Bighorn, MT 7/10

Well, another successful Bighorn trip for another great group of guys/gals.  We had 14 again this season and all had a wonderful trip, as usual.  The extended winter had it’s effect on the river as it has with all the other waters I have fished this year.  Although the banks were loaded with hoppers, most were still too small to fly.  So, the fish weren’t keying into them like last year.  Luckily, because the river has had great flushes the past few years the bugs are rebounding tremendously. 

Mark Stroh and I went up early again this year to do some “scouting for the rest of the group”.   We had some great sight fishing for noses along the banks.  Browns and rainbows were eating PMD spinners and small black caddis in the mornings.  Yellow Sally’s and a pretty big tan caddis (#14-12) were the main fare in the afternoon.  We caught fish in between the stops drifting my foam hoppers along the seams and even in the middle of the river.  We didn’t get into the 20″+ fish this year like last, but had plenty of fish 18″-19″ and several 20″ fish.  The nice part was we never set up a nymph rig.

I was a little tardy with the camera this trip.  It is pretty good fishing when you don’t even take a pic of a 19″-20″ trout.  The best day for me was the next to last day of the trip.  The clouds rolled in and it was dark all day.  It screamed “STREAMERS”.  I had tried it the first day with no takers so pretty much put it away for the trip.  My guide, John Keiser, looked at me in the morning and imitated a streamer tug.  It is always nice to have a guide that knows what’s going on.  I would have left the streamer rig in the room, if he hadn’t reminded me.  I must have landed 40-50 trout that day, with several in the 20″ category. 

This year was different but not uneventful.  It was great to see the bugs coming on as strong as they did.  It bodes well for next year.  We will have two trips next year.  This group is pretty much all coming back for the last week in July.  I have the week prior booked as well.  This year the week before we got there the river had great Yellow Sally, PMD and tan and black caddis hatches.  You just had to figure out which bug they were eating and “game on”. 

Thanks again to Matt and Keri for a great trip and Chef Keith served up some of the best table fare I have had there in the all the years I’ve been going.   Looking forward to next year.