Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Hatches and Trout Flies for the Big Hole River
The hatches on the Big Hole River varies with the sections of the river. Not all the insects
are found throughout the entire length of the river. Some are only found in certain types of
water, so keep that in mind. You want find Trico mayflies in the fast water of the canyon
section, for example.
As with many other trout streams, the Blue-winged Olives are among the most important
hatches. They hatch over a long period of time and allow some dry fly fishing opportunities
that otherwise would not exist. The BWOs start hatching about the first of March. It can last
until the first of June. A second hatch takes place starting about the first of September. It
can last until the first of December, depending greatly on the weather.
Next to the BWOs, the most important mayfly is the Pale Morning Dun. They too hatch over
a long period of time, starting about the first of June and lasting until as late as the first of
The only other substantial hatch of mayflies are the Tricos. These hatch on the slower,
smoother sections of water during August and September.
Caddisflies are often the most important insects. Spotted Sedges are the most plentiful
species. They start hatching around the first of June and can last on into August. Their
Little Sister Caddisflies start about two weeks after the Spotted Sedges and hatch about
the same length of time. In the headwaters you will find some Great Gray Spotted Sedges
during the month of July. There are several other species of caddisflies in the Big Hole
River but they usually don't exist in plentiful quantities.
About the middle of June you will find three important species of stoneflies. The
Salmonflies usually start first. It can last for almost a month but it only occurs in the fast
water sections of the river. It is a huge hatch that is very popular with local guides. About
the first of July the Golden Stoneflies start hatching. They are found in the same type of
water as the Salmonflies.
The Yellow Sally, or Little Yellow Stoneflies, start hatching about the first of June and can
last until the first of September. They are found in more areas than the other larger
stoneflies but not in the slow water sections of the Big Hole.
Don't forget to have a good selection of streamer flies. The river has plenty of minnows,
baitfish species and sculpin. Streamers work great early and late in the day, and when the
water is stained from heavy rains.
Terrestrials become very important during the months of July, August and September.
Imitations of ants, beetles, and grasshoppers work great at times, especially in the meadow
Use our "Perfect Fly" hatch chart and select your flies for the time you will be fishing.
Please give our flies a chance to work for you if you haven't done so already. We feel
confident that you will be more than satisfied with them.
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