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PMDs

The Beaverhead is a challenging river that rewards those with great skill and leaves some humbled at the end of their day on the river for a lot of the year. Once the rivers Pale Morning Duns start to hatch from the third week of June to early July throughout the summer, things get a lot easier. Even good guides that are humbled by the rivers quirkiness in the off season know that once the PMDs start to hatch. this is the place to be. The bugs are coming off in limited numbers right now, a few big fish are eating the dries and the rest are locking in on the nymph drift. Expect increasing numbers of PMDs to hatch, with the emergence of strong Yellow Sally hatches from lunch time through the afternoon. Cooler water temps have limited hatches thus far, but summer wont wait forever. Stop in and ask our advice about hot flies, things are leveling out, but they change daily.

The Big Hole is still awaiting the emergence of great dry fly fishing with Golden Stoneflies. Below average temperatures in the latter half of June slowed down the usual daytime flurry of multiple hatches, but water temperatures have normalized and the river is fishing well in the clouds, slower in the sun.

The Jefferson provided a short but sweet window of great fishing before the moss began to flow. Quickly dropping flows caused a lot to break loose and clog leaders and flies. The stringy green stuff will slow down and fishing will improve as flows stabilize. Run to the Jefferson on cloudy days and fish shiny olive stuff and smaller bugs in the sun.

Warming longe range temperatures will concentrate fish at Clark Canyon Reservoir at the South end, find the river channel and fish chironomids and sheep creeks. Shiny bugs work best on sunny days.

Prime Time!

We’ve entered the window of fishing in Southwest Montana when we have multiple rivers fishing extremely well. Our guides are coming back each evening with tales of great fishing no matter where they went that day. Salmon flies on the Big Hole, big fish on the Beaverhead, and the Jefferson is fishing well.

The Big Hole saw a lot of boat traffic this past weekend, but the crowds have thinned and the fishing is getting even better. If you witness a cloudy day there this time of year, you’ll see the some of the very best fishing that Montana has to offer.

The Beaverhead is getting better each day, and we should start to see PMDs very soon. Those in the know, understand that this kicks off a run of some amazing fishing on this great tailwater. Right now, small sow bugs and a few small mayfly patterns are producing above High Bridge, with worms, sow bugs, and a bunch of other bugs producing fish downstream.

We’ve dropped our shuttle prices on the Beaverhead to twenty dollars. Stop in to say hello, and look at our well stocked supply of great bugs!

They are here!

We saw salmon fly nymphs under the rocks on the bank today on the Big Hole. They will fly tomorrow! Dropping flows and seasonable weather should make for a fantastic week fishing dries! Get out early, and don’t hesitate to change patterns. You’ll see large golden stones and a plethora of other hatches by the end of the week.

The Beaverhead has some way above average sized fish this year. A late BWO hatch made them easy to pattern for the first ten days after the opener, but dwindling hatches have made the fishing inconsistent. Worms and sow bugs along with the mythical great cranefly larva patterns are producing some big fish. The fish are just beginning to transition to some PMD patterns.

The Beaverhead fish have really grown!

Our own experience and that of other happy anglers confirms that the browns and rainbows are in fantastic shape this season on the Beaverhead. The water right below the dam is consistently producing fish from 18-22 inches. We’ve seen a few bigger than that, but very few smaller. After a week of below average flows, we are now seeing discharges from the dam that will benefit floating anglers. Small sow bug patterns size 16-18, zebra midges, and size 18-20 split backs are the ticket. Look for fish to return to the worm bite with increasing flows as well.

The salmon fly watch is on for the Big Hole River. The big bugs should be moving towards the banks soon, with adults showing up in a week to ten days. Pat’s rubber legs in brown, black, and orange will be the ticket for the next week. Cloudy days over the past week have provided some excellent streamer fishing. You can’t go wrong with yellow. The fish on the Big Hole are in excellent shape as well, very chunky.

Opening Day!

We spent the entire winter and spring thus far watching the above average flows from Clark Canyon Reservoir into the Beaverhead River. The above average flows translate to more and bigger fish! Opening Day is here! Mother Nature has dealt us some cool rainy weather, but the flows are good and the fish are fat and happy. Most of the water in the Northern Rockies is presently blown out. You’ll find plenty of company on the river, play nice, there are plenty of fish for everyone.

Sping Fishing is in Full Swing

We are eagerly awaiting opening day on the upper Beaverhead! May 18th the river from the dam downstream to Pipe Organ Bridge opens. Abundant flows from Clark Canyon Reservoir the last two winters have increased not only the number of fish, but the average size as well. A recent conversation with the Beaverhead’s fisheries biologist further enhances our optimism for this season. Coupled with a full reservoir, the present and future are very bright. We are currently seeing some consistently good fishing below Pipe Organ Bridge.

The Beaverhead below Pipe Organ Bridge has fished consistently well the last month with great BWO hatches from mid-day on. Our guided trips are coming back with stories of lots of fish being caught and big smiles on anglers faces. Flows from the dam will start to increase next week. It will take the river a couple of days to clear, but we anticipate the fishing to continue to be above average.

The coldest March in 30 years set the Spring fishing on the Big Hole back a couple of weeks, but the water is in great shape now and fishing well. The onset of warmer weather should prompt the March browns followed by the massive Mother’s Day caddis to hatch in the next couple of weeks. Streamer junkies and those willing to dunk San Juan worms below an indicator will find success as well. Don’t let anyone shame you into not using the worm in a variety of sizes and colors, the Big Hole fish eat them every day this time of year. Pre-runoff is one of the best windows to fish the Big Hole during any given year.