Report from the Big Hole River

Written by: Wade Fellin, Big Hole Lodge

The cottonwoods in the Big Hole Valley are on fire, and the brown trout are copper colored and spawning; it must be fall. We ended our season at Craig Fellin Outfitters & Big Hole Lodge fishing hoppers, small mayflies, and streamers. The mornings have been frosty, and the fishing gets better as the day progresses. For the past few weeks, we have been fishing at mid-morning and staying out late. On the great days the tricos were thick in the sun, and the blue winged olives came off when the clouds rolled in. On the marginal days the wind blew, and the bugs never hit the water so we fished streamers.

Despite the shortage of snow last winter, the Big Hole had a great water year. The rainfall was above average, and the temperatures stayed abnormally low, resulting in thick hatches and very healthy fish. The rain in June brought the water to record levels, and where we would normally be fishing salmon flies, we were stuck fishing nymphs. The hatch was thin, and the fish were back in the willows out of reach. However, the yellow stonefly hatch that follows its giant cousin was better than it has been in years and lasted well into July.  The other hatches were pushed back one to two weeks due to the weather, but the fish have really benefited from all the water. Now the brownies are in full spawning color as our Indian summer comes to a close and the chill of fall sets in. We are bracing for a cold winter and hoping for heavy snowfall to charge the river for next summer.

Big Hole
A Big Hole brown trout
Craig Fellin, Owner Craig Fellin Outfitters and Big Hole Lodge

Our head guide, Chuck Ravetta, is back in West Yellowstone–fishing, golfing, and looking forward to his annual three-month fishing trip in New Zealand and Tasmania. Chuck Page is guiding hunting trips in the Pioneer Mountains.  Rick Rossi is heading the math department at Montana Tech and teaching statistics. Craig Fellin is cutting wood, fishing, and photographing wildlife.  I am driving the chef, Lanette, back to Redding, California, and then fishing in Glacier Park and Belize.

Thank you everyone for a wonderful season; we really appreciate your interest and support.  Pray for snow and keep in touch!

Wade Fellin manges and guides for Craig Fellin Outfitters & Big Hole Lodge.


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