River Report: The Big Hole Bounces Back

Written by: Wade Fellin, Big Hole Lodge

Big Hole Fish 1

The author shows off a fine Big Hole brown that fell for a dry fly.

photo by David Thompson

The Big Hole has been fishing really well on dry flies, and recent rains have totally rejuvenated the river. Things are looking good for August!

Last week, temperatures in the 90s sucked the river down to a skinny 600 cfs in Melrose and a frightening 380 cfs in Wise River. Southwestern Montana does not typically get much rain in the summertime, though brief afternoon showers are common this time of year. But this year has been anything but typical. We hardly had winter until April, and instead of runoff in late May, we had three mini-runoffs and the majority of our snow pack was gone by July. So I guess it should not be surprising that our “April showers” showed up in mid-July.

Big Hole water

Recent rains have brought water levels up, which turns the fishing on in a big way.

photo by Wade Fellin

It showered, then drizzled, then poured this week as widespread storms rolled in from the South. Temps have been in the 70s, and the river has jumped back to above the historical average. In Melrose we are sitting comfortably at 1,090 cfs and at 600 cfs in Wise River.

Big Hole Graph

Things were looking a little scary last week, but “April showers” in July mean great dry-fly action to come.

graph courtesy USGS

Wade Fellin, a former Orvis Trout Bum of the Week, is a guide at Big Hole Lodge.

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