Bighorn River Fishing Report

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Where does this river begin? This question remained unanswered well into the 19th century. In fact, the Wind River and the Bighorn River are one body of water artificially divided by two names. Because the river’s course is largely set by the surrounding mountain ranges, The Wind River Range that extends southeast to northwest along the continental divide and the Bighorn Range that rises east of Shoshoni and curves north to Montana, the river changes direction and appearance more than once during its long journey. Overhearing Native Americans describe this basin, mountain men, adventurers and mapmakers just assumed they were talking about different rivers. 


Today the Bighorn River arbitrarily starts at the end of Wind River Canyon at a spot known as the Wedding of the Waters near the town of Thermopolis. From Thermopolis to about 20 miles below the Wind River Canyon, the river runs cold enough to support ample trout, with the best fishing actually beginning on the Wind River below the Boysen Reservoir, 15 miles upstream. Roadside access to this year round, world-class destination is unlimited as long as you obtain a Wind River Indian Reservation fishing permit.

 

One of the vagaries of Wyoming law is that landowners can own and control access to shorelines and riverbeds, making it illegal for anglers to wade or anchor in private water. Thankfully, most of the Bighorn River around Thermopolis is owned by the town, which provides many points of public access. You’ll be fine with the law if you wade upstream or down, as long as you stay below the high-water mark. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has designated several fishing access points and easements over private lands to provide public use of the river.
 
Featured Fishing Trips
Guided Fishing Trips
$
595
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 2 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
1 day
The Bighorn River is one of the best tail-water fisheries in the world. The Bighorn begins its journey in the Bighorn Mountains at the foot of Yellowtail Dam, flowing 70 miles across ... morethe plains to join the Yellowstone River. The first 13 miles below the dam provide some of the greatest concentrations of trout found in Montana. The Bighorn is a popular fishing destination. Our favorite time of year to experience this river is in the Spring. The river remains clear and fishable during these times of spring run-off and high water. This is also a good time of year to see fewer crowds, on what can be a busy river come summertime.

The Bighorn River is located approximately 200 miles southeast of Bozeman. Our trips to the Bighorn are a minimum of 3 days. Our Bighorn River Guide Rate is higher than our Standard Rate to provide for guide’s transportation and lodging.

Note: Minimum 3 days
$
375
-
$
650
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 3 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
4 hours - 1 day
Destination:
Hiring a guide is the best way to maximize your time fly fishing the Bighorn River. Consisting of some of the most courteous and hardworking guides in Montana, the Bighorn Angler guide ... morestaff is second to none. Each guide is a highly accomplished angler and fly fishing instructor whose only goal is to ensure you have the fly fishing trip of a lifetime! Our guide service is also the most flexible in Fort Smith, offering half day, full day and twilight guided fishing trips.
Additional Information
Tributaries:
Bighorn tributaries include East Fork, Wind River, Greybull River, Shoshone River, Little Wind River, Nowood River and Little Bighorn River.
Source:
Two Ocean Mountain, Wind River Range
Mouth:
Yellowstone River
Length:
185 miles
Basin:
22,885 sq miles
Seasonal Conditions
Season
Hatches
SpringCaddis, Green Drake, Baetis, Damselfly, Scuds, Midge
SummerCaddis, Willow Fly, Pale Morning Dun, Nymphs, Scuds, Terrestrials
FallCaddis, Baetis, Terrestrials
Game Fish Opportunities
Latest Guide Fishing Reports
Guide Reports
Fished with Larry and Ray today, just a half day, which is perfect for the amount of fishable water right now. Buffalo Creek is on round 2 of dumping in red mud. It had cleared pretty ... moregood after last week's rains but I guess we got quite a bit of snow up in the Bridgers and with the warm weather the last few days it's got the creek flowing good. River is MUDDY after the red cliffs. But with all that said we had a pretty good day. Hooked about 30 of these.

Lots of break offs today. Fat feisty rainbows on 5x. Baetis nymphs were our best bugs. Saw a few guys out there today throwing streamers only saw one boat get one. Other boats said no good. But it is a good option in the dirty water. Hoping the river clears by the weekend but we are forecast to get a little more rain. So we'll see. River is at 990cfs. And we have a few trips going out next week but still plenty of days available if you're interested. Also the dry fly fishing is still pretty good, at least it was on Tuesday when I went out with Adam. Besides the bwo's we are seeing quite a few caddis and a lot of fish are taking notice and even moving out of their feeding rhythm to eat them. And a minor psa, please respect the property owners' rights... it is private property from the first highway bridge below wedding all the way past buffalo creek and the red cliffs. We don't need this place turning into the reef. Have fun out there!
Date:
Thursday, 5 May, 2016
We're now up over 2,000cfs which is a great flow and I'm glad they're making room in the reservoir. Should also help dissipate some of the mud flowing in. We'll keep ya updated.
Fishing Water Report:
Date:
Saturday, 7 May, 2016
Here is your Thermopolis fishing report for the Bighorn in Wyoming. The fishing is sick! Lot’s of fish up eating dries. Big pods of fish up keying in on BWo’s. Fish are ... morealso chasing streamers especially with these cloudy days. Yes, the nymphing is great. Remember there isn’t a lot of access for wade fisherman. Your better off going with one of our fishing guides and having the most memorable day fishing you have ever had!
Fishing Water Report:
Date:
Tuesday, 26 Apr, 2016
The fishing conditions on the Bighorn River have been ok lately. Make sure to bring a variety of streamer patterns. Also, nymphing has been working with mayflies and scuds.
Fishing Water Report:
Date:
Monday, 1 Feb, 2016
Fishing Trips
The Bighorn River is one of the best tail-water fisheries in the world. The Bighorn begins its journey in the Bighorn Mountains at the foot of Yellowtail Dam, flowing 70 miles across ... morethe plains to join the Yellowstone River. The first 13 miles below the dam provide some of the greatest concentrations of trout found in Montana. The Bighorn is a popular fishing destination. Our favorite time of year to experience this river is in the Spring. The river remains clear and fishable during these times of spring run-off and high water. This is also a good time of year to see fewer crowds, on what can be a busy river come summertime.

