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Big Horn River, Ft. Smith MT.

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2009/7/14 22:13
From Tailwater USA
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Well CCAS made its annual swing through Montana to spend time on some of the nation’s finest tailwater fisheries. Our annual pilgrimage started in Ft. Smith Montana for three days on the Bighorn River. It started hot as upon our arrival to Ft. Smith, TB on his first cast stuck a 23” brown on an olive streamer that would set the tone for the week! That was the only cast of the evening due to the mosquitoes! One cast one fish! On our first real day on the Horn, we floated from the Afterbay access to the 13 mile access and nymphed trout all day long from 14-21 inches. Hot nymphs were consistent with the tailwater standards, Gray Ray Charles (#16), red midge patterns (18-22) and some standard small nymphs (16-20). After nymphing for much of the day, we switched gears and fished streamers hard for the remainder of the float. The streamer bite was so hot we decided to fish the remaining two days solely with streamers from the Afterbay to Mallards, approximately 26 miles of river. Streamer action was so hot that we actually attempted to count the number of takes and follows, after we got to 300 we decided we didn’t need to keep count anymore. Overall the fishing conditions were great because the Bureau of Reclamation dropped the Bighorn flows 1,500 CFS each day. By the time we left Fort Smith the flow on the Bighorn was down to 8,500 CFS. Dry fly action was limited, but there was action to be had fishing size 10-14 Yellow Sallies. These small yellow stones were hatching well on the lower river below the 13 mile access.
After 3 days we left Fort Smith and ventured back to Bozeman to set up camp. Fishing around Bozeman was very limited due to the amount of remaining snowpack has most if not all of the rivers and creeks high and unfishable. The Yellowstone River in particular was running around 33,000 CFS and will not be fishable until late August we believe. This is a tremendous blow to the local fishing economy. However CCAS worked it out as we fished a prime spot on the Madison River. We found a nice honey hole that produced over 150 trout in less than 4 hours! The rainbows were worm crazy that afternoon. We caught fish consistently on streamers and even one on a stimulator as well! The next day we ventured into Yellowstone National Park to take in some Geological Features and then fished Grayling Creek and the Gibbon. Fishing was tough but we managed some small trout on large attractor patterns which was a nice change. Later in the day we returned to our spot on the Madison and continued to catch nice rainbows, browns and some whitefish.

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Posted on: 2011/7/8 12:15


Re: Big Horn River, Ft. Smith MT.

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2007/3/6 10:54
From West Chester, PA
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It was a real adventure! Some of the non-fishing highlights consisted of a major on the river hook removal from my hand, great nightlife in bozeman, and a broken 6 wt streamer rod while fighting a fish!

More pix can be viewed on our site @ www.catchingchrome.com


Posted on: 2011/7/8 15:33


Re: Big Horn River, Ft. Smith MT.

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2007/1/2 11:55
From Bozeman
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Soon...

Posted on: 2011/7/8 15:58


Re: Big Horn River, Ft. Smith MT.
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Nice!

Posted on: 2011/7/9 7:26


Re: Big Horn River, Ft. Smith MT.

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2009/4/4 8:58
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Was the pictured spillway on the Madison or the Bighorn? BTW nice fish! Seems like you did allright for yourselves consideriing all the high water out there!

Posted on: 2011/7/9 11:03


Re: Big Horn River, Ft. Smith MT.

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Madison. Below Hebgen Lake. It was a great time. Fishing was great even though conditions were tough!

Posted on: 2011/7/9 12:09


Re: Big Horn River, Ft. Smith MT.

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Quote:

CatchingChrome wrote:
Madison. Below Hebgen Lake. It was a great time. Fishing was great even though conditions were tough!


I thought I recognized it as the Madison. I spent sometime fishing that area a few years ago. There is a great bar to wet your whistle just above the spillway. I think it's called the "Happy Hour". Good memories. I am going back out next year for sure!

Posted on: 2011/7/9 16:17


Re: Big Horn River, Ft. Smith MT.

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2006/9/11 10:32
From Berks County
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So, you were one of the 50 people below the dam in that 200 yard stretch. I passed that up. I felt like I was in Pennsylvania. I don't understand why people anchor drift boats to wade fish that stretch. I'm not saying that was you, but that is what I witnessed.

Posted on: 2011/7/12 8:44


Re: Big Horn River, Ft. Smith MT.

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2007/3/6 10:54
From West Chester, PA
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Troy, I'm not exactly sure what you are referring to. We did stop a bit throughout the entire top 13 miles. We really enjoy wet wading and sight fishing. Funny thing is you stop in the morning for an hour or two, let the boats go by and then never see another boat the rest of the day!...;) We never really fished around dudes the entire week!

Posted on: 2011/7/12 12:47


Re: Big Horn River, Ft. Smith MT.

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2006/9/11 10:32
From Berks County
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TBD,
I was at that area of Montana from 07/01 - 07/05. The area immediately below Hebgen ("between the lakes") was very crowded. There were people fishing right on top of each other. I also saw driftboats docked on the bank. I just don't understand the need for a driftboat for that short of a stretch to Quake Lake.

Posted on: 2011/7/12 12:57


Re: Big Horn River, Ft. Smith MT.

Joined:
2007/3/6 10:54
From West Chester, PA
Posts: 609
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Gotcha. i thought you were talking about the Bighorn!..:) I agree, there is no need for a boat between Hebgen and Quake. I can see why some outfitters were doing it though - it was an easy way to bump away from the people and they were limited on the # of local waters where they could float.

I hear ya about the people but we went there the evening of 7/3 and 7/4 and there weren't many, if any, people. We literally fished a 1/4 section without seeing a person. Usually for MT this wouldn't be a big thing, but with so few legit stretches of river fishable we were happy with how it played out.


Posted on: 2011/7/12 13:54


Re: Big Horn River, Ft. Smith MT.

Joined:
2006/9/11 10:32
From Berks County
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I did notice on 07/04 that it wasn't that crowded. That was our fourth night of camping along Beaver Creek and were just plain exhausted from fishing and partying. We decided not to fish that day and just relax. We were headed to Hamilton the next day. At least you got some nice fishing in. I can't say that for us. We were just wading and it was extremely tough. The Madison, below Quake, was the easiest river we encountered for non-boating.

Posted on: 2011/7/13 8:26


Re: Big Horn River, Ft. Smith MT.

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2007/3/6 10:54
From West Chester, PA
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Yeah, it was a bit off compared to normal years, but the Madison was not the only game. We found a good bit of fishable water in the park, as expected, though the lure of the big Madison fish was too much for us to take!..:) The Bighorn was a great "sure thing" that set a nice tone for our trip. Nights in Bozeman were a fun change of pace. Would love to be out there now!

Tight Lines

TB

Posted on: 2011/7/13 9:19


Re: Big Horn River, Ft. Smith MT.

Joined:
2006/9/11 10:32
From Berks County
Posts: 484
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We did see that the park waters were looking pretty good. We were only in there one day and that was for my girlfriend who was never there. We should have fished, but sightseeing took enough of our time. It was fun even though the conditions weren't great. I'm glad you had a good trip. Take care!

Troy

Posted on: 2011/7/13 9:48


Re: Big Horn River, Ft. Smith MT.

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2009/9/9 13:21
From North Central PA
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33 days and a wake up and I'll be in Bozeman! 6 days of Montana trouty goodness.

Posted on: 2011/7/13 12:29
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