The Big Hole River starts high in the Beaverhead Mountains of Montana and runs for approximately 153 miles before its confluence with the Beaverhead and the beginning of the Jefferson River. When describing the Big Hole, it is the epitome of a western trout river. Meandering meadows to steep canyon walls and cottonwood-lined banks it has endless runs and riffles that seem to go on forever. Fishing, scenery, and wildlife this river has it all, a day on the Big Hole will be remembered forever and will keep you wanting more.
Sections of the Big Hole
The Big Hole can be broken into three distinct sections, the upper, the middle or canyon section, and the lower. The upper section flows through a high-elevation valley, slowly meandering its way downstream with 360 degrees of mountain views. The middle or canyon section the river picks up steam and flows through areas of high canyon walls. The third section is the lower river. Here with its cottonwood-lined banks, the river slows down a bit before its confluence with the Beaverhead. Every section of the Big Hole offers different opportunities to catch fish and feels like you are almost on an entirely different river.
The Big hole produces what seems like endless hatches throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Things get going with the Caddis hatch in May and BWOs on the right day. Into June and July, there are hatches of PMDs, Yellow Sallies, Caddis, and probably one of Montana’s best Salmonfly hatches. August, you start to find some hoppers, spruce moths, and clouds of Tricos. September and into October BWO hatches and streamer fishing is the game.
The Big Hole is one of the few rivers in the state where you can catch six different species on any given day. They are West Slope Cutthroat, Rainbow, Brown, Whitefish, Brook Trout, and Grayling. The Big Hole is one of the last remaining strongholds for wild fluvial graylings; catching one of these is truly memorable. In addition, the river holds some monster browns; if you are lucky enough to catch one, it will be one to remember.