Call John Schwalbe at 307-272-6792

  Wyoming Adventures

  Your Guide To Fly Fishing Wyoming's Bighorn River

Bighorn River Fly Fishing Report

Bighorn River, Thermopolis Wyoming Fishing Report

Oct. 8,2018

The fishing is really solid. Streamers, nymphs and drys. Crawdads, annelids, caddis, baetis, midge, crane fly larvae are taking fish. It is that time of year where you can get a chance on some really big "special" fish. Come get one. 

Sept. 25,2018

The fishing is incredible here on the Bighorn in Thermopolis. The moss is really not an issue and the water looks great. The Trico hatches have been amazing and now mixed with pseudos and baetis. There are a lot of fish feeding on the surface now. We are having success with nymphing, streamers and drys which means juggling rods from one situation to another but it also means more hook ups. It is a great time to be here. Call us at 307-272-6792. 

Sept 12, 2018

The flows are down to 1000 cfs. Fishing has been consistently good. We are still doing very well with a hopper/dropper/dropper rig. We are running a crawfish and drowned trico below a hopper. As the temps drop we will start seeing a bunch more fish sipping the tricos on the surface. Right now you will get several shots on risers but the are often in pretty challenging places. 

August 24, 2018

The flows are at 1200 cfs. The fishing is really good on most of the stretches here. Traffic has been light so having the stretch to yourself is common right now. The hopper/dropper rig is killing it. The Browns have been more on it recently and the bows continue to chow. It's a great time to be here. Seeing more fish up on Trico's too. 

August 8, 2018


The flows are down to 1350 cfs now. Moss is bad but not as bad in the mornings or cooler overcast days. Hopper/Dropper is getting it done in riffles and off ledges in faster water. Casting hoppers are getting plenty of action if you can get it where it needs to be. Tight places in the shade under trees are often rewarded. Trico's are coming off but only seeing a handful of trout actively rising to them. 

Aug. 2, 2018 Bighorn River Fishing Report


The flows are down to 1800 cfs currently. The river continues to clear but is very mossy, especially in the afternoons. It is very difficult to do much nymphing without constant moss hanging on your line and flies. We have started targeting the surface primarily. There are an abundance of natural hoppers on the banks and the Trico hatch is getting better each day. The fish are starting to look up more now.  Casting hoppers along the banks in the faster shallower water or off drop offs where there is good current will pay off. Shade is key as well. Getting your fly in tight spots is imperative to a successful day.  Hopper dropper rigs in certain areas will pay dividends as well. 

July 24,2018 Bighorn River Fishing Report


The flows are down to 2100 cfs. The water visibility is getting better and the banks are loaded with grasshoppers. If you stick with it you'll get a handful of trout on hoppers. Trout on getting up into the fast shallow riffles. The moss isn't as bad in the mornings but gets much worse in the afternoons. 

July 19,2018 Bighorn River Fishing Report


The flows are down to 2500 cfs finally. The moss is getting to be an issue but we should be doing better with drys now that the flows are lower. Grasshoppers are loaded on the banks and the Trico hatches should be getting better now.  

July 13,2018 Fishing Report Update


The flows are down to 3500 cfs and clearing. The fish are still on the crawdads and worms. With the flows dropping the trout are starting to move into different lies. The heat is also pushing them up into the faster runs.  Caddis, Trico's, Sallies, cranefly, and annelids are being keyed in on by trout but they are still most consistently eating the crawdad. However some days it can be mostly on the worm. The moss is getting worse and the cooler parts of the day are more productive. 

July 5th, 2018 Fishing Report Update


The flows are down to 5000 cfs and should continue to drop over the next couple of weeks. Fishing has slowed down some since this recent drop but should pick up after the trout stabilize. Sallies, PMD's, trico's, caddis, crane fly's, and midge are all hatching. However the only things that the fish seem to key in on are crawfish and annelids. 


June 27th, 2018 Fishing Report Update 


The flows have gone up to 7000 cfs and now starting to drop. We are currently at 6500 cfs. The water has been off color but getting greener tones to it now with more visibility. The flows should continue to drop with 2000 cfs being the target sometime in mid July. Crawfish and annelids are the most consistent food of choice recently. Not getting into a lot of numbers but really quality fish. 


