The Big Hole River of Southwest Montana

Big Hole River

When you think of fly fishing a mountain river, you instinctually envision the Big Hole. It has everything you could ask for in a fishing river and then some, justifying its reputation as one of the best fly fishing rivers in America. The 150 miles of the Big Hole River defy description. It tumbles from the high mountains, braids through lush hay land, riffles through a narrow canyon, then meanders, winds and rushes its way to the confluence with the Beaverhead to form the Jefferson River. As it flows through some of the most diverse geography of any river in Montana, it offers diverse floating and fishing experiences, all wonderful. From its headwaters at Skinner Lake, the river falls into the Big Hole Valley. Named by trappers who used to call valleys "holes," this high mountain meadow lives up to its name. Wide, flat, and rimmed by towering mountain spires, the Big Hole Valley produces more hay than anywhere else in Montana. Near Wise River, the river picks up speed as it passes through a narrow canyon. Near Divide, the character of the river changes once again as it flows through a wide plain, fringed by cottonwood trees. Every portion offers a chance to fish for trophy Rainbow, Brook, and Brown trout, as well as for fluvial arctic grayling-a fish unique to the Big Hole in the lower 48. Local ranchers, fishermen, and conservationists have joined forces to monitor the river, meaning that despite its popularity and use for irrigation, the Big Hole is one of the best managed trout streams in America. The ease of access, the diverse geography and bumper trout population ensure that you will have a fantastic day on the river, whenever you go.