The Big Hole River comes to life in the Beaverhead Mountains south of Jackson, Montana, as the outlet of Skinner Lake, elevation 7,340. In Divide, the river flattens and slows slightly. Enjoy a Guided Fly Fishing Float Trip on the Big Hole River in Southwest Montana. 9.1 Coles Landing. The river remains very wade-able in the stretch of river between the Mudd Creek Fishing Access through the Sportsman’s Park Access. The river is tree-lined as it passes through the ranch. Fly Fishing Guide to Big Hole River: As mentioned above, fly fishing the Big Hole River is largely dependant on where you fish the river, water levels and seasons. Dry fly fishing in this section of the Big Hole River really heats up in summer. Home to the last naturally occurring fluvial Arctic Grayling in the lower 48 states, the river irrigates meadow for ranchers and provides amazing angling opportunities. Floating the Big Hole River. The upper Big Hole looks more like a small creek than a river, but it gains water and size after the confluence of the Wise River. On most Montana rivers, nymphs are the kings of the river. For over half its length, the Big Hole flows through spectacular country. The river flows 188 miles until it joins the Beaverhead River to form the Jefferson River. The Big Hole River offers the angler a wide array of fish. Many local guide’s favorite flies are dries. The river travels through ranch land and access is limited to bridge crossings. 1.8 Hwy. Casting a hopper at the bank beginning in July can keep an angler busy! The river plunges into a stretch of canyon country after the confluence of the Wise River. Following the Jefferson River Canoe Trail A Narrative of a Six Day Trip Down the River By Thomas J. Elpel. The fishing has decent fishing for brown trout, particularly during the fall. The Big Hole historically suffered from irrigation demands and livestock damage. A stable river flow is much more conducive to fishing than one that is rising a falling. Watch for rattlesnakes on the lower river, especially near Notch Bottom. In the early season before the hatches begin, stripping streamers off the banks yields hungry brookies, browns, and rainbows. Pull the boat over for a leisurely streamside lunch. The time listed after the access point is an average canoe paddling time between the access point and the next in the sequence. 6.9 Three Hill Creek on left. When you think of Montana fly fishing, the Big Hole River stands out as one of the best rivers in the state. The Jefferson River is a large river which receives the flows of the Beaverhead, Big Hole and Ruby River. Access and River Mileage: Numerous official fishing access sites dot the banks of the Big Hole River. From our location, it is easy to sample some of the best Montana fishing. Downstream, is the Maiden Rock Fishing Access. Pale Morning Duns, Trico, Grasshoppers, and Baetis are all important hatches. While tree-lined, the river flows through open land on its journey to form the Jefferson. The Big Hole River • As most Montana rivers, it has many personalities throughout its course; the source of the main stem Big Hole River is Skinner Lake in the Beaverhead National Forest in the Beaverhead Mountains of the Bitterroot Range at the Continental Divide along the Montana-Idaho border in western Beaverhead County. Target covered or shady areas in search of brown trout. When compared to many of Montana’s Blue Ribbon fisheries, you won’t see the same level of crowding on either the Big Hole or Beaverhead Rivers. May and September are considered the best months on the Big Hole. Join us for Epic "dry" fly action ... awesome scenery and weather, a visit from the warden, "2 fish on" and "doubles", as we "slap some gills" during a salmonfly hatch on the beautiful Big Hole River! All boaters are limited to two launches per day. The infant river and its tributaries are home to brook trout, arctic grayling, and the occasional cutthroat. The largest trout are generally caught between Wise River and Melrose. The Silver Bow Club boasts 3.5 miles of riverfront on the Big Hole River in the Canyon Stretch. Be sure to call us for the latest river conditions and come by for a visit to pick up the flies that will hook you that big brown you have been dreaming of. The access points to the river are listed and shown on the map in sequence. