Apr 4, 2011

On the Bighorn, Eight Was Untouchable

I was amazed to discover no trout are stocked in the Bighorn. At times there are 8000 fish per mile with a sixteen inch average being typical and blasé.  March is a great time to fish in light crowds and low flow.  Remember to bring some layers though...there is a chance of cold and snow.

That's right, I can rhyme like Busta.

Uncork the flasks boys, we're going to freeze!

On March 25th, 2011 eighteen men left their lives behind to seek fun and adventure on the Bighorn River.  The weather was cold. The fishing spectacular. Nostrils dripped in the cold air. Whiskey was poured and shrubbery hydrated.  Fun and adventure were as easy to find as big fish and a bottle's bottom.

Ahhh, that's better.

We floated ten or thirteen miles per day starting at either the three mile put in or Yellowtail dam. We did most of the catching in waders, while the drift boats pulled on their anchors.  The trout seemed to be distributed between thirteen and eighteen inches. Everyone caught fish, some more than others.

My first and largest: The Winner

My first ever wild rainbow went 20(ish) inches and netted me a major award for biggest fish.  The smallest trout was Frank's eight incher and with it he won the white fish pot.  That pot grew all weekend; each white fish added $10. By Monday everyone was hoping for a dink...but even the twelve inch mark proved difficult.  Eight was untouchable.

A feast fit for kings

The fish were dining on midges, baetis and scuds, the later being a staple.  At times the flies were swarming but we never really found any feeding on the surface. My newly tied dries remained dry while #16-18 emergers and scuds were flies of choice. I had to quickly learn how to fish with bobbers indicators and every time I looked in the box for a new treat my mind was blown. How can fish grow so big on such tiny fare? I gave up the thought...they were biting regardless of my ideas on the subject.

Meh, just average

Enjoy the video, in HD if you think you can handle it. A boat load of pictures comin' at cha tomorrow....

The fridge: 30 stones left Montana as they came


  1. great video clif. love the intro. great shots. looks like the trip was amazing and congrats on the biggest fish award. Glad Montana treated you well with snow and wild trout. That is the calling card of Montana rivers - all wild and no stockers.

  2. Yep, Welcome to MT fishing!! Large fish on small bugs...it's awesome. I love the color of the fish up there...just very healthy.

  3. also, i am glad to see some high life was had. although, it tastes much better in glass.

  4. @Ivan & RD: Yep, that was pretty spectacular. Videos and pictures don't do it justice.

    @Ivan: In a glass? Well la-dee-da, I'm so pleased you decided to slum it today and read my blog.

    I prefer my high life in the can, the way god intended.

  5. Good work...especially the last photo. Looks like the trip was great fun. Jealous is not the word.

  6. when god told me I should live the high life, he said unto me, "go glass, young ivan. go glass."

  7. which I took to mean, if i want to live a level above the norm, I must only ingest my high life beer from glass bottles. so sayeth the lord.

  8. @T-Rage: it was interesting to see which beers disappeared first. That picture was taken on the third morning...it's pretty much picked over there. By then we were on the whiskey.

    @Ivan: Sounds familiar, god pulls that crap on people all the time. Or so he told me over canned beer and a twist of tobacco.

  9. Clif, I love the mix of fishing and drunk talk in the video because it perfectly describes a perfect fishing trip!

  10. Clif, great video, I really enjoyed it. So, you're a trout fisherman now huh? Congrats on the bigun.

  11. I'd say I was happy for you, but I'd have pushed you in the river if I was there. You sorry, no-good, trout slayer you! :)

    Looks like a beer party where some fishing broke out. lol

  12. @Tim: Glad you enjoyed it, I think the talk alone is something that can only be truly appreciated if you were there...so I added video and music.

    @Howie: Thank you, did you also know I caught the biggest trout?

    @owl: I didn't slay any fish, but I sure ate 'em up.


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