Many fishermen consider the Bighorn River, in southeastern Montana, to be the finest fishery in the state, and among the best in the world. The Bighorn’s clear water holds an incredible 6,000 fish per mile, many of which are 20 inches or longer. Unlike many Montana rivers, the Bighorn fishes well all year long, although the summer months of July through September are the most popular. August brings hatches of pale morning duns and caddis. Cast a size 16 parachute PMD to trout looking for adult mayflies, or fish a Whitlock red fox squirrel nymph below the surface. The upper 13 miles of the Bighorn are widely considered to be the best, and a good seven-mile float runs from Three-Mile Access to Bighorn Access. Prime water levels are 2,000–5,000 cubic feet per second. At these flows, a good day on the water might bring more than a dozen strong rainbows and browns to the net.
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