The site of the battle along the North fork of the Big Hole is preserved as the Big Hole National Battlefield. Streamers and Wolly Buggers thrown in the deep holes, around the undercut banks and behind the rocks all produce results. Access to the Big Hole River between Divide and Salmon Fly is mixed. No rapids are found, and you are quite likely to have the river to yourself, as float parties seldom use this section of the river. It varies between running through small valleys on its eastern edge to slicing through a number of canyons, with the mountains sometimes heavily forested and other times almost completely barren of vegetation–particularly as the river nears Melrose. June sees the primary event of the year on the Big Hole Riverâthe Salmon Fly hatch. Mayfly imitations, such as the Adams, work equally as well on this stretch of the Big Hole River during the fall as they do further upriver. This scenic valley is flanked by mountains on all sides and to many people defines what Montana is all aboutâbig valleys, tall mountains and wide-open spaces. s, "waters of the pocket gopher" ) is a tributary of the Jefferson River, approximately 153 miles (246 km) long, in Beaverhead County, in southwestern Montana, United States. For those travelers seeking services, don’t expect to find many in the Big Hole River Valley. Excellent brook trout fishing also exists on its upper reaches. The Big Hole River is unique, secluded and majestic. However, since no road follows the Big Hole River in this stretch, access for the wade angler is limited to the fishing access sitesâwhich thus create a fair amount of fishing pressure around these sites. This is also excellent stone fly water. The banks of the river range from grass to cottonwood trees to brush to rock. Beginning at Skinner Lake, which is tucked away in the Beaverhead Mountains near the Idaho border, the Big Hole River flows for 155 miles in Montana before emptying into the Jefferson River at Twin Bridges. Once the Big Hole River reaches the valley floor, access becomes a little spottier. The Big Hole River is a study in contrasts. The source of the mainstem Big Hole River is Skinner Lake in the Beaverhead National Forest in the Beaverhead Mountains of the Bitterroot Range at the Continental Divide along the Montana-Idaho border in western Beaverhead County. With cozy cabins and an event center that overlooks the lower Big Hole river we provide a unique location for you or your group event. Finally, beginning in September, dry fly anglers will have the opportunity for more top water fishing using standard dry flies such as the Parachute Adams, as solid mayfly hatches occur on the Big Hole during the fall. A forest road closely follows the river, allowing easy car access. The best access to the Big Hole River in this stretch is from the designated access sites, as the river primarily flows through private land. The valley is primarily agricultural in nature, and produces more hay than anywhere else in Montana. The Big Hole River picks up further velocity through this stretch and riffles become more frequent. The riverbanks change from forest and grass to rock and frequently small cliffs. However, the Big Hole River Valley is home to lots of these biting creatures. Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation (1995). A couple of short whitewater stretches and riffle sections that are found between Jerry Creek FAS and Divide FAS round out the variety. , The Big Hole River watershed drains 2,800 sq mi (7,300 km2).. Usually by August either an early season frost (the Big Hole River Valley is probably the coldest spot in Montana outside of West Yellowstone) or the dryness of late summer will have scaled back the mosquito populations to tolerable levels. The river is bordered by the Pintlar and Beaverhead Mountains in the west, and the smaller West Pioneer Mountains in the east.. Due to its elevation, the valley gets a fair amount of moisture by Montana standards and also gets quite chilly, even during the summer. Since this is primarily brown trout water, the fly fishing is more difficult on this section even though fishing pressure is significantly less than found further upstream. Floating on the Big Hole River can begin near Jackson. The countryside is primarily arid, with willows and some cottonwood trees found along the banks. Book Now Back to Rivers. In the early 1960s, the US Bureau of Reclamation proposed building the Reichle Dam near the town of Glen along the Big Hole River. Bordered by the Pioneer Mountains to the east and the Beaverhead Mountains to the west, the valley offers a picture postcard view of Montana. As the temperatures of the water warm to higher levels, the fish on the stretch consist primarily of brown trout, both in healthy numbers and size. USGS River Conditions for the Big Hole, Beaverhead and Jefferson Rivers in Montana - Great Divide Outfitters, a Montana Fly Fishing Outfitter. The river is home to high numbers of wild and large rainbow and brown trout. In addition to several designated fishing access sites, Montana Highway 43 closely parallels the river, providing for numerous unofficial access sights right off the road. For the angler who lacks a fly fishing boat, this stretch of the Big Hole River is the perfect place to fish. Rainbows and browns are few in this section. However, caddis fly imitations work equally well for a number of weeks before and after the hatch, and provide a wonderful opportunity for fly-fishing with dry flies. While few fish are caught this way, the largest fish on the Big Hole River often do not rise to the surface to take standard dry flies. At the time Lewis & Clark traveled through the Big Hole River watershed, it was a buffer zone between several rival Native American tribes including the Nez Percé, Shoshone, Coast Salish, and Blackfeet. Fishing Conditions December 2, 2020. Most fishing parties exit at Glen since the fly fishing on the Big Hole River downstream tends to taper