June 21, 2018 Fishing Report Update


A lot of updates in June as the water flows go up and down. Due to a few inches of rain around Crowheart the Wind doubled in size and dumped a bunch more water into Boysen which is at capacity. Consequently the flows on the Bighorn had to increase to get rid of some water. We are at 6500 cfs currently but should be dropping within a week I would guess. Same bugs from previous post are working. Be careful if your going under the bridge below 8th St Bridge. Not much room left. 

June 15, 2018 Fishing Report Update


The flows are now down to 4400 cfs and the fishing is really good. Yellow Sallies have been popping as well as Caddis, Trico's, PED's, and PMD'S. They have been readily taking the crawdads which make for some incredible action when you have a trout on. A lot of fish hitting the air. Annelids are still on the menu as well as cranefly larvae and sow bugs. Moss is much less now that the flows were up to 6000 cfs. 


June 6, 2018 Fishing Update:

The flows are up to 6000 cfs now and should stay there for a week to 10 days. The fishing continues to be solid with the previous mentioned food sources getting it done. Best recent rig was crayfish with worm dropper. 



June 1, 2018

 Flows are at 4000 cfs now that runoff is in full swing. The moss is getting crazy but the fishing is solid. Really good streamer days with the bigger water. Fish are back to the banks and soft edges out of the current but they also have been moving into the shallow runs with the temps warming up.  So they are really spread out. No hatches at this time but we are finding yellow sally, caddis, baetis and midge nymphs in our samplings. Annelids, sow bugs, eggs, crawfish and leeches will produce fish as well. This is the time of year to hook that special fish. The higher flows can get those bigger fish more actively feeding. Exciting time to be here. We should also be seeing Trico's pretty soon.  The flows should be up for a few weeks and then start going back down. 


May 23, 2018 update:

Baetis are starting to dwindle away. We are waiting now for Tricos which should be starting up around the first of June. The water temperature is warming up and we need it to be around 62 degrees in the mornings for that hatch to start. Streamer fishing has been pretty solid with certain times of the day better than others. The moss is beginning to be more of an issue but if your a slapper and not a picker you can clean your flies and get them back in the water quickly. We have been having some luck with terrestrials but nymphs are getting the numbers. Still doing well with sowbugs, baetis, annelids, eggs, midge and caddis nymphs. 

 

May '18- Flows have gone down to 2401 cfs. The fishing is good. Nymphs, streamers and drys are producing really good quality fish. The Browns have been more active and even taken some foam on the surface.  Baetis, sow bugs, annelids, caddis and terrestrials are taking trout. Crowds are gone. Great time to be here.


April '18 - Flows are at 3000 cfs . Seeing more Baetis day to day and some trout up on them especially on overcast days.  Good streamer days are spotty. Trout mostly taking sow bugs, baetis, midge, worms and eggs. 


March '18- Flows are at 2500 cfs and the fishing is good. Midge, sowbugs, baeits, annelids and eggs are taking fish. Starting to see some risers from day to day too. The moss isn't as bad as it was. Fish will take steamers from day to day but you have to work at it all day to get any numbers or results. slow retrieve is best and they will often follow it to within a few feet of the boat. 

February '18- Well winter has been holding on this year. It has been mostly cold with very few days above 40. The fishing has not caught fire like it typically does this time of the year. It is just going to take a few warm days and it will be though. Fish are eating midge. Mostly olive and black and in the afternoon some red pupae. Seeing some sowbugs here and there too. 

Jan '18- The flows are at 1250 cfs and the water clarity is very good. Midge are hatching at times and are the most prolific food source available other than some very small orange scuds. Red midge pupae in the afternoon are working as well as your typical black and olive midge patterns.


Aug '17 - The flows are down to 2200 cfs and the clarity is getting better with plenty of visibility. Trout are keying in mostly on crawdads but will take caddis pupae, annelids, damsel fly nymphs and leeches. Nymphing is still the main tactic but we are seeing a few sippers here and there on tricos and pale evening duns. They are primarily focusing on the spinners. The hatches have not been prolific yet but getting better with cooler weather. Terrestrials are spotty at best even though the banks are covered with them. If you work hoppers all day you will be rewarded with a few willing trout. 


Late March '17- Flows are at 2200 cfs right now but not for long. We will be having a flush on the 27th at midnight. The plan is to go to 5000 cfs for a 24 hour period and then decrease flows down to around 3000 cfs. The Bureau of Rec may decide to leave the flows at 5000 for awhile if we get much rain in the meantime. Fishing is fantastic right now. Annelids, sow bugs, Baetis, Midge and eggs are what the trout are keying in on. They are definitely focusing in on certain patterns and the day can be tough if you don't know where they are holding. Getting your rig setup at the right depth and with the right weight is crucial for success. Call Wyoming Adventures at 307-272-6792 to book a trip. 

