Fly fishing

Anglers hope for better conditions on the Big Hole River this summer

BUTTE – It’s that time of year when people want to fish, and after last year’s hot, dry weather, things are looking up for the Big Hole River and those in the fishing industry. fly fishing in general.

“Looks like it’s going to be another busy summer. At first the first half of summer is packed and it starts to clear up a bit later and I think it’s just people waiting to see what the water conditions will be as we moving forward,” said Chris Bradley, co-owner of The StoneFly Fly Shop in Butte.

Last year’s hot, dry summer caused parts of the Big Hole to close as early as June. However, the cooler and wetter spring this year is a sign of optimism.

“It was a little worrying before this spring. March didn’t look great but the last two months have been great, lots of humidity, cool weather, so we’re keeping the snow we have, so knock on wood, the things look like we’ll be gearing up for a good summer season,” Bradley said.

The drop in trout numbers has alarmed fish biologists. In 2014, FWP recorded approximately 1,800 fish per mile in the lower Big Hole River. Last year the number was around 400 fish per mile.

Regulations still require the catch and release of brown trout this year.

A regulation on the Lower Big Hole is that you can only use single hook lures. You can still use Rapalas and spinners, but you have to take the treble hook and narrow it down to a single hook.

“When you have to release brown trout, they want to minimize potential injury so the fish has the best chance of survival,” Bradley said.