Big Hole River
The Big Hole River, one of Montana’s most legendary trout streams, begins at Skinner Lake, 7,340 feet high in the Beaverhead Mountains in southwest Montana. It holds four species of trout and the only viable population of fluvial arctic grayling in the lower 48. But the river might be best known for its giant brown trout. “There are huge brown trout in there,” says Ryan Whalen of the Madison River Fishing Company. “It’s gorgeous, and there’s nothing really out there, which is great.” The river can suffer from low water late in the summer if the snowpack in the mountains is light, but three different sections of the river (lower, middle, and upper) offer a diversity of conditions, and you can usually find a stretch that’s fishing well. Come in April for skwala stonefly and blue winged olives hatches and some of the best dry fly-fishing all year. Stop by the Sunrise Fly Shop in Melrose for the best flies and latest reports.
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