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The Beaverhead River Opens with a Bang

We patiently wait for opening day on the Beaverhead each season.  This year had even more of an edge of anticipation as an abundance of water was released from Clark Canyon Reservoir throughout the fall and winter.  Those that are familiar with the fishery understand that abundant winter flows translate to more and bigger fish.  This years's opener did not disappoint.  While it might not have been possible to swing a stick between Clark Canyon Dam and Buffalo Bridge last Saturday without hitting a fisherman, the crowds have thinned out and the fishing is excellent.

We woke up to 5 inches of heavy wet snow in Dillon this morning that was preceded by some heavy rainfall.  Needless to say, we are thankful for any moisture that we receive and this storm should extend good flows on the Big Hole into the summer and will cause flows to drop out of Clark Canyon Reservoir as thirsty agricultural fields were drenched and irrigators will hold water in the reservoir until needed.  We already saw a reduction in flows of 50 cfs on the Beaverhead today, with the potential for lower flows over the Memorial Day Weekend.

Beaverhead River - The river from the dam to High Bridge has produced some epic fishing since the opener.  We know of multiple fish over 25 inches that were landed.  They are fat and healthy with the usual preference for a small menu of the right flies. These fish do not suffer fools and your fly selection, terminal tackle and drift all dictate the amount of success that you'll have. While that sounds daunting, we are always up to date on the best bugs and have them in stock.  Small sow bugs, baetis nymphs and various midge patterns have been the ticket thus far.

The river below High Bridge is fishing very well and the fish are less picky about your offerings.  Various worm patterns, sow bugs and baetis patterns are the ticket.  The streamer bite on cloudy days has produced more action than we can recall in several years.

Big Hole River - The much maligned Big Hole has fished well all spring.  This snow storm will cause flows to rise and bring some dirty water for a few days as temperatures warm. The silver lining will be more water as the summer moves on and the salmon flies begin their annual appearance in a few weeks.  Recent data from the FWP shows a minimum of a 50 percent increase in the trout population on a few stretches while others nearly doubled!  Last years mild summer with timely rain and cooler temperatures has allowed what we feel is the best freestone river in the state to recover very well.  The hystreria created in the media last year by the fledgling group Save Wild Trout about disease and "zombie" trout has proved to be inaccurate.  FWP biologist Jim Olsen says that the number of unhealthy fish during the spring surveys was well within the range of normal.  It turns out that Save Wild Trout is a bunch of smoke and mirrors.  Their entire plan revolves around doing a water quality study and then litigating the issue "should" they find a smoking gun.  Those that love and know the Big Hole understand that keeping water in the river allows it to prosper.  Imagine that, fish need water, duh.  Streamers, San juan worms and Pat's rubber legs are on the menu.

Poindexter Slough - The slough is fishing very well and provides anglers that prefer more intimate water a chance to catch large fish on a daily basis.  Olive bullets, black bullets, small San Juan worms and small streamers are all working. If you catch the slough on a cloudy afternoon, there are also some nice fish eating BWOs on top.