Saturday, March 15, 2014

First Day for Trout 2014: Let the Games Begin!

Dawn at the Pass on Good Luck Road 

It snowed 8 inches Monday night and by nightfall, the temperature had fallen to below zero. This winter has now officially lasted forever. On Tuesday, as the temps soared into the 30's, I decided I was going to go fishing on Friday come hell or high water. After loading up my car and strapping my kayak to its roof-rack on Thursday night, I apprehensively read the weather report for Friday… According to the National Weather Service, the winds were expected to blow at approximately 175 mph on Friday March 14, 2014. Maybe I was a bit off on that windspeed, but I wanted to dry fly fish and 20 mph is the same as 175 mph when you want to pitch a dry. In any case, the wind predictions were not good. What the hell, I decided to go anyway.

After this very long and cold winter, I am so very ready for spring and was fully prepared to force the issue. I left home with 24 degrees showing on my dash and when I put in on Montana's Bighorn River at 9:10 AM Friday morning it was 32 degrees. When I stepped out of my rig to arrange my shuttle, a midge-busting, dry fly killing 15-20 mph wind was blowing out of the NW.

As a result of the weather conditions, I sadly saw three fish rise the entire day. The flip side was I saw four other boats all day. Essentially, I had the whole river to myself. With the blustery winds, the dry fly fishing was nonexistent, but the nymphing was off the charts. I seriously could have caught as many fish as I wanted on nymphs.


I used a pink sow bug and a zebra midge to stick at least 30 fish over the course of the day. I paddled hard and fished rather nonchalantly instead choosing to explore side channels and sloughs looking for calm spots where big fish might be slurping midges. No Luck!

No matter, it was a good start to the season. Now I have all my gear ready to go and maybe I'll get a chance again next week!

and 'bows!


  1. Scott;
    Good start. Can you launch below the Yellowtail or do you have to float 10 miles to take out then hitch a ride back to your car? It's been years since I last fished the Bighorn.

  2. You can launch at the After Bay right below the dam, at 3 mile, at 13 mile (Bighorn access) and a Mallard's Landing (20 miles). I did 3-B which means 3 mile to Bighorn access. My shuttle cost 22 dollars. Not bad… I bought gas, gatorade, license (about $2.00 a pop for me for an out-of-state license since I get to go so many times in Montana), shuttle, Payday candy bars and 4 or 5 flies. Pretty cheap entertainment!

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  4. and let the games begin is fitting......this winter has been too long!

  5. I want to hear more about your trip!

  6. Digging out from work this week, plan on going through more pix and video and putting more on my blog least that's the plan. (also in rum withdrawals which isn't helping). And thanks for directing my mind to trout. Wish the Bighorn was that close to me!

  7. Hey Scott, Do you have any recommendations for a fishing kayak like you're using? I won't be rowing any big rapids. Lets say a Bighorn kayak or a river that may have the occasional rapid? Your thoughts on the used kayak market?Thanks, Chad