Friday, September 24, 2010

Big River, Big Trout on small flies!!

Schnitzel did a lovely job describing our date on the Big Hole River.  I'll try to elaborate a bit on where I fish, how and for what.  Good neighbor Louie, our 88 year old fly fishing expert, showed me a few spots he liked.  This spot is the middle hole of 3 starting with the Grayling Hole.  Grayling were once very plentiful in this country but were pretty well fished out by the early 1900's except for Alaska.  Montana is trying to reintroduce this species in some rivers and they have taken on pretty well in the Big Hole.

This is a pretty nice Grayling although I did not get the miniature dorsal fin that sets these fish apart.  They are pretty easy to catch and taste pretty good with a hint of thyme when we kept some in Alaska.  Its all "catch and release" in the lower 48.

What's happening these days to get the fish feeding is the "TRICO"  hatch.  The tiny "duns" like the bottom fly (a size 22!) hatch mid-morning and then the next day, they cluster together in clouds of 1000's to mate, fall to the water as "spinners" to lay their eggs and die to provide plenty of feed for the slurping trout and whitefish.  I don't have to go that small to imitate the natural as an "Adams" or a "Purple Haze" in a size 18 does the trick with a good drag free cast in front of the gulpers.  I have never seen a purpled bodied mayfly but somehow it works just fine on this river!!

This is a dandy 18" fat rainbow that took my offering.  It ran around like crazy for 5 minutes before I landed it.  Somehow the other rainbows seem to know when one of their mates have been caught as they stop feeding for sometime.  Maddening!!  They should know I release all of these beauties to fight again!!

This is a very nice 14" Brook trout that are in the river in good numbers as well.  They are very colorful this time of year.  This fish is really a Char as witnessed by the white tipped fins.

All in all, one does not catch big numbers of trout in an outing on the Big Hole.  But with careful presentation, a few of these dandies can be caught to make a good outing in a very beautiful spot in Montana. 


  1. Beautiful pictures! I looks like you had a wonderful day of fishing!

  2. Someone is having trout for dinner.

  3. I just love trout! Just up the road from us there is a dam which has been stocked with trout. They have now just introduced a golden coloured trout which I have never seen before. I have no idea what it is called. Personally I have not tasted it but our neighbours tell me it is better than the normal trout. Diane

  4. Sounds like so much fun!

  5. Great photos and I bet you enjoyed a great dinner. What a fun time!

  6. Lovely fish. I was just fishing this past weekend on the Wise River (a tributary of the Big Hole) since most of the Big Hole is closed due to low water levels right now. Had a great time catching and releasing plenty of healthy, eager browns, brookies, and rainbows. Even caught grayling up in a high lake. Thanks for sharing.