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Friday, November 2, 2012

More Bighorn River






So while in Fort Smith last week the temperatures took a nosedive from the really nice fall they've been having:  first morning we were greeted with 20 degrees and ice in the guides for most of the day.  But that didn't bother the small size 20 Trico's from hatching and the spinners from falling that morning and the next two.  Crazy when here in PA we think of Trico's as an end of summer hatch.  About midday when the trico's started to wane a size 22 Blue Wing Olive would come off and if the sky was overcast they'd come off by the zillions.  Mix in some remaining tan caddis and you had rising fish all afternoon........and for the times we weren't getting fish on dry's the streamer bite was pretty consistent and better than good.  There weren't many periods of inactivity that's for sure.

Most guides were running two clients with nymph and indicator rigs.  Two flies, a large indicator aka "bobber" about 6-8 feet above that and cast it 20 feet out from the boat and watch it drift down with you for however long it took to get a strike.  Not very interactive or fun if you ask me, but we'd see both guys with fish on at the same time quite a bit.  


Lots of ducks and geese flying up and down the river.  Add in the pheasants cackling on the sides of the hills and crossing the river above our heads, and there was always something in the air to look at.


We stayed in some rooms behind the Bighorn Angler, and rented a drift boat from them. Check out the first nymph pattern listed.....how can that not be an instant classic?


In the afternoons the river was peppered with small size 22 olives like this as far as you could see.  These fish were stacked up in a side eddy and just pigging out on the naturals.  Click on the photos to enlarge and watch in sequence.  Cool stuff.







Rainbows were hungry and seemed to travel in packs, rising in pods of anywhere from a dozen to several dozen fish.












Morning Trico spinner fall.  The weedlines along the edge of the stream would be inches thick with bugs each morning, only to repeat again in the afternoons for the Blue-Wing Olive duns and spinners.



Another solid rainbow



Well chewed streamer.  Seemed they liked sparser patterns better than the full ones.  We'd fish two at a time, second one tied off the bend of the first.   That seemed to bring out the aggressiveness in the fish.









Armed and dangerous, preparing to launch.  We had rods rigged with dries and streamers that we could just switch back and forth as opportunities presented themselves.


Make sure you click on this picture to blow it up, and pay special attention to how many bugs are covering the water.  Then try finding your fly in all of that and now you know why Mike's concentrating so hard.








With a kype like this, you'd think he tore apart my streamer.  He ate a size 20 trico!





Streamer caught brown


The "net" result of Mike's double.  Make sure you see the video on the  previous post or click here for a direct link


Did I say the first morning was cold?


Overall it was a great trip.  We caught alot, I mean alot of fish.  There were some stretches of river that produced better than others, but if we weren't fishing to rising fish we were swinging streamers and getting constant eats that way.  It's the beginning of the off-season on the river and with each days ten-mile float we saw maybe a dozen other drift boats.......far cry from summer when that number is tenfold.  I don't think I'd want to go back any other time, aggressive fish on the streamer bite coupled with enough hatches and waterfowl to keep you entertained was more than enough.

I took alot of video on this trip and will put it all together in the offseason.  For now, the rut is on and it's one final push for archery season to try and get the big buck.  Hopefully we'll have something to report on that front real soon.




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