Bighorn River Fishing Report Early May 2018

Date: May 5, 2018
Flows: 7500 CFS
Water Temp: 41 F

It is shaping up to be a great spring here on the Bighorn. Both water clarity and temperatures are right where they should be, giving us opportunity to fish dries, nymphs, and streamers. As of late we have seen both BWO’s and midges, as well as some tan caddis in the early mornings and evenings. Midges and BWO’s have been plentiful in the late afternoon stretching into the evening. Search for pods of fish and keep the bugs small. A smoke jumper or a student trailing a Griffith’s gnat or a midge cluster has been a great setup.

The streamer bite has picked up pace in the last week or so. Much like last year, emerald shiners have spilled into the river giving the fish plenty to hunt down. Smaller, white patterns have been the ticket. Sparkle Minnows, Buggers, Aztecs have all produced. Dead drifting a small bugger under an indicator has been a great option as well. Much like last year near this time, the evenings have brought slashy surface eats as fish are exploding on shiners. A weightless streamer or a gurgler-style bug has been great as the sun goes down.

Nymphing has still been very productive as well. A 9 foot leader with a 3/0 split shot has been necessary to get your bugs down. Firebead Rays, sowbugs, midge and baetis patterns have all fared well. Being we have been seeing natural caddis, a bubble-yum scud or a hare’s ear  have picked up fish here and there as well. As water temps rise fish are moving into bigger water, so target the in-between water where the slow meets the fast. Don’t be afraid to fish the skinny water as well.

It seems as though everything is about a month behind on the Bighorn so far. If water temps stay consistent, we should be in for a great couple of months of BWO and midge fishing. As far as river flows go, things are looking very promising this season. As long as the weather cooperates, we should be near peak for the season, meaning we could see decreases in flows as soon as June. Follow along with the snowpack and river conditions at https://bighornriveralliance.org/current-river-flows/ .

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