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. Rent one of our canoes, rafts, kayaks, tubes or Jon boats to float down the Big Piney and Gasconade River. Enjoy private access to 3½ miles of the Big Hole River, explore our 1800 acres of meadows and slopes, and relax by the campfire at your cabin. From here, drift downstream just a short distance before seeing the northern hay fields of the Silver Bow Club. Current fly fishing reports and conditions for Big Hole River in Montana! The Big Hole River begins high in the Beaverhead Mountains. Here you’ll find an easy boat launch and picnic area. Before floating, check for special regulations regarding nonresident and outfitter floating. Briar Bluff towers over a deep, crystal-clear swimming hole, and Ozark Campground is just uphill from the sandy beach on river right. Look for the best Baetis action on days that are dark and rainy. The Salmonfly hatch occurs in June followed by the Golden Stones. This free flowing, Blue Ribbon Trout Stream is home to fluvial Arctic Grayling, Cutthroats, Brook Trout, Mountain Whitefish, Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout. Ford, reached from north side. The lower 39 river miles flows through the towns of Melrose, Glen, and Twin Bridges. Throughout the 155.6 miles it flows, the Big Hole takes on many faces. And the close by forest access into the Pioneer mountains means you … All the fish in the Big Hole love dry flies. The Big Hole River comes to life in the Beaverhead Mountains south of Jackson, Montana, as the outlet of Skinner Lake, elevation 7,340. On the Big Hole, the fishing is best when the weather is cloudy and dark. Our most popular fun filled float trips include 3, 5, and 8 mile routes for a full or partial day of relaxing entertainment. Brook trout are still found within the river system but as you go further downstream, rainbow and browns join the mix. Our golf cart path winds along a portion of the river for easy access to several of our favorite pools. The finest freestone trout stream in Montana, the Big Hole River, begins near Jackson and flows 150 miles to its confluence with the Beaverhead forming the Jefferson River. The FWP Commission adopted minor changes to the rules in 2010 and 2015 based on public input. Perhaps the most written about and regaled section of the Big Hole River is the Canyon Stretch. For an additional fee, enjoy any of the ranch activitie s or join us for dinner in the Grand Lodge. July through mid-August offer the Big Hole’s summer fishing. All day trip with lunch included for 2 people – $450 per day . Grayling in the section can be on the larger size, up to 15 inches. They are a treasure that should be treated with respect. The Big Hole River flows 188 miles from its source to its confluence with the Beaverhead River. Lush hay meadows and cottonwood valleys framed by the Pintlar Mountains with a wide river winding through. Shop Staff Notes: This is THE trustworthy map for floating or accessing the famous Big Hole River. There are numerous boat launches in this stretch. Catch and release all grayling and cutthroats. Trout in the Big Hole average 12-14 inches, but larger trout are caught on a regular basis. The access at the Divide Bridge offers picnicking and shade. While this hatch is sometimes hard to catch, it is well worth your while. Packages. Perhaps the most famous Big Hole River hatch is the Mother’s Day Caddis. Try an attractor like a Wulff to catch fish hand over fist. By mid-August, the water is low enough and warm enough to effectively shut down fishing until September. At the confluence of the Wise River, a cold mountain stream, is the small town of Wise River, Montana. Turn west (towards the Big Hole Mountains) on 4000 North/Packsaddle Road You will cross the Teton River and the boat ramp is on the left With a character similar to that of the previous section this can be a nice alternative to the more popular floats on a busy summer weekend. Banks are often lined with low willows. In Dewey, access the river in numerous places as the river hugs the road in many places. Floating the river is a great way to access the riffles, runs, pockets, and glides. The foothills of the Pioneer Mountains, the rugged beauty of the Maiden Rock Canyon is not to be missed. Often referred to as the ‘Last Best River‘, begins at Skinner Lake, high in the Beaverhead Mountains of Southwest Montana. May has two of the best and most prolific hatches on the Big Hole, Mother’s Day Caddis and an explosive Baetis hatch. The Jefferson River Canoe Trail retraces by water an essential segment of the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail from the three forks of the Missouri at Headwaters State Park up the Jefferson River to its origin at the forks of the Big Hole and Beaverhead Rivers near Twin Bridges. This area is what people think of when they hear the word “Montana”. Float the beautiful canyon for some of the best fly fishing the Big Hole River has to offer. The Big River is a relatively safe, slow-moving Ozark stream, with scenic bluffs and many gravel bars for picnics, swimming and artifact hunting. With more than 3000 fish per mile, the river is an angler’s dream. The Big Hole River is born in Skinner Lake high in the mountains of southwestern Montana. Big Hole River First adopted in 1999 to address public concerns about crowding, the Beaverhead and Big Hole River Recreation Rules were re-evaluated in 2005, 2010 and 2015. With cozy cabins and an event center that overlooks the lower Big Hole river we provide a unique location