Bugs of the Big Hole

Summer Hatches – Part Two

The spring hatches conclude and the summer hatches begin in late June. The water flows normalize and it becomes easy to wade the Big Hole River.  Summer in Montana, could there possibly be anything better on Earth? For the angler, bugs hatching and fish rising to a dry fly is pretty close to heaven!

Golden Stones

Smaller than the salmonfly, the Golden Stone hatch begins where the salmonfly hatch left off. A stonefly, fish your favorite pattern sized 6 – 10, close to shore or in feeding lanes. Plan on having a few Golden Stones in your box for a late June fishing trip.

Pale Morning Duns

As the big stonefly hatches pass on the Big Hole, the delicate Pale Morning Duns emerge beginning in early July. This delicate Mayfly, sized 14-18, has a pale yellow body with a light wing. Fish it with a single dry or a dry with an emerger dropper.


Caddis are abundant on the river May through the end of July. Be sure to have caddis patterns in your fly box with tan, olive, and grey bodies in sizes 14 to 20. Fishing a caddis after dinner in the pools along the hay meadows at the Ranch always brings fish to the net!

Little Yellow Sallys

These small, brightly colored stoneflies hatch in July, late in the day into evening. Fish a Sally in a size 16


Grasshoppers are abundant in the Big Hole Valley and the trout are definitely keyed in on them. Hoppers flourish in the hay meadows that line both sides of the Big Hole near the ranch. Select local favorite patterns at Great Divide Fly Shop or the Sunrise Fly Shop in Melrose.

Spruce Moths

The hatches continue into August with the Spruce Moth Hatch. This light colored moth resembles a caddis but is much lighter in color and a little bigger. Fish a Spruce Moth is a size 14 to 16.


The evening Trico fishing in August is outstanding. OK, yes, the flies are small, hard to see, and harder yet to tie on. Fish a cluster pattern as daylight fades in the pools along the cart path at the Silver Bow Club. Big browns cannot resist these little bugs.

Spring Hatches

Want to know about spring hatches? Keep reading…

Bugs of the Big Hole River - Summer Hatches

Big Hole River downstream of Maiden Rock Canyon near Melrose, Montana

Video of fly fishing during the Spruce Moth Hatch with Great Divide Outfitters