From Tony...

The Bighorn River In The Winter

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Photographer Billings MT

The snow is falling and the holidays are here. One advantage to studio photography is that it doesn’t matter what is happening outdoors: the temperature is warm and the light is always at that perfect angle in the studio. One thing that is hot this time of year, outside of the photography studio, of course, is the Bighorn River. The winter time on the Bighorn is a balance between fishing the smallest flies that you have in your box and also the biggest.

Midges will continue to hatch throughout the winter here, and, on warmer days with cloud cover and little wind, the fish will even be at the surface eating the individual flies or the mating clusters near the banks. Fishing a midge on a nymph rig is very effective at this time of year. Zebra midges, thread midges, beaded midges, etc., will all work. Size and color will be the most important, and color can change daily.

At this time of year, the Bighorn fishes very well with large streamers. The water temps have settled to that perfect temp and the fish are active and aggressive on the tail end of the brown trout spawn and the excitement of the coming rainbow trout spawn. Fish will readily chase flies ranging in size from an inch to six inches or more. While the old adage is that big fish are primarily caught on streamers, it’s not always true. All sizes of trout will chase down a streamer if it encroaches on their territory. It’s amazing to see a fish almost the same size as the streamer attached to the hook at the end—truly his heart was much bigger then his mouth. While any streamer can work well given the light conditions and water conditions, yellow and brown is a particularly attractive color to the trout in the early months of winter. Later in the winter after everyone on the river has been throwing large streamers into all of the holes, use streamers with more natural tones like grey, tan, or white.

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