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Old 01-19-2009, 07:07 PM
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Default Big Horn Report

Thought I'd pass this report along fyi.

Flow is at 2450 cfs. Water temperature at the Afterbay is 39 degrees. Grass is gone and the bottom is pretty clean. A little moss here and there. The reservoir level is 91.5 % full. Which is historic high for this time of year. Current snowpack is 105-115% of average. The browns have not completed the spawn yet but should be done shortly.
There are some midges hatching at the warmest part of the day which is about noon to 2:30. I also observed a small amount of baetis hatching at that same time.
We caught fish on both streamers and nymphs. With streamers I used a full sinking line or a Teeny T300 line. As for nymphing most of the fish are in the slower deeper water. There are some up in the riffles but only at the warmest part of the day. For nymphing we used scuds size 14-18, in orange or pink. Also, soft hackles sow bugs, pink or tan, size 16-18. Black midge pupae sizes 18-20.
The takes are very subtle. They are not moving to eat the fly, if you put it on their nose, they eat it. Therefore, you know my advice, set the hook frequently so you can feel the take.

steve
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Old 01-19-2009, 10:37 PM
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Default Re: Big Horn Report

Steve

Thanks for the fishing report, sounds just like the conditions at the Grey Reef.

Larry
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Old 01-20-2009, 10:33 AM
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Default Re: Big Horn Report

Very nice report Whizzer! Is it floatable at 2450??? Just curious. I have never hit the Big Horn, but i want to this summer, but hear it gets real busy. How long of a drive from Ft. Collins??
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Old 01-20-2009, 12:13 PM
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Default Re: Big Horn Report

ColoradoKid,
The Bighorn is almost always float able. 2450 is a very nice flow for the river and is around the target flow that the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks would like to see maintained for the trout. During years of drought it has been down around 1200 and it does get high flows of 7 to 10 thousand when the inflow into the reservoir merits it.
As far as it being busy, this is true most of the year. It does have a lot of anglers on it from March through November so if your looking for solitude it is not going to foot the bill. However if you go with the understanding that there are going to be people and that you may not get to fish all the holes you want to than it really is not that big of a deal. It just takes a different mindset and good sense of humor to enjoy yourself on the river. There are plenty of fish for everyone and most of the people will be friendly. You will have a few people each day that either show poor attitudes and poor etiquette but you just have to let it go and know that they aren't going to ruin your day. My best word of advice is to be friendly and if you are not sure if you are too close to another angler just ask them, they will either tell you to get lost or they may show you a hot pattern and share their space with you. The Bighorn is a unique place to fish and can be a tremendous experience if you approach it with a good attitude and understanding that it is not a remote solitary fishery.
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Old 01-20-2009, 01:06 PM
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Default Re: Big Horn Report

Thanks for info Biggie! Popular tailwaters in here CO are as just how you described the BH. I am use to crowded rivers, so its no problem. You seem to know a lot about that area. Im hoping to spend a week this summmer in Montana and Idaho fishing. It such a pleasure to fish new waters.

Thanks again

Tight Lines!!!!!!!!!
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Old 01-20-2009, 06:20 PM
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Default Re: Big Horn Report

heya CK!

"How long of a drive from Ft. Collins??"

it's 6-1/2 hours straight up 25 to fort smith. pretty easy drive if the wind ain't blowin' . i try to leave after work and fish 2 days then head back after second day. pm me if you have an interest!

biggie is spot on in all respects.

the people have never really been a problem for me. as biggie said u may skip a hole or two, but there always seems to be plenty of fishing. being able to pull up and wade fish is really advantageous. i truly enjoy the "Horn".

'course i love our home tailwaters and rivers too. it's all good!

Steve
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Old 02-27-2009, 07:16 PM
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Default Re: Big Horn Report

here's an update for those who may have an interest in heading to the "Horn"

River update
River flows have been averaging 2400 all winter. The reservoir is at 88% capacity. The overall snowpack looks good and is about average for this time of year. In this part of the country we get about a third of our yearly moisture from March through June. So things are looking good in that department.
Water temperature in the river has warmed up a bit to 40-42 degrees on average. The trout are still in their winter feeding mode, meaning most of them are holding in the slower, deeper water. That is why we always recommend using two flies to double your chances of the trout seeing your flies in the strike zone. In most winter fishing you have to put the fly right on the fishes nose. They don’t move far for a fly. Also make sure you have your flies on or near the bottom.
For nymphing we are using sow bugs, size 18-20, scuds, size 16-20, baetis nymphs, size 16-18, and midge pupae, size 18-20.
Remember the take will be very subtle. On cloudy days, we are seeing a hatch of midges and baetis. Some fish are on them but the water is still cold. As the water warms up a little bit, we should see more fish and insect activity.
Streamers are still working if you find the pattern and color they want that day. Fish them slowly.
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