July 2017 - Its been along couple of months with a high blown out river. However things are getting better with flows dropping from 9000 to 6500 and plans to drop down to 3000 asap. The fish are looking for big meals. Crayfish, annelids, caddis pupae, cranefly larvae and leeches will get there attention. Tricos are hatching but have not amounted to much yet. That will be better as the flows drop. 

February/March '17 -

The fishing is incredible.With the warmer days come very productive days. Trout are on the feedbag again. Midge, sow bugs and annelids are the most prevalent food sources. With the warmer days there has been some run off from the banks making the river off color in places. The Bureau of Reclamation will be dropping the flows and then raising them due to some repairs that are needed. By Wednesday March 1st the flows should be up to 1100 CFS.  Trout are spawning so please be aware of the redds and do not walk on them. Also remember snagging fish is against the law and targeting trout on redds is unethical. 

March 2016

Baetis have been coming off daily since the flush and we are starting to see more and more trout up on them. Fish are concentrating primarily on midge, baetis, sow bugs, annelids and the occasional hellgrammite. The streamer bite is inconsistent but if you stay persistent  the reward is usually a better than average sized trout. Fishing is great and no matter what technique you are into there is something for everyone right now.


April '16-  BWO's are coming off regularly and the trout are on them. Fish are taking nymphs as well as midge, Baetis, annelids, scuds, sow bugs being the most prolific food sources. Occasional terrestrials are getting some nice takes as well as streamers but they are not very consistent. Flows are up a little to 744 cfs.


May '16 - This month has been a bit funky with the rain and run off. The river has turned to chocolate from Buffalo Creek running red from run off and rain. The days however are getting warmer which has been good for the terrestrial fishing. BWOs are still popping along with midge. When the water clears a bit, annelids have been quite productive. Flows have increased two 2000 cfs on May 6th. Big fish water for streamers.


June '16 - Flows are up to 6000 c.f.s. .  Fish are eating but you need to go down and get them. Using long heavy nymph rigs with annelids are your best bet. Sallies are coming off but not much of a factor. Trico's are popping but water is too high and fast for any top water action with any consistency. Streamers will take some fish depending on the day. The moss is becoming more and more of an issue but usually will come off your flies with a few slaps on the water.


July '16/Aug '16 - Flows are down to 1,305 cfs- Fishing is good but there is a lot of grass. Nymphing is the way to go with SJW, rubber legs, sow bugs, caddis and drowned spinners being the most productive . Leeches and crawfish patterns taking fish too. Hoppers are inconsistent but fish will take certain patterns. Sometimes on the twitch sometimes they like it dead drifted.


Sept ' 16 - September is already here and there are signs of fall coming. Fishing is good and getting better on the cooler days. Mornings are great when its hot but by midday it starts to fall off. We are starting to see some more fish up top on Trico's and there are mornings that the hatch is coming down in mats. Most of the trout are taking them subsurface still however. Annelids, sow bugs, Trico spinners, crawfish,  caddis pupae and mayfly nymphs have been food of choice.  Terrestrials are taking some nice fish too but not electric yet. We have been starting to see more naturals on the banks recently. Here is a nice Brown from a trip this week.


Sept/Oct. '16-- Now that September is almost over and the weather is cooling down, the hatches have been prolific. Clouds of Trico's in the morning and blankets of spinners are getting the larger rainbows up on the surface chowing. We are seeing more pods and bows in places that we haven't seen all summer. Also the Pseudo's have been hatching in the late afternoons and early evenings and there is a great spinnerfall later in the day resulting in good top water action for most of the day. There is a lot of grass but it is mostly stringy and easy to slap or cast of for the most part. The flows are low ( around 850 cfs) and river is clearing after getting muddy due to heavy rain. Nymphing can be good in places with annelids, Baetis, drowned spinners ,sow bugs, leeches, crawfish. We are using shorter rigs and still targeting faster water. Streamers can be inconsistent but there are days they are money. Key faster water and work fast at the head of runs in shallow water for some nice Browns. Terrestrials will always work but not necessarily consistently. Go smaller and natural. Try ants, beetles, crickets as well as hoppers. Seeing a lot of naturals on the banks.