The Historic Big Hole Valley

The Big Hole river is right around a two hour jaunt over Lost Trail Pass to the south of Hamilton. A short drive by Montana standards, the Big Hole is well worth the trip for the amazing fishing potential and scenery it has to offer. Having guided this river for decades and hundreds of trips, we can also call this river home water. As a Restricted Use Permit river, we are one of very few Bitterroot outfitters authorized to guide our clients here.  

Unlike the Bitterroot, the Big Hole flows off the east side of the continental divide, eventually joining the Beaverhead and Ruby Rivers to form the Jefferson, which joins with the Madison and Gallatin Rivers to form the Missouri River, the longest waterway in Montana and the United States.

Starting on the upper river from Wisdom to Wise River, we catch brook and rainbow trout, arctic grayling, and the occasional trophy brown trout. Here on the upper reaches, the Big Hole is a meandering meadow river bordered by expansive wildflower pastures to the north and carpeted pine forests to the south. Mid river from Wise River to Melrose, the river necks in and out of narrow canyons lined with sagebrush, pines and willows along rocky banks hiding scores of healthy brown and rainbow trout. From Melrose to the Beaverhead confluence in Twin Bridges, the Big Hole River slows and braids into the lower river. Heavy on wildlife and low on civilization, deep glides and long riffles hide untouched populations of browns and rainbows between cottonwood lined banks.

From the upper river near Wisdom to the depths of the lower river beyond Glen, the Big Hole is Blue Ribbon fly fishing all the way. Primarily a stonefly and caddis river, 30 inch Brown Trout have been recently caught in the river, and we commonly land fish topping twenty inches with the occasional monster over 24. Time of year, water temperatures and flows, insect hatches, and weather patterns dictate where we choose to fish on any given day with our customers. There is very limited availability on this river so book your float trip soon with us and see this famous river for yourself.