Winter sunset with anglers on the Bighorn river

Bighorn

  • Favorite Stretch: After Bay to Bighorn River Access
  • Seasons: Year-round.
  • Prime Hatches: Caddis, Tricos

Starting 'way up in high plains of central Wyoming, the Bighorn River enters Bighorn National Recreation Area and Bighorn Canyon just before the river enters Montana. Once in Montana, a massive dam creates a world-class tailwater fishery. But it wasn't until the early '80s when the federal government took over management of the river from the Crow Indian Tribe that the river's fishing became famous. Many anglers make an annual pilgrimage to the Bighorn - many anglers coming more than once.

The river's abundance of trout keep them coming back again and again. With more fish packed into each mile of its waters than any other river in Montana, the Bighorn boasts great numbers of browns and rainbows and consistent early season fishing beginning in March and going all the way through November. While nymphing tends to be the most productive technique on the 'Horn, fantastic dryfly and streamer fishing can be had, especially the summertime 'hopper fest that starts in August.

The Bighorn is located in southeast Montana, a bit on its own from the rest of our blue-ribbon rivers in Montana. It flows out of the Pryor Mountains and is less than two hours from Billings, Montana. Billings serves as a good fly-in and -out spot for a Bighorn trip, but you'll want to stay on the river if you're doing anything more than a daytrip, and we can steer you in the right direction, anywhere from public campgrounds to five-star lodges.

The Bighorn River is a 'must do' river for any angler looking to put a check on the classic blue-ribbon trout fly fishing trips bucket list, without question.

We also offer hosted Bighorn River fly fishing trips for our clients. Sign-up for our email newsletter in the footer to learn more.

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