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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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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From Tricos to Snakes


Marc Bale with a Bighorn Brown

We finished up our week on the Bighorn with more incredible dry fly fishing. The second week we had several mornings of trico fishing. Tricos are very small mayflies. We haven't seen trico hatches like this on the 'Horn for many years. We fished size 20 duns and spinners every morning to rising fish. Marc Bale from the Sage Rod Company joined us for a couple days and it was non-stop for a brief time every morning. We used the new Circa in 4 & 5 weight and it was the perfect rod for this kind of fishing. When the tricos stopped, the tan caddis began. What a week. We found the hatch one morning with Matt McMeans at the Corral and a couple days later with Marc in Sneider's channel. For those of you who know the Bighorn, you know how special this year has been on the river. And, we found that if we used RIO Powerflex 4x tippet, we wouldn't lose any fish.

Trico Spinners on Cathy's Finger

We talked to a lot of anglers who were using 5x, but with 4x we still had plenty of fish take the fly. We would lose one now and then when they got down in the weeds but the hook pulled out, the leader didn't break.

This week we're off to Bolivia with a Frontiers group where we'll be fishing for Golden Dorado at Tsimane Fishing Lodges, located in the tropical Andes between Peru and Bolivia. What a change it will be to go from 4x and size 20 tricos on 4 & 5 weight rods to size 1/0 and 3/o Tarpon Snakes and Andino Deceivers on a 250 grain RIO Outbound Short and 8 & 9 weight rods!

Golden Dorado

I think I can safely say the mosquitoes might be bigger than the tricos, but the fishing will be fast and furious. We've got a great group of anglers joining us for what is sure to be an adventure. We'll let you know how it goes!


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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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2012 Hosted Trips

We've got a busy year ahead of us. Here is our schedule of Hosted Trips for 2012:

  • Jan 15-21 -- Delphi Club, Abaco Bahamas (bonefish)

  • Feb 1-18 -- South Island, New Zealand (trout)

  • Mar 18-Apr.1 -- Patagonia, Argentina (trout)

  • May 19-26 -- Belize River Lodge, Belize (tarpon, etc.)

  • June 3-10 -- Boca Paila, Mexico (tarpon, bones, permit)

  • June 10-17 -- Isla Holbox, Mexico (tarpon)

  • June 23-30 -- Ponoi River, Russia (Atlantic Salmon)

  • July 14-21 -- Kulik Lodge, Alaska (trout/salmon)

  • Aug 18-25 & 25-Sept. 1 -- Bighorn River, MT (trout)

  • Sept. 12-20 & 16-24 -- Tsimane Lodge, Bolivia (dorado)

  • Oct. 27-Nov. 3 -- Agua Boa, Brazil (peacock bass)

  • Nov. 26-Dec. 3 -- Tres Valles, Argentina (trout)

Detailed information and prices are available on our web site for most of these trips. If you're interested in a destination that is not yet posted, please contact us. We hope to see you in 2012.
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