08-22-2008, 04:37 PM
Re: hi all
Welcome to the board!
The bighorn can be tough. A lot of the fish have gone to college. Your best bet would be a local fly shop as JC suggested, or some members of this forum out your way that can update you on local conditions and hatches.
You’ve gotten great advice about the stuff to take with you, and the polarized glasses will really help. Try to take a few minutes every so often to look at the surface of the water for any signs of a hatch, and just above the treeline to see if there is a flight developing that may be hitting the water soon to lay eggs. Try to match it in #1 size and #2 shade (light, med. dark).
If you’re a long way from a shop, or if no one else chimes in, here’s some advice from far far away, but kinda sorta would be a good place to start on the Big Horn around now.... I think….
Dry Flies: Try to get a drag free drift so the fly is moving at the same speed as the current. Google “mending fly line midcurrent “and “reach cast” for some tips. Try to position yourself so you’re fishing with short casts to likely holding water, rather than long casts that cross water with several different current speeds.
Tan Caddis Elk Hair Caddis or Tan X- Caddis 14-18 are good all season. The X caddis is better in slow water, the EHC for fast water and riffles. They’re both good searching flies
Black Caddis- CDC Black Caddis 18-20 August and September hatch out there
Pale Morning Dun- PMD Sparkle Dun 16-18 medium size pale yellowish mayfly for July, August and September
Blue Wing Olive- Parachute BWO, or BWO Sparkle Dun16-20 a lot of mayflies that hatch all season can be matched with this
Midges Griffiths Gnat 18-20 You’ve got a ton of really small stuff 24,26 etc, This imitates a cluster/orgy of them and is easier to see.
Tricos 18-20 or Griffiths Gnat small black or green mayfly in August and September
Yellow Sallies 16-18 (a small yellow stonefly) August. Good in fast water riffles.
Grasshopper 8-10 cast along bank August September. They struggle in the water, so give it a twitch. It’s a good one to throw, and is a big enough meal that fish will move to it if you’re casting is off a little.
Streamers- cast to bank , into pools/deeper sections, or across stream, let settle, and rip back – strip, strip, strip, pause retrieve. Easy to fish and could get you a bragging size brown.
Bead head Woolly Bugger, black 8
Marabou Muddler Black and/or a big sculpin pattern size 6
Zonker size 6
Wets – cast across and let swing downstream and let it hang a bit in the current so it rises to the surface. Easy to fish, and good searching flies when there is no action on the surface. Good to use working your way downstream back to the truck if you fished dries upstream. And top water stuff has slowed. These imitate emerging or drowned mayflies and caddis.
Partridge and Orange Soft hackle 16
Bright Green Emergent Sparkle Pupae 14
Scud orange or pink 16 Scuds and sowbugs are crustaceans that live in the bighorn year round.
Nymphs- can be hard to fish at first. Best bet would be to hang one off a short- 6-12” piece of tippet tied to the bend of a dry fly one size larger than the nymph, on a one size thinner X tippet, Watch the dry as a “bobber”, but you may get fish on either one.
Bead Head Pheasant Tail Nymph 14-18 A good PMD or BWO nymph imitation
Ray Charles 16-20 midge imitation
You’ll also want to get a couple different spools of tippet (level limp mono) to tie onto the end of your leader. A length of 24” should be about right. This will allow you to change flies without cutting your leader, and should be sized to match your fly. Thinner tippet for small stuff, thicker for big stuff. A rough rule of thumb is to take the size of the hook divided by 3 = X size tippet. So a fly on a size 12 would use a 4X tippet. This will help layout the fly on the cast, and get a good drift in moving water. It doesn’t have to be exact, but it should be close.
6X for 18-20
5X for 16-14
4X for 12-14 dries
3X for 10 dries, #8 wooly bugger and big streamers
2X for big streamers
Hope this helps some.