The Bighorn River is located approximately 200 miles southeast of Bozeman. Our trips to the Bighorn are a minimum of 3 days. Our Bighorn River Guide Rate is higher than our Standard Rate to provide for guide’s transportation and lodging.

Note: Minimum 3 days
  • Expert guide
  • Lunch for full day trips
  • Snacks and beverages
  • Flies, equipment such as rod/reel, waders/boots if needed, tippet/leaders
Hiring a guide is the best way to maximize your time fly fishing the Bighorn River. Consisting of some of the most courteous and hardworking guides in Montana, the Bighorn Angler guide ... morestaff is second to none. Each guide is a highly accomplished angler and fly fishing instructor whose only goal is to ensure you have the fly fishing trip of a lifetime! Our guide service is also the most flexible in Fort Smith, offering half day, full day and twilight guided fishing trips.
Destination:
  • Expert guide
  • Lunch on full day trips
  • Beverages and snacks
  • Shuttle
  • Flies, tackle and rod and reel if needed
The Bighorn River begins life as the Wind, flowing ESE out of the mountains of Western Wyoming, through the town of Dubois and the Wind River Indian Reservation. At Riverton the river ... moreabruptly turns North and begins to back up as Boysen Reservoir behind a 220 ft. dam built at the head of the beautiful Wind River Canyon. Emerging from the dam a river once more, the Wind flows through the Owl Creek Mountains, leaving the Wind River Basin.

As the river exits the canyon and spills into the Bighorn Basin, its name is changed to the Big Horn. One river, two names. It is here at Wedding of the Waters where we begin our adventures and float through the town of Thermopolis, home to the world's largest mineral hot springs.

A Dry Fly Paradise
Beginning in March, thick hatches of Midge & Blue Winged Olives bring trout to the surface after a long Winter of eating tiny nymphs. By late June, Tricos appear on the scene and hatch en masse every morning until October. It is common to see pods of rising trout 30 or 40 fish deep, making a flat piece of water look like a riffle. Several species of Caddis are available throughout the summer as well as terrestrials. The Blue Wings will make one more appearance in the Fall after the water has cooled. 

3,000 Trout per Mile - Browns, Rainbows & Cutthroat
Fishing nymphs can be productive year-round but is best in late Winter or early Spring before moss becomes an issue. Average sized fish is 16-18 inches with many 20 inches and beyond. Streamer fishing can be hard work on this river, but the rewards often make it worth the effort.

Most fishing is done from the boat, as Wyoming Water Access laws limit anchoring and wading opportunities to certain sections of the river. 

We can accommodate anglers of all abilities. All trips include flies (we tie 90% of the flies we use on guided trips), shuttle, terminal tackle, the use of a rod & reel if needed, and lunch on full day trips; half days include water and snacks. We practice catch & release of all Wild Trout. 

We are First Aid/CPR Certified, Insured & Permitted Guides.
Current Forecast
Water Flow
River Water Temperature
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Find out about the latest fishing action with our Bighorn River Fishing Report //
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Find out about the latest fishing action with our Bighorn River Fishing Report //
Fishing Water Reports:
Activities:
Fishing
Boat Services:
Ramp
Find out about the latest fishing action with our Bighorn River Fishing Report
Fishing Water Reports:
Activities:
Fishing
Find out about the latest fishing action with our Bighorn River Fishing Report
Fishing Water Reports:
Activities:
Fishing
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Sanitation & Water:
Toilet
Find out about the latest fishing action with our Bighorn River Fishing Report //
Fishing Water Reports:
Activities:
Fishing
Find out about the latest fishing action with our Bighorn River Fishing Report //
Fishing Water Reports:
Activities:
Fishing
Boat Services:
Ramp
Find out about the latest fishing action with our Bighorn River Fishing Report //
Fishing Water Reports:
Activities:
Fishing
Find out about the latest fishing action with our Bighorn River Fishing Report
Fishing Water Reports:
Activities:
Fishing
Boat Services:
Ramp
Find out about the latest fishing action with our Bighorn River Fishing Report
Fishing Water Reports:
Activities:
Fishing
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One of the Best Places to Fish
One of North America's prime fly-fishing areas for large trout. Highly productive waters because of copious hatchings of insects year-round. In fall and winter months streamer flies suggesting minnows are effective in attracting migrating brown trout. Average catch run 17 inches, though 22 inches always a possibility. Crowds ease up in fall.
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One of the Top 10 Fishing Rivers in the US
The best water on the Bighorn River is found on thetailwater stretch. Especially famous for heavy hatches that bring the trout upto the surface to feed, fly fishers will do especially well here. Spin anglerswill catch some large trout as well
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