Big Horn River

The Big Horn River

Located in Southeastern Montana this is one river every fly-fisher should fish at least once in there lifetime.  You will be spoiled on the size & quantity of the fish in this river.  The Big Horn flows through the Crow Indian Reservation &  thousands of acres of wheat fields..   The river is backed up by the Yellowtail Dam.  There are some laws that have to be respected while floating the Big Horn.  Since it does flow through the tribal land, the Crow Indians laws apply.  Anglers must stay at the high water mark at all times, except the designated public access points.  There is also no alcoholic beverages sold on the reservation, so if you wish to have a cold beer while fishing you will have to bring your own.

The trout in the river are primarily browns with a ratio of 8 to 1 to that of the rainbow.  There are also small numbers of whitefish, sculpin, carp, walleye, & northern pike.  The lower river has a small population of ling, catfish, & sauger.

Caddis, mayflies, stoneflies, & midges are the most prolific insect on the river.  The Big Horn is also famous for its large number of scuds, which the trout feed on regularly and grow quite large on.  Sow bugs & Scud patterns are a local favorite.  San Juan worms are also a productive pattern for the Big Horn.  Like any other western river, nymph fishing is the norm in spring & fall with the dries being most productive in the warmer months of summer.   There are times however when the dry fly fishing in spring can be fantastic.   The Big Horn sees hatches of Golden Stones, P.M.D.'s, B.W.O's,  & also a little black Caddis fly.

The Big Horn should be on every fly fishers list of rivers to fish.

For the latest river flow and water temperature cast here!

If you would like to purchase a detailed map of the Big Horn, click here.


Here are just a few recommend patterns for the Big Horn.  Your guide will have many more.


Sow Bugs 10-16 Orange, Yellow, Pink, Brw, Olive
Scuds 10-16 Orange, Yellow, Pink, Brw, Olive
Griffith Gnat 12-20 Standard
Para-Adam's 10-18 Standard
B.W.O. 14-20 Standard
P.M.D. 12-16 Standard
Wolly-Bugger 4-10 Orange, Olive, Yellow, Blk, Brw
Henryville Caddis 12-16 Standard
San Juan Worm 10-14 Red, White, Wine
Pheasant Tail 8-16 Standard



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