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big hole river fly fishing

The famed Big Hole River is just minutes away from downtown Dillon and is a staple in the Frontier Angler lineup. The fishing season runs from March through November but the prime months are May through October. The Big Hole is a consistently producing fishery offering the potential for sizable brown trout.

The Upper River - Wisdom to Divide

The river from Wisdom to about Dickey Bridge is fairly flat with occasional islands and sloughs. It can produce some very large browns in the early season for those willing to brave the unpredictable weather. Numerous boat launches are available in this upper section as well. Mud Creek, Fish Trap and Lower Sportsman’s are all common access and launching points. You will find strong brook trout numbers up high alongside browns, rainbows, whitefish and the occasional Big Hole River grayling.

East Bank and Dickie Bridge are the next popular launching points and both have campgrounds. It’s a 10 mile float from these access points to the Jerry Creek ramp 10 miles downriver. This stretch has flat sections, islands, sloughs, classic bends and a few good drops. It’s a popular run that fishes throughout the summer. 

After Jerry Creek, there’s another access at Dewey and the river runs through a canyon section with a takeout at Pump House or you can run to Divide. There is a diversion dam just before Divide so be prepared to portage or run a wave train. 

Divide to Glen

This section is the classic Big Hole with big runs, backwaters, long riffles and plenty of trout. Divide, Maiden Rock, Fish and Game, Salmonfly, Brownes Bridge and Glen are the primary launches. A dirt road runs from Divide to Maiden Rock with great access for wade fishing and camping. Stoneflies and caddis provide major food sources throughout the summer and there are great mayfly hatches and spruce moths as well.

The Lower River - Glen to Confluence

The Glen launch begins a long float through rural farmland lined with cottonwoods. There are numerous channels in this section and it’s important to know the route to avoid danger. Higher water flows are ideal for this section. Glen to Notch Bottom is the most common float but you can run from to Pennington as well. The takeout is not great at Pennington however. Continuing into the Jefferson River is another option through this section. 

Seasons and Hatches

The spring and early summer are typically fished with big nymphs and san juan worms. Fishing the dirty rigs is interrupted by the Mother’s Day Caddis hatch which can turn fish to elk hair caddis style dry flies. June is all about the salmonfly hatch with big bugs bringing big fish to the surface. Summer caddis hatches also take off during June. Golden stones and PMD’s follow so try a variety of yellow dry flies in the riffles. Caddis and mayfly hatches continue through summer until hoppers and spruce moths begin dancing on the surface. These events indicate a shift closer to fall weather and streamer season.