off, particularly in the summer. In short, the Big Hole River offers an exceptionally wide variety of geography between Wise River and Melrose. It is the last habitat in the contiguous United States for native fluvial Arctic grayling and is a historically popular destination for fly fishing, especially for trout. The Big Hole River at this point is less of a river and more of a spring creek, since the river is very narrow and often closed in. Fishing the Big Hole River near Wise River, Montana. At its origin, towering mountains surround the river. The river flows through a delightful mix of country, almost as if the river is unsure of whether it wants to leave the mountains behind. From Divide, the river turns south and flows through primarily arid country, with cottonwood trees frequently lining its banks, to the town of Glen. It fishes well from ice out in April until the winter weather hits in November. In 1877 the U.S. troops under John Gibbon fought the Nez Percé Indians along the Big Hole River, during the Nez Perce War in the Battle of the Big Hole. This section is characterized by cottonwood bottoms with braided channels and long, slow pools. The Big Hole River winds it way lazily through this valley before taking a sharp turn to the east and cutting through the mountains. The Big Hole is a classic free-stone river, known for its varying landscapes of high mountain valleys, quick canyons and big, cottonwood bottoms. The Big Hole River has flatter water on this section than is found further downstream (which has lots of riffles, pocket water and some small rapids), making it an ideal place for dry fly fishing. The Silver Bow Club 4000 Maiden Rock Road Divide, Montana 59727. Instead, the river holds healthy wild populations of brook, rainbow and brown trout which were first introduced into the Big Hole in late 1880s as hatchery operations began in Butte and Bozeman, Montana. It soon tumbles down the mountains and flows through the beautiful and massive Big Hole River Valley. The Battle of the Big Hole was fought in Montana, August 9â10, 1877, between the U.S. Army and the Nez Perce tribe of Native Americans during the Nez Perce War.Both sides suffered heavy casualties. Big Hole River. The Nez Perce withdrew in good order from the battlefield and continued their long fighting retreat that would result in their attempt to reach Canada and asylum. From Fishtrap Access Site, the Big Hole River soon enters the canyon stretch. Troutfitters, located within casting distance of the famed Big Hole River, two miles west of Wise River, Montana, provides the ultimate in fly shops, fishing information and guide service in southwestern Montana. The river flows through the valley for more than sixty miles before it turns eastward where it enters a canyon. Usually by middle to late June, the river has cleared up so that an angler shouldn’t have to worry about arriving only to find a muddy, swollen river. Spring fishing on this stretch of the Big Hole River is similar to that found upstream. It is not at all uncommon to see mule deer, moose and elk all along the river. Caddis fly imitations work well on this section of the Big Hole, water conditions permitting, up through early July during a normal year. Big Hole Country If you drive from I-15 west onto route 43 west along Big Hole River toward route 93, you won't be disappointed. We're a company that believes in offering our customers warm and friendly customer service. In spring, fishing from a drift boat or raft is preferred. ", After years of debate by all interests in the Big Hole watershed, in April 2007, the U.S. On the warm days you will have trico's in the mornings and hopper fishing in the afternoons. The additional width, combined with more restricted access, starts to limit wade anglers ability to reach the better fishing spots. There, due to the dryness of the area, mosquitoes are virtually non-existentâalthough you do have to watch out for rattlesnakes! Fish the streamers in the deep holes, around the many undercut banks or behind the rocks in the river. The river leaves the canyon near Divide and enters arid country. In the case of grayling, MacDonald ignored clear genetic differences between extremely rare fluvial (river) grayling and relatively common lacustrine (lake) grayling. Trappers from both the Hudson's Bay Company, the North West Company and the American Fur Company exploited the region from about 1810 to the 1840s. This section is exclusively brown trout water and is best fished in the spring and again in the fall. The Ruby River below Ruby Reservoir also provides an additional option. The committee was criticized for exclusion of activist voices such as the Center for Biological Diversity and the Montana Wildlife Federation. For the angler who hates fishing with nymph patterns, dry fly patterns for the Salmon Fly hatch such as the Sofa Pillow in sizes 12-16 also work well, although fishing the Salmon Fly hatch with dry flies will not catch as many larger trout as consistently when compared to using nymphs. The Big Hole river has been a destination for serious trout fisherman since the late 1880s when The Angler's Guide, an Eastern angling journal advertised the Big Hole as a national destination fishery for grayling and trout while promising daily 40 lb (18 kg) catches. Should you arrive in May hoping to fly fish the caddis hatch, only to find the river blown out because of spring run-off, consider taking the short drive to the Beaverhead River, which runs clear all year long since its flows are controlled by Clark Canyon Dam. Camping is also not a problem. Soon, though, the Big Hole River enters a canyon stretch, which it remains in to Divide FAS. Fishing Locations Gallatin River Lower Madison River Upper Madison River Yellowstone River Spring Creeks Jefferson River Big Hole Boulder River Stillwater River Bighorn River Missouri River Yellowstone Park Waters Other Waters. 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