The Bighorn River is a fertile tailwater fishery that offers a high fish per mile population. If you are a dry fly enthusiast then the Bighorn will put your skills to the test with accurate casts and fine tippet. Using a drift boat allows us to jump from spot to spot, not only fishing from the boat but stopping to wade some of the runs holding numerous rainbows and browns. All guided trips on the Bighorn are two-day minimums from November 1st through April.
The Bighorn River is located in eastern Montana, on the Crow Indian Reservation near Fort Smith, Montana. Offering year-round fly fishing, the Bighorn is considered the cream of the crop, not only in Montana but in the fly fishing world! In the first 13 miles from the Afterbay to Bighorn fishing access, the fish per mile has been estimated as high as 6,000 trout per mile, averaging 14 inches, though it’s not uncommon to take trout over 20 inches. With its fame come crowds. It is hard to find a time when you are the only boat on the river, especially during the summer months. To avoid the crowds, I recommend floating with Trout On The Fly from November through April. The Bighorn can be a great alternative when the Yellowstone and Gallatin Rivers are “blown out” during runoff months of late May/early June. Like on the Missouri River, smaller flies and lighter tippet, down to 6x, is not uncommon on the Bighorn. Watch out in late October into early November when Bighorn Lake turns over and moss fills the river – you could end up spending more time picking moss out of your fly and line than fishing.
Depending on river conditions or time of year we may recommend our jet boat trip on the Bighorn River. When the water is high and fast, having the opportunity to motor back up to a run and float trough again can make the difference in a great day and a fair day. State law allows us to use motors from where the Bighorn flows into the Yellowstone River up to Bighorn Fishing Access.
Guided trips on the Bighorn River have a two-day minimum from November 1st through April. At Trout On The Fly, we are happy to help you find accommodations, but lodging is not included in the price of the trip.