Bighorn River Revisited
I made a quick trip to the Bighorn River. Official guide trips have come and gone. I don’t know if this is because of heat wave and hoot-owl negative news from a month ago and/or the recent new Covid crisis.….. I needed to get out. Mostly because I just can’t get rid of some of the greatest hatch experiences from a month ago. PMD was still going strong (that said, I just witnessed the change that PMD seemed tapering down as I was leaving). I caught several 18”+ trout on PMD hatch right after arrival. My friend and I moved on. Even at the next spot, I encountered a superb hatch and a group of rising trout. Every rise looked like the potential next big and satisfying fish. I cast and hooked one, which happened to be a quite a leaper with a massive body. It was a quite a fight that I had in a while. After several tugs-of-wars, I finally netted. 21.5-inch long with an impressive girth of 11.5-inch. Limiting to the dry-fly method, this is definitely my top 3 catches.
Immediately after this, the hatch shifted to the black caddis. Trout kept rising. I kept my 4X leader but just changed the matching flies. I was at a small side channel but with heavy riffles with pool. Right around where I believe ONLY big fish would hang out, I saw constant rises. My dry-fly had to be right on the edge of the heavy current. I made a pinpoint cast and my caddis dry-fly was taken. Another Fight started. Now I wish I were with a 6-weight or even heavier rod and have had done more forearm workout. It wasn’t as big as the brown above. It was 19-inch long yet with another impressive girth of 11-inch.
I caught many impressive hard-fighting trout with hatch fishing. I can have or look for hatches and technical fishing on spring creeks or Yellowstone National Park streams. However, the sizes and quality of trout of the Bighorn this season are incomparable. After unusual flows of past several seas and two seasons of trout population declines, it’s quite a comeback.