eager to snag every yellow bodied may fly that came along, today they were looking for fly lines and leaders.

David and Tina from Arizona worked painstakingly to perfect their casts in breezy conditions this morning and we were able to pick up some brookies and grayling before putting the boat in.  The float fished pretty slow and it sounded like that was the consensus among the boats in our section.  There was a thick caddis hatch coming off just as we were taking out tonight so we decided to float right on past the car and it really paid off.  Dave and Tina fished hard all afternoon to no avail and after waving goodbye to our ride they were rewarded with great fishing through the evening.  Dave made a perfect long cast to the underside of a big rock and sure enough mister brown was there to suck in the dry.  We picked up a healthy handful of nice sized rainbows as well and called it a day.   I hope everyone this week enjoyed their trip, we hope to see you next summer!

Hello Fishing World!

We at the Big Hole Lodge have nestled ourselves in the Pioneer mountains and done our best to fight back the encroachment of cell service, high-speed internet, black-berries, iPhones, and the like.  We would much rather continue to ignore the technological movement completely and keep fishing but we realize that could be viewed as somewhat self-involved.  So we have resolved to share our experiences with you and in order to do that we can't hold out against the cyber age any longer.

Starting this summer we will be keeping an updated blog for our friends in the fishing community so that they can follow the adventures of our guides and clients as well as read about the current fishing conditions.   We will post pictures as often as possible so that you can put faces and places to the posts and we not only welcome your replies and comments but we encourage them and look forward to hearing from you.    Stay tuned and enjoy, I'll have an update on the Big Hole tomorrow!

Take care,
Wade Fellin