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Fishing the
Big Hole River
in in Southwest Montana's
Beaverhead County

Map of Southwest Montana
Rainbow Trout Fishing on the Big Hole River, Beaverhead River, Ruby River & Jefferson River in Southwest Montana Rainbow Trout Fishing on the Big Hole River, Beaverhead River, Ruby River & Jefferson River in Southwest Montana Rainbow Trout Fishing on the Big Hole River, Beaverhead River, Ruby River & Jefferson River in Southwest Montana

Fishing the Big Hole River

Big Hole River near Wisdom Montana Beaverhead County of Southwest Montana
The Big Hole River, located in Southwestern Montana, is well known for its trophy size Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout. There is also a good population of Cutthroat Trout, Brook Trout, and Grayling as well. The diversity of this river provides excellent angling for people of all skill levels bringing them to the Big Hole from across the country year after year to fish this spectacular piece of water. There are a few Special Regulations sections throughout the river.
Big Hole River  near Wisdom Montana in Beaverhead County of Southwest Montana


Starting upstream of the town of Wisdom, the Big Hole flows for over a hundred miles before meeting with the Beaverhead River near the town of Twin Bridges. The Wise River enters at the town of Wise River. Here the Big Hole is small and holds a good population of Brook Trout and Grayling.
Big Hole River in Beaverhead County of Southwest Montana
The river flows northeast over a gravel bottom through grass pastures with scattered riffles and slow pools. This stretch is best for wade fishermen with a three to five weight rod which is ideal for this portion of the river.

Below the town of Wise River the Big Hole changes from a quiet meandering stream to a swift tumbling river with the influence of the Wise River. From the town of Wise river to the town of Divide, the Big Hole flows southeast and offers excellent fishing for Rainbows and some Brown Trout. The river cascades through canyon walls past large boulders creating beautiful pockets and seams for trout to hold.
Big Hole River in Beaverhead County of Southwest Montana
Access to the river from Wisdom to Divide can be gained via Route 43. Parking along the road and taking a short hike down the bank will give access to anglers throughout this stretch.

At the town of Divide the Big Hole turns south for approximately twenty miles to the town of Glen. The tiny town of Melrose falls between Divide and Glen, and is one of the more popular towns along the river. From Divide to Glen, most people choose to float the river although there are several access points where anglers can park and wade.
Big Hole River in Beaverhead County of Southwest Montana


The river below Divide is big and moves swiftly past boulders and fallen trees. Big Browns on the lower river are found in good numbers. Fishing large nymphs and streamers can be extremely effective on these trout that feed heavily during the season to fatten up for the following winter. Downstream from Glen the river turns northeast and flows for approximately
Big Hole River in Beaverhead County of Southwest Montana
another ten miles before meeting up with the Beaverhead River. Fishing the lower section below Glen is also very productive although access is a little harder to find. The Burma Road follows much of this section from Glen to Route 41.

Water flows on the Big Hole can vary greatly and making future arrangements is best done by researching what times of year the flows are usually optimal. The Salmon Fly hatch usually
Big Hole River in Beaverhead County of Southwest Montana
occurs between late May and late June. This large stonefly hatch brings people from all over to fish for the large Browns and Rainbows that feed on these big morsels. Caddis are the mainstay for the rest of the dry fly season. Nymphs and streamers are the norm on the Big Hole during other periods of the year.

If you're planning a trip to the Big Hole the nearest commercial airports are in Bozeman or Butte. Divide is approximately 30 miles from Butte and 90 miles from Bozeman. The Beaverhead, Jefferson, and several other rivers are nearby the Big Hole which give more fishing opportunities to the angler.
(source: flyfishingconnection.com)