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(19 April 2014)  My name is Tim Bondy and the owner of this website.  As of Jan 1st, 2014 we moved to a different domain.  Please head over to the Bondy Blogs Website at  Different address, different system but same type of great articles, photos, stories and information. 

You are here: Mtn Home Outdoor Not so local Outdoor News Fishing the Big Hole River near Melrose Montana

Fishing the Big Hole River near Melrose Montana

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This is a trip report for my Wednesday July 21st, 2010 fishing trip along the Big Hole River outside of Melrose, Montana.

Good place to fish on the Big Hole River

Wednesday July 21st, 2010 was reserved for my main fishing day on the Big Hole River. I needed a non-residence fishing license and the Sunrise Fly Shop was glad to sell me one. This shop is located right next the Sportsman Motel in Melrose. Ryan, the owner of the Sunrise Fly Shop told me to head up Trapper Creek Road and turn right on Big Horn Road where it would eventually meet up with many good spots to fish the Big Hole.

Coordinates for Big Horn Road Turn-off from Trapper Creek Road: 45.630778, -112.730571
I jumped on my Arctic Cat ATV and headed through Melrose and up Trapper Creek Road. It wasn't hard to find the turn-off road and before long I was fishing the Big Hole. Every place I stopped to fish along this section of the river looked very promising as fish were rising everywhere. I fish exclusively with Panther Martin spinners, an ultra light Ugly Stick fishing rod and spinning reel so I was at a distinct disadvantage in this situation. I waded and slogged through the Big Hole at 9 different places while watching trout jumping and rising all around me. My only catch of the day was a 8-9 inch trout caught just outside of some strong rapids. I know this will sound like a cop out but I consider this a successful day of fishing. I also believe that a person has to pay his dues to a new fishing spot and have been skunked many times in the past on my first day of fishing a new stream/river.

The dirt road that follows the Big Hole River may be called Big Horn Road or just Fishing Access Road but once it leaves the ranch land behind it winds through a very scenic river canyon. All the land along this portion of the Big Hole is public property and there are plenty of places to gain easy access to the river. One might have to duck and struggle through some willows and heavy brush but nothing too unpleasant. Also most places at this time of the year you can easily wade into the river without the fear of being swept down the river. I was surprised at just how warm the water was in this trout filled river. As the day started warming up I started wading in deeper just to cool off.

Shimmering Big Hole River of Montana
Click for a bigger picture of the Big Hole

If you think there aren't any big fish in the Big Hole, you'd be wrong. At one place on the river I probably casted out 30 times until a drift boat came by. I watched as one guy pulled in a pretty big fish probably in the 18-21 inch range. That was kind of humbling watching him do this right in the same place I just fished for the last 30 or so minutes. Good on him though.

End of the road for Big Hole Fishing Access Coordinates: 45.693415, -112.743427
Overall, this nice fishing access road runs along the Big Hole for about three miles. At the end of the road there is a hiking trial that runs even further for those of you who wish to get into a little more private fishing. I hiked about ½ mile past the end of the road and didn't see anyone else except people in drift boats. The day was wearing on, getting rather warm and the mosquitoes were getting to me so I turned around a little earlier than I wanted to. I fished a few spots on the way back to Melrose on the off chance the Big Hole trout wanted to be a little nicer to this first timer. They weren't...but the million mosquitoes certainly appreciated my stopping by for a visit. The skies were just starting to turn stormy and gray as I made it back to the motel and within 20 minutes we has a nice little thunderstorm outside our door.

Sunset after a day fishing the Big Hole
Click the picture for a bigger version

My Notes for Future Trips
I would still try fishing for some large Big Hole trout from the shore but before I get too old to throw a lure into a river I'd like to try drift boat fishing this river. It certainly would open up some better fishing spots. The sign outside the Sunrise Fly Shop said they offer float trips so I may look into at least a half day trip in the coming years. I suspect I'll have to save up my lunch money for this kind of adventure but it should be worth the money.

Link to a few more pictures of this fishing trip:

Thanks for visiting and commenting on this Montana outdoor rock hounding adventure.

Tim Bondy
The Bondyweb.Com author

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