Bighorn Reloaded
Jon Spiegel

I just got back from fishing the Bighorn River in Montana. WOW! What a great time. After floating the river for three days, I was not ready to come home.

The most productive way to fish the Bighorn is to float it, because this allows the angler to get out to fish each productive run. There are a lot of interesting characteristics to the Bighorn River which I believe translate into a broad range of fishing options for the angler. In many ways I find it more attractive than Gray Reef.


The fishing was a bit different from last year due to lower flows. We did encounter a really good Black Caddis hatch, which brought up a few fish. But for the most part we did a lot of nymph fishing. The fish were still hanging out in the riffles, which made sight fishing very enjoyable.

We did find a wide variety of fish ranging in size from eight inches up to twenty-two inches. Large numbers of fish in the eight to twelve inch range were encountered in the upper three miles- a good sign for the river. Finding fish of this size means that the river is still having a healthy spawn and a very natural fish cycle. This fish cycle was a concern because of the drought and how much it was impacted.

My large arbor Ross Evolution proved to be a big asset for the some of the larger fish.

If you're planning on a trip to the Bighorn, make sure that you have the following flies:

  • Ray Charles
  • Sow Bugs
  • Amber Scuds
  • San Jaun Worms
  • BWO Downey Wonders
  • Barr Emergers
  • Black Beautys
  • Caddis emergers.

If you have questions just e-mail me or give me a call at the shop - 303-494-1375 or 866-994-1375.