Bighorn Fishing, Mayfly Spinners, Two-Handed Season

Availability on the Bighorn

BH collage 2We still have a few rooms left on our 30th annual trip to the Bighorn River in August for what might be the most incredible dry fly fishing you've ever seen. In recent years the trico fishing has been amazing and we expect a repeat in 2017. Float the river in comfortable skiffs and get out to fish the productive runs, pools, and side channels. Check out the video clip. For prices, dates & details.



Featured Fly: Mayfly SpinnersMay fly spinner 05A

Mayfly spinners are incredibly important to a fly fisherman who enjoys matching the hatch. The final stage of the adult mayfly mates in the air often high above the water until finally both male and females come to the waters surface and after egg laying by the females, both lay spent on the surface with their cellophane-like wings out to the side. Most of the spinner falls happen in the last hour or two of light and they can provide a feeding frenzy with trout quick to take advantage of the massive numbers of insects. Like most rules in fly fishing, there are exceptions though, for example the early morning trico spinner falls. But whenever you encounter a spinner fall you want to be prepared with a hatch matching imitation.Slate drake spinner 08 

We have two favorite spinner designs that we fish with. The first was made popular by the late Vincent Marino who believed that the spent hackle wing was the perfect imitation – and we agree on water that is flat and smooth. But on faster rougher water we like the poly wing spinner which floats better under those conditions. We offer both to imitate the major eastern hatches. Click here to go to our store.


Two-Handed Season

sage1 Are you a subscriber to the Sage blog? Two Handed Season is a beautiful piece written about, well – you guessed it – two handed rods. If you love steelhead season and this type of fishing (and even if you don't), I think you'll enjoy the story and the photographs. Oh, and don't forget to subscribe. You won't want to miss the next issue.



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Bahamas- Bighorn

Urgent! The Bahamas Need Your Help TODAY

2013 Bahamas0649The Bahamas fishing destroyed?  

We desperately need your help TODAY to stop ridiculous legislation that could be passed TOMORROW. Please read.





Thinking about a Montana Fishing Trip?


The just out Aug/Sept. issue of Fly Fisherman Magazine has a feature story from Barry & Cathy on their favorite western river, the Bighorn for full or partial stay. And, the best part? We still have space on the August departure to the 'Horn with the Becks. Get the details in our Hosted Trips


We'll have a recap on Iceland for you next week. Barry is still editing photos — and I'm seeing some great shots.

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Summer on the Bighorn

The Bighorn River has over 6,000 trout per mile, one of the most fertile, most productive, trout rivBighornBlog 3 BIGHORN RIVER BC BECK PHOTO226403SMers in the country. In August the water levels are typically low and some of the best dry fishing of the year can be had here. It's a river of options — look for "heads" and fish dry flies, rack up numbers and fish nymphs, fish hoppers, throw streamers in the lower river, or mix it up. The days are long, the nights are cool, it's a very pleasant time to be on the river.  

Come with us in August and enjoy summer on the Bighorn at Kingfisher Lodge. There's nothing like it and you'll be so glad you did. August 22 - 29 or August 29 - Sept. 5. Complete details and prices are included in the itinerary. Call us or Denise BighornBlog 7 Rainbow -Net-BC BECK Iimage095SMat Frontiers (800-245-1950) if you have any questions. See you there!


View the trip details on our website

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Paying Homage to the Bighorn





Barry wrote an interesting blog about his take on the Bighorn River.  The article recently appeared on RIO's website and I wanted to highlight it here so you all didn't miss it.  Click here to be directed to the RIO Blog.


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Annual Bighorn Trip

Barry & Cathy are in Montana at Kingfisher Lodge this week.  We've heard great things about their past trips to the Bighorn and the photos are always stunning.  Cathy emailed this morning and here's what she shared with us here at the office.  Sounds like this year won't disappoint either!

"We're having a very unusual two weeks here on the Bighorn. Last week started out hot and sunny, typical for this time of year. Toward the end of the week though the weather turned cold, wet, and windy. We pulled out our fleece and down jackets. The mahogany spinners and tricos kept on coming and fishing was good despite the weather. Yesterday the sun showed and summer is coming back. 90 degrees is predicted before the end of the week. Lots of rising fish. It's a great time of year on the Bighorn!  -Cathy"

BIGHORN RIVER  2014  1378   BIGHORN RIVER  2014  1553       KING FISHER LODGE MT  2192    BIGHORN RIVER  2014  1673     BIGHORN RIVER  2014  1635   KING FISHER LODGE MT  2168   FORT SMITH MT  2014  2349 

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Fishing Caddis Hatches

Every morning here on the Bighorn River we're having wonderful hatches of tan caddisflies. In recent years the heaviest caddis hatches have been black and have occurred in the evening. No one knows for sure what happens to change the way hatches occur but one thing is for certain - all the anglers on the river are enjoying the dry fly fishing.

Elk Hair Caddis

Elk Hair Caddis, named for the elk hair used to make the wing, are working very well. They float well and are easy to see on the surface.

Caddisflies have three stages in their life cycle. The first is the worm-like larva. The larva lives in the stream bottom, often encased in a small cylindrical cocoon-type abode made out of sand, grit, and tiny pieces of bark and leaves which is attached to the underside of submerged stones. At a certain time, usually in about a year, the larva leave the cocoon and swim to the surface. This is the pupa stage. It's very brief but very important because the fish love to feed on pupae as the insects are readily available in the water column. During this stage the pupa will shed it's larval shuck and unfold it's wings. When it gets to the surface the wings are unfolded (like the photo) and the insect is ready for flight. These caddis adults will often skitter and dance around on the surface for a couple seconds before taking flight, getting the attention of the fish. Once  in flight it is no longer available to the fish until the females return to deposit their eggs on the water, usually a day or two later.

Fishing During a Caddis Hatch

Caddisflies come in all sizes and colors, the most common being tan, olive, and black. We're fishing size 16 here this week but there are many caddis that are larger or smaller.

Sometimes it's helpful to have a couple of different patterns in your box. I stood in one riffle and fished for 2 hours yesterday to rising fish who were eating tan caddis. After a while my tan elk hair caddis wasn't as effective as in the beginning, so I switched to another tan caddis the same size but tied a little differently. It fooled some of the fish that I had missed on the original fly. They were dialed into the elk hair and knew enough to avoid eating it again, but readily ate the second pattern - for awhile. In the two hours I fished 3 different tan, size 16, caddis patterns and caught fish on all three.

Sometimes when the rises are splashy it indicates that the fish are feeding on the pupae. Watch carefully to determine which stage of the insect the fish are eating. Often a pupa or caddis "emerger" trailed behind the dry is very effective.

Being observant and matching the hatch is the key to success during hatch times.

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