Blue Stream Fly Fishing
Fly Fishing Report for:

Bighorn River - St. Xavier - Montana

Hatch Chart - Best Access/Spots - Local Fish - About

Water Flow Chart

Using Water Flow Charts & Weather Reports: Begin with our water flow charts to grasp stream velocity and volume – look for stable or rising trends to pinpoint ideal fishing times. Learn to interpret sudden spikes or drops, which can indicate potential challenges. Next, consult our weather reports to understand ambient conditions. Pairing the two, you can anticipate fish behavior, choose the right gear, and select the best fishing spots. Use these tools together for a holistic approach to your next fishing adventure.

In-Depth Weather

Directions To Location

Hatch Chart

Month Hatch Time of Day Recommended Fly Sizes Popular Fly Patterns
January Midge Afternoon 18-22 Griffith's Gnat, Zebra Midge
February Midge, Baetis Afternoon 18-22, 16-20 Griffith's Gnat, Zebra Midge, RS2
March Midge, Baetis Afternoon 18-22, 16-20 Griffith's Gnat, Zebra Midge, RS2
April Baetis Afternoon 16-20 RS2, BWO Sparkle Dun
Midge Any time 18-24 Griffith's Gnat, Zebra Midge
May Baetis Early Afternoon 16-20 RS2, BWO Sparkle Dun
Midge Any time 18-24 Griffith's Gnat, Zebra Midge
Caddis Evening 14-18 Elk Hair Caddis, X-Caddis
June Caddis Evening 14-18 Elk Hair Caddis, X-Caddis
Yellow Sally Stoneflies Afternoon 14-16 Yellow Sally, Stimulator
July Caddis Evening 14-18 Elk Hair Caddis, X-Caddis
Yellow Sally Stoneflies Afternoon 14-16 Yellow Sally, Stimulator
Tricos Morning 20-24 Trico Spinner, CDC Trico Spinner
August Tricos Morning 20-24 Trico Spinner, CDC Trico Spinner
Hoppers Mid-Day 8-12 Parachute Hopper, Foam Hopper
September Hoppers, Tricos Mid-Day, Morning 8-12, 20-24 Parachute Hopper, Foam Hopper, Trico Spinner, CDC Trico Spinner
October Blue Wing Olives Afternoon 18-22 Mercer's Biot Epoxy BWO, CDC BWO Emerger
November Midge, BWO Afternoon 18-22 Zebra Midge, Mercer's Biot Epoxy BWO, CDC BWO Emerger
December Midge Afternoon 18-22 Griffith's Gnat, Zebra Midge

While we strive to ensure the precision of our hatch charts, some reflect broader river region insights. Through ongoing partnerships with local guides and fly shops, we’re committed to refining our data. Should you notice any inconsistencies or have feedback, we welcome you to reach out. 

Best Fishing Spots

The Bighorn River – St. Xavier in Montana is a renowned fly fishing destination. Its diverse spots offer seasoned anglers and novices alike, opportunities to enjoy a thrilling fishing experience. Here are the best spots to try:

  • Afterbay Dam: The immediate downstream area from the Afterbay dam is teeming with Brown and Rainbow trout. Flies like Pheasant Tail Nymph and Ray Charles Scud work exceptionally well here.
  • 3 Mile Access: This site is just downstream of Afterbay dam with excellent fish populations. Midges, worms, and sowbugs are effective here.
  • 13 Mile Access: Known for prolific spring Baetis hatches, this spot attracts large Browns during the autumn spawning run. This access is also a launching point for float trips.
  • Bighorn Access: Further downstream lies the Bighorn Access. This spot boasts of bigger and relatively easier to catch fish. Use hopper patterns or streamer patterns to catch large trout.

Best Access Points

The Bighorn River in St. Xavier offers many excellent locations for fly fishing. It ranges from easily accessible points to more secluded areas.
  • Afterbay Access Point: A place perfect for fly fishers seeking convenience. It’s located near the dam where the trout population is highest.
  • 3 Mile Access: A widely-frequented area due to its large parking lot and restroom facilities. It’s perfect for limited mobility fishers or families.
  • Bighorn Fishing Access: A spot located about 12 miles downstream from the Afterbay dam, offering tranquil fly fishing conditions. Provides boat ramp and camping facilities.
  • Mallard’s Landing Fishing Access: A lesser-known spot, located about 15 miles from the Afterbay dam. Offers a quiet fishing experience and camping facilities.
While the choice of access point largely depends upon personal preference, each lends its unique charm to the overall fly fishing experience on the Bighorn River.

Local Fish

  • Brown Trout – This is a common species in Bighorn river, and it’s attracting many anglers due to its excellent fighting ability.
  • Rainbow Trout – Offering an exciting fly fishing adventure, they provide a consistent and robust fight.
  • Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout – Native to the Yellowstone area, these are prized by anglers for their distinct colors and their willingness to take a fly.
  • Brook Trout – Well known for its aggressive feeding habits, brook trout are commonly caught when fly fishing in Bighorn river.
  • Whitefish – Although often overlooked by fly fishers, whitefish provide a rewarding challenge and are plentiful in the Bighorn river.
  • Goldeneye – This species is desirable because it’s challenging to catch on a fly, providing an exciting challenge for experienced anglers.
  • Sauger – A predominantly bottom-dwelling fish, sauger present a unique angling experience for fly fishers.
  • Carp – Known for their strength and endurance, carp provide a great test for fly fishers with their long, powerful runs.

About The River

The Bighorn River boasts an illustrious history etched by the footsteps of historical figures and the ebb of enchanting aquatic life. Originating from Wyoming, the river stretches its reach through Montana, winding past the peaceful community of St. Xavier.

Where this river meets St. Xavier, you’ll find resplendent views and ample opportunities for outdoor pursuits. Over centuries, The Bighorn has carved out mesmerising landscapes while nurturing an abundant ecosystem.

  • Fur traders were the earliest Europeans polled to have discovered the river around the early 19th Century.
  • The Crow Tribe established a longstanding relationship with the river, its resources fuelling their semi-nomadic lifestyle.
  • Fly fishermen are drawn here in droves by the brown and rainbow trout populations.

The Bighorn River at St. Xavier is much more than a waterway – it’s a timeline streaming with stories of pioneering spirits, Native American heritage and bountiful wildlife.

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