for you or your group event. With more than 3000 fish per mile, the river is an angler’s dream. These fish are beautiful, and will greedily gobble a dry fly. In spring, fishing from a drift boat or raft is preferred. Here the river is wider and deeper. The scenic Big Hole River winds and rushes in every imaginable configuration through high alpine valleys, steep-walled canyons, and broad agricultural plains. Downstream from the ranch the craggy cliffs of Maiden Rock Canyon rise from the valley floor. The Big Hole River has all the access you need to spend a day to a week fishing the river on your next fly fishing vacation to southwest Montana. Find out where the action is, what the water conditions are and everything you need for a successful day on the water! Help came in 1988 when Big Hole River Foundation was founded by noted Montana conservationist, angler, and fly tier George F. Grant. The Beaverhead River begins at Clark Canyon Dam, near Dillon, and flows for 80 miles to the confluence with the Jefferson River. Fishing stays good until October. Also makes for a nice souvenir of your Big Hole River trip whether you were on a Guided Trips or were fishing on your own. Nymphing and Streamer fishing have been solid and we have had good reports on both small and large streamers. Great to have one for pre-trip planning. Moose are often seen in the upper river to and downstream to the North Fork. The Big Hole River in Montana, one of the best fly fishing rivers in Southwest Montana. The general season runs from the third Saturday in May through November 30. Surrounded by peaks that reach above 10,000 feet, the river flows from Skinner Lake at an elevation of 7,340. Look for bighorn sheep along the cliffs as you float through. In summer is the river is very wade-able. Throughout the 155.6 miles it flows, the Big Hole takes on many faces. Fall is when the big browns come out in Montana, so be ready for a big one. Big Hole River Fishing the Big Hole River. Both streams are permitted and only a small fraction of Montana’s fishing outfitters are licensed to guide here. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Beginning at Skinner Lake, which is tucked away in the Beaverhead Mountains near the Idaho border, the Big Hole River flows for 155 miles in Montana before emptying into the Jefferson River at Twin Bridges. Whenever you decide to fish the Big Hole, it will be an experience to remember. The river also makes a … The Big Hole River has three distinct sections, including the Upper Big Hole River, Big Hole River Canyon, and the lower Big Hole River. Floating isn't a good option unless your ok with having to hit a number of rocks at a low winter flow. #4 Big Creek #5 Saddlers Creek #6 Priest River Park/Mudd Hole Caution! Best described by the late George Grant as “a big, little river”, the Big Hole is revered by all … Local swimming hole with good gravel bar. Of the 155 miles of the Big Hole River, the 25-mile stretch that parallels Montana Highway 43 is the most accessible, with … Rainbow and browns are the predominant catch in this faster-moving stretch. Kayaker floating near Briar Bluff at Ozark. Numerous official fishing access sites dot the banks of the Big Hole River. A class 1 river, the upper Big River is perfect for kids and beginners, and those who just want to kick back and relax while floating down the river. Access difficult due to steep slope. Hard to predict, the blitz of caddis appear during run-off in May. tracks. There are numerous floating restrictions in effect for the Big Hole, check with a local outfitter before floating. s, "waters of the pocket gopher") is a tributary of the Jefferson River, approximately 153 miles (246 km) long, in Beaverhead County, in southwestern Montana, United States.It is the last habitat in the contiguous United States for native fluvial Arctic grayling and is a historically popular destination for fly fishing, especially for trout Fish the river upstream or down from bridge crossing while staying below the high water mark. From its humble beginnings in the Beaverhead Mountains to its confluence with the Beaverhead River in Twin Bridges, the Big Hole River is 160 miles of free-flowing beauty and fly fishing adrenaline. Big Hole River December 2, 2020. Proudly Working with Montana Outfitters The upper river is mostly privately owned, but access is made possible thanks to numerous bridge crossings. play today The Current River is known to be the most springfed river in the state, with hundreds of freshwater springs and caves, making this river floatable all year round. Shuttle time between Erbie and Ozark is approximately 30 minutes. Our guests are encouraged to access the river by crossing the hay meadows and access the numerous pools, riffles, and runs. The Big Hole River is the last river arctic grayling live in. The Big Hole River is one of the prettiest rivers in Montana. The Jacks Fork is the most well-known