Montana Fly Fishing
The Big Hole River

Big Hole River

The Big Hole River : Floating Info

Sea Eagle Inflatable Kayaks - An inflatable kayak is a wonderful way to both float and fish the many rivers in Montana. You can also learn more about inflatable kayaks in our Inflatable Kayak Guide, too. I own a Sea Eagle Kayak and highly recommend them.

A float or raft trip down the Big Hole River in Montana is a wonderful experience. Whether you wish to fish or to just sit back and take in the scenery, the Big Hole River provides wonderful floating and rafting opportunities.

Floating on the Big Hole River
Photo Use Guidelines

Floating on the Big Hole River can begin near Jackson. Between Jackson and Fishtrap Access Site, the river is quite narrow. It meanders slowly through the Big Hole River Valley. No rapids are found, and you are quite likely to have the river to yourself, as float parties seldom use this section of the river. A canoe or inflatable kayak is highly recommended, as paddling will be a necessity in this section to get through the many very slow water pockets. The river also can be quite narrow in sections, making large rafts very difficult to maneuver. The river does pick up volume and velocity on the lower stretch of this section further downstream with the additional flows provided by the North Fork Big Hole River.

From Fishtrap Access Site, the Big Hole River soon enters the canyon stretch. No significant rapids will be encountered, but there are lots of riffle sections and a few stretches that have moderate sized waves just east of Wise River. This section is where the prime fly fishing begins, and sees the heaviest fishing pressure.

Big Hole River near Maidenrock Fishing Access Site
Photo Use Guidelines

The Big Hole River leaves the canyon near Divide and enters arid country. A portage is frequently required around a diversion dam just upstream from Divide.

Downstream from Divide, the river continue with no rapids and a decent current until the town of Glen, where the river turns northeast for its run up to the Jefferson River in Twin Bridges. Most fishing parties exit at Glen as the fly fishing on the Big Hole River downstream tends to taper off, particularly in the summer.

Between Glen and Twin Bridges, the Big Hole River runs moderately fast except during low water periods. Pressure on this stretch of the river is significantly less. The countryside is primarily arid, with willows and some cottonwood trees found along the banks. A diversion dam exists just below Pennington Bridge, which can either be portaged or be avoided by using the left channel.



Big Hole River : Selected River Miles

Listed below are selected river miles for the Big Hole River in Montana. You can get more detailed information about some of these access sites at the Montana FWP site.

Origin at Skinner Lake: 155
Jackson: 139
Wisdom: 116
Confluence with North Fork Big Hole River: 102
Fishtrap FAS: 81.4
Sportsman Park Access Site: 80
Dickey Bridge Access Site: 73
Wise River: 65
Jerry Creek Access Site: 62
Dewey FAS: 57
Powerhouse FAS: 54.2
Maiden Rock FAS: 41.8
Maiden Rock BLM Access Site: 41.2
Salmon Fly FAS (Melrose): 38.3
Kalsta Bridge FