The Variety of the Bighole River

Sean Visintainer - 06/13/12

Sean Visintainer holding a Big Hole Brown Trout.

For those of you that have never fly fished the Big Hole River you are definitely missing out. I'd probably rate the Big Hole as my favorite trout in Montana. I've had the opportunity to spend a number of days here now and while I am definitely no expert on the Bighole or have never just slayed fish left and right there this is one river where you just never know what you're gunna catch. Plus the scenery and the varying types of water never gets old.

My buddy Bob McConkey and I met up with an outfitter friend of his Al Lefor (owner Great Divide Outfitters) for a float on the upper river. During this time of the year the lower river is mega crowded with everyone trying to hit the Salmon Flies... and they can stay there! The upper river was completely uncrowded and go figure there were salmon flies out!

Bob rigging up on the Big Hole River.

With the varying weather conditions we fished a number of patterns as the fish changed their moods with each passing system. Bob was kickin' my ass for the first couple hours when Al recommended we try some salmonfly patterns since we were coming into a particular area that shoulda had them hatching. After about 20 mins of fishing salmon fly patterns and no fish for me for the first two hours, I was about to switch when BAM!!! a 23" brownie sucked the salmon fly down like a toilet bowl flushing. Probably a personal best for me on dries... and then another that was about 22" crushed it on the surface... can't complain there either.

Throughout the day we caught almost every species of fish... Browns, Rainbow, Grayling, Cuttbows, Whities, Brookies... I think everything, but a Cutthroat? At any rate for scenery, variety, and shots at big ass brown trout then you can't beat the Bighole River... as the T-shirts say in the gas stations there... "There's no hole like the Bighole." Just saying.