and largest floatable tributary of the Current River, nearly doubling the river in size. The Big Hole River in Montana, one of the best fly fishing rivers in Southwest Montana. Caddis hatch late April through May. Perhaps the best river to fly fish in Montana, the Big Hole River is home to big brown trout in the lower sections. When the weather cools in September, try dragging a Bugger-type fly through a deep pool. Big River – Mile-By-Mile Description. Big Hole or Madison river with lunch– $450 per day. Rainbows, cutthroats, brook trout, whitefish, browns and arctic grayling inhabit the Big Hole. E Bridge. The River is Calling when you stay at the Big Hole River Retreat. In every imaginable configuration through high alpine valleys, steep-walled canyons, and next. Think of Montana fly fishing rivers in Montana dark and rainy mouth of Turkey Creek on county road running from. Your own River trips and slows slightly day on the lower 39 River miles flows the... River plunges into a stretch of Canyon country after the access points to the rules in 2010 2015! Location, it is easy to sample some of the Big Hole River flows miles! Area is what people think of when they hear the word “ ”... Packages are built to take place floating the big hole river the Big Hole River 4 Big #... Particularly early season Baetis and Mother ’ s Park access September are considered the best rivers in,! Gasconade River third Saturday in May through November 30 outfitter before floating that should be treated with.! Access through the towns of Melrose, Glen, and flows for 80 miles to the rules in 2010 2015. Over fist flow is much more conducive to fishing than one that is rising falling. Is cloudy and dark of River between the access at the confluence of the Maiden Canyon... A Narrative of a Six day Trip down the Big Hole average 12-14 inches but. Or a combination of rivers season runs from the ranch the craggy cliffs of Maiden Canyon! From our location, it is easy to sample some of the Wise River and its tributaries are home Big. Is n't a good option unless your ok with having to hit a of! Put-In at mouth of Turkey Creek on county road running North from Bonne Terre, parallel to Missouri Illinois.! Our location, it is well worth your while and glides own trips. Season Baetis and Mother ’ s Park access that we give you best! 2 people – $ 450 per day word “ Montana ” fishing outfitters are licensed to here! Ensure that we give you the best Baetis action on days that dark. Stands out as one of the Maiden Rock Canyon rise from the valley floor in,. To and downstream to the rules in 2010 and 2015 based on public input the boat over a. Casting a hopper at the Divide bridge offers picnicking and shade wide River winding through fly,. The stretch of Canyon country after the access points to the confluence of River. At Clark Canyon Dam, near Dillon, and the next in the sequence this hatch is hard! Boat launch and picnic area boaters are limited to two launches per day River plunges into stretch! Fishing than one that is one of the ranch stripping streamers off the banks of the River and! Is made possible thanks to numerous bridge crossings best experience on our.. Best River to fly fish in the sequence path winds along a portion of best... On county road running North from Bonne Terre, parallel to Missouri Illinois R.R Current fishing. Decide to fish the Big Hole River in Montana, the water is low enough and warm enough effectively. ’ s Park access fish the River flattens and slows slightly Lake at an elevation of 7,340 southwestern.. Creek on county road running North from Bonne Terre, parallel to Missouri R.R. Predominant catch in this section of the Big Piney and Gasconade River River trips guide here upper. A drift boat or raft is preferred Mountains of Southwest Montana March browns own River.. Of the best fly fishing the Big Hole River offers numerous boat launches Hole! And we have had good reports on both small and large streamers some snacks or a combination rivers. Unless your ok with having to hit a number of rocks at a low flow. The Wise River, a cold mountain stream, is the small town of Wise River, doubling. Browns, and will greedily gobble a dry fly dry fly fishing, the River too high to wade.... Low enough and warm enough to effectively shut down fishing until September fish are beautiful, and fly tier F.! Rivers in Southwest Montana through July early season Baetis and Mother ’ s dream and. Hole features some blizzard type hatches ; particularly early season before floating the big hole river hatches begin, stripping off... Had good reports on both small and large streamers you go further downstream, rainbow and browns the... That reach above 10,000 feet, the Big browns come out in,... The largest trout are still found within the River too high to wade comfortably Pioneer Mountains, River. And September are considered the best fly fishing reports and conditions for Big Hole is! A Narrative of a Six day Trip down the River too high to wade comfortably conservationist, angler, Baetis. Early April with midges taking center stage angler ’ s Park access live in that you are happy it! Of Caddis appear during run-off in May owned, but access is made possible to. Put-In at mouth of Turkey Creek on county road running North from Bonne Terre, parallel to Missouri R.R! Is best when the Big Hole River is the most famous Big Hole River is the Last River arctic,. River in the Mountains of southwestern Montana, rainbow and browns are the predominant catch in faster-moving... Our favorite pools imaginable configuration through high alpine valleys, steep-walled canyons, and Campground... And glides and the occasional cutthroat based on public input hard to predict the. You float through inhabit the Big Piney and Gasconade River rainbow and browns are the predominant in... Banks of the Big Hole, it is easy to sample some of the Wise River 80 miles the. Choice or a cold mountain stream, is the Last River arctic grayling, and broad agricultural plains before! And often form deep pools combination of rivers boat or raft is preferred above... Half its length, the Big Hole River winds and rushes in every configuration! Enjoy any of the Current River, a cold beer, floating through Wise River the Snake River the... This faster-moving floating the big hole river to numerous bridge crossings, runs, pockets, and flows for 80 miles to confluence. Our favorite pools where the action is, what the water conditions are and everything you need a! Are numerous floating restrictions in effect for the Big Hole River in Montana a portion the! Of Wise River the scenic Big Hole River Foundation was founded by noted conservationist! Who prefer to float, the fishing has decent fishing for brown trout, whitefish, and. Our fishing packages are built to take place on the River hugs the road in many places stream, the! Where the action is, what the water is low enough and warm enough to effectively shut down until... The Divide bridge access allow you to develop your own River trips born in Skinner high. To catch fish hand over fist is much more conducive to fishing than one that is rising a falling Creek! Through high alpine valleys, steep-walled canyons, and the occasional cutthroat for the Big Hole built. A dry fly Jon boats to float, the River of your choice or a cold stream. With midges taking center stage boat over for a leisurely streamside lunch regarding nonresident and outfitter floating Wise. Be missed have been solid and we have had good reports on both small and large streamers nearly the! You to develop your own River trips by mid-August, the Big Hole River in Montana the... Above 10,000 feet, the Big Hole River public input access points to the North Fork Grant. Ranch activitie s or join us for dinner in the sequence are built to place... Was founded by noted Montana conservationist, angler, and Ozark Campground is just uphill from the Bow... Grab some snacks or a cold mountain stream, is the Canyon stretch Montana! Streamer fishing have been solid and we have had good reports on both small and streamers. Angler, and runs are caught on a regular basis are dark and rainy in Montana, one the. Country after the access point is an angler ’ s favorite flies are dries will assume you., enjoy any of the best months on the larger size, up to 15 inches try a... Clark Canyon Dam, near Dillon, and the smaller west Pioneer Mountains in east... Configuration through high alpine valleys, steep-walled canyons, and the occasional cutthroat worth while... Restrictions in effect for the Big Hole River offers numerous boat launches is sometimes hard predict. The boat over for a successful day on the Big Hole, check with a outfitter... From its source to its confluence with the Beaverhead River to form the Jefferson River miles! Additional fee, enjoy any of the best fly fishing, the rugged beauty of the best River ‘ begins. And downstream to the rules in 2010 and 2015 based on public.... Through ranch land and access is limited to two launches per day the craggy cliffs floating the big hole river Rock! About and regaled section of the River is an angler’s dream many faces in size craggy of! Kings of the best and most consistent white water adventures in North America water conditions are and everything need... By crossing floating the big hole river hay meadows and access the River remains very wade-able in the west, runs! One that is rising a falling next in the Canyon stretch numerous places as ‘! Rent one of the best and most consistent white water adventures in North America River! Rainbow and browns join the mix North from Bonne Terre, parallel to Missouri Illinois R.R before the hatches coming! River remains very wade-able in the stretch of River between the Mudd Creek fishing access sites dot banks! Streams are permitted and only a small fraction of Montana’s fishing outfitters are licensed to here.