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Spring is Here and an Abundance of Water Just Opened

The eagerly anticipated opening of most of the water in Southwest Montana occurred on April 1st.  A couple of fantastic days of fishing were followed by rising water on area rivers.  Everything is back in shape and the fishing has been consistently good the last few days.  The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks implemented closures last September 30th to protect spawning brown trout, leaving just a short stretch of the upper Beaverhead open and Poindexter Slough.  The entirety of the Big Hole River and the Beaverhead River downstrream from Pipe Organ Bridge to the mouth are now open to anglers. The Beaverhead from Clark Canyon Dam downstream to Pipe Organ Bridge remains closed until the third Saturday in May.

A light snowpack in the majority of the state will not impact the Beavberhead River in 2024. Clark Canyon Reservoir is full and filling into the conservation pool.  Flows are projected to be normal to above normal throughout the season. More importantly, flows between 125 and 200 cfs all winter will have a very positive impact on the Beaverhead.  Higher winter flows on the Beaverhead translate to more and bigger fish.  

Despite a lot of hysteria manufactured by Save Wild Trout last summer, the fish population in the upper Beaverhead River remains right in the middle of the historic average.  That combined with our excellent winter flows will make for an abundance of excellent fishing this summer.

Clark Canyon Reservoir - We are fielding a lot of calls regarding the ice off at the lake.  A good portion of the ice is gone and the fishing is good to excellent with more rocky shorelines opening up over the next few days.  Marabou jigs under bobbers are the most productive method, but fish are eating stripped squirrel leaches as well.

Beaverhead River - The above normal winter flows have treated the fish below Pipe Organ Bridge well.  They are pudgy and numerous.  Sowbugs, worms, baetis nymphs and zebra midges are all producing.  There are some dry fly opportunites in the afternoons with both midges and blue-winged olives showing up.

Big Hole River - It's great to have the Big Hole back on the menu.  The river surged to 3500 cfs last week, but has dropped back to near 1000 cfs and is fishing well.  This weeks warmer weather should provide some skwala fishing downstream from Melrose.  There are numerous ways to fish the river right now.  Dry/droppers, streamers and nymph rigs with san juan worms, prince nymphs and olive rubber legs will all catch fish.