Streams Outside of Yellowstone National Park
.............................Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park

12/27/08

Fly Fishing the Big Hole River - Part Two

If you read part one, you know that our first day on the Big Hole was not a good one.
We attempted to fish near Wisdom in the Big Hole Valley where misquetoes are
probably as bad as they get during the month of July. The river is basically a meadow
stream that winds back and forth through the almost flat valley. The flows are smooth
and from a flow standpoint, the water looks more like a spring creek than it does a
freestone stream. Most all of the property is private farming and ranching land.

The water around the Wisdom area has brook and cutthroat trout along with some
rainbow trout and grayling. This is supposed to be the best area of the river for
grayling but we cannot attest to that because we have not caught any fish in this
section. We visited this area during the fall and found the water extremely low and did
not fish in that particular area. I was told by the locals that most of the water was
diverted to the ranches and farms. The misquotes were gone but the fishing was still
not very good because of the low flows.

Below Wisdom down to the intersection of highway 274 and highway 43, the river is still
a slow to moderately moving meadow type stream but much better access is available.
We are told that this area can be good in the early season before high water arrives
from the runoff. We have not fished there during the spring.

Below the intersection of 274 and 43, down to Divide, the river makes a turn and
changes character. It goes through a canyon section and the flows change to riffles,
runs and pools. The Wise River adds to the flow. The fish population changes to more
rainbows, a few browns, maybe a few grayling and whitefish. Access is very good
through this stretch of the river.

This is the area we fished our third day on our first trip to the Big Hole during July. The
misquotes were still present but were only a small fraction of what existed near
Wisdom. We were able to catch several rainbow trout and some whitefish in the pocket
water sections. Most of the fish were taken on a nymph but a couple did take a dry fly.
We didn't see anything hatching and the action was slow but at least we were doing
better. Since that first trip to the Big Hole, we have managed to do very well in this area
of the river. The best part of the Big Hole is still downstream of this area. I will write
about it tomorrow.

Copyright 2008 James Marsh
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