TRIP REPORT: BIGHORN RIVER, MONTANAYellow Dog team members Jake Wells and Bryan Gregson just returned from two days of epic dry fly and streamer fishing on the Bighorn River based out of Fort Smith, Montana. While other freestone rivers throughout the state can reach water temperatures too warm to fish this time of the year, the Bighorn River is a classic tailwater river which allows water temperatures to remain mostly constant and on the cooler side.
Despite a significant amount of moss and algae in the river system, this year-round fishery did not disappoint Jake and Bryan. On day one, they fished with Matt Clawson, who is the head guide and outfitter for the Bighorn River Lodge. Soon after they started down the river, Trico spinners started to blanket the water surface mid-morning, and provided outstanding dry fly fishing for several hours.
Then as the afternoon brought clouds and thunderstorms, the streamer fishing was very consistent until they reached the take out. Day two was spent with the outstanding staff at the Bighorn Angler. Accompanied by owner and outfitter Steve Galletta, and top guides Pete Shanafelt and Seth Byler, the day presented much of the same fishing opportunities.
The dry fly fishing was superb on Trico spinners from the time they put in, until clouds and threatening thunderstorms provided excellent streamer fishing in the afternoon. The Bighorn River can be fished almost year-round, and offers something different almost every month out of the year. In fact, for the dedicated angler it offers exceptional shoulder season fishing in the spring months of March & April, and then again in the late fall and early winter months of November & December.
Here at Yellow Dog, we work with two fine operations on the Bighorn River. While each may be different in their offerings to guests off the river, we are confident that each will provide the same top-notch fishing experience on the river.
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