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murphyjm 02-12-2009 10:58 AM

Top Ten Big Horn Flys
I will be going to the Big Horn in late August with friends...I'm really fired up! I am an intermediate fly tyer and am hoping someone can clue me in on the top ten flys and sizes for that time of year.

mcnerney 02-12-2009 12:04 PM

Re: Top Ten Big Horn Flys
I'd recommend talking to the folks at the Bighorn Trout Shop on flies they would recommend depending on the time of year you plan to fish.
Bighorn River Fishing Report, Weather & Waterflows : Bighorn Trout Shop : Fort Smith, Montana

They have a reports page on their website but it hasn't been updated since last Oct. The last report shows this:
Hot Fly Patterns:
#14 & #16 Tan Ray Charles; #16 & #18 Grey Ray Charles; #18 Flashback Quill Nymph; #14,#16 Orange Scud; #16 Pink Scud (dirty pink); #8 San Juan Worm (various colors); #16,#18 Soft Hackle Sow Bug (camel dubbing); #16 & 18 Zebra Midge;
Dry Flies
#22 #20 Trico Spinner; #22 CDC Baetis Sparkle Dun; #22 Crippled Johnson; #8 Parachute Hopper (tan)
#4,#6 Black Conehead Wooley Bugger; #4,#6 Brown Wooley Bugger; #4 Black Zonker; #4,#6 Bighorn Bugger (Brown & Yellow)

River Flows:
2,450 cfs
Water Temperature:
58 degrees at Three Mile.


mcnerney 02-12-2009 12:07 PM

Re: Top Ten Big Horn Flys
Here is another site that procides some advice:
The River's Edge Bighorn River Fly Fishing Report

Recommended Fly Patterns
Nymphs -
Pink Ray Charles-#18
Green Disco Midge-#20
Tungsten Zebra Midge-#18
Big Horn Schrimp-#14
Dry Flies -
CDC Harrop Midge-#20
Hi Viz Griffith's Gnat-#18-20
Streamers -
Big Horn Bugger-#4
Olive Burgin Bugger - #4

Good luck with your trip!


Biggie 02-12-2009 05:45 PM

Re: Top Ten Big Horn Flys
The Bighorn in August will have plenty of vegetation on the bottom as well as free floating in the current. Dry fly fishing will be the least amount of work since you can keep your flies cleaner than when you will be nymphing. Hoppers will certainly be on the list of must haves for the trip. Hopefully you will be floating, the best hopper fishing is done from the boat. The other hatch that typically is strong that time of year is the black caddis. The hatch is stronger some years than it is others and right now it is anyones guess how strong it will be. The black caddis are typically a # 16 or # 18 fly. For nymphs your standard fair stuff such as Ray Charles, Soft Hackle Sow bugs, Zebra Midges and small mayfly nymphs should all be in your box. The biggest factor in nymphing on the Bighorn will be how you can manage the grass and weeds. Being proficient at slapping the salad off your flies will be of upmost importance. You will also want to think about using a lot of weight when you are nymphing to get the flies down quick in the small windows of open cobble between the weeds. I would also come loaded with lots of San Juan worm variations. Red, Orange and Brown are typically the three best colors, but everyone has their favorite worm color.

If you have a sink tip or full sink fly line I would bring it along with you as well. Depending on how the flows are this year will determine how bad the grass and moss is. When the floating debris is bad streamer fishing is a good approach to fishing. Sink tip or full sink lines help keep your flies below the floating salad, but don't get you deep enough to pick up the grasses that are still stuck to the bottom.

The Bighorn will fish well but be prepared for the grass and moss, keeping your flies clean this time of year can be challenging and is the difference between catching fish or not. Good luck with your trip, the Bighorn is a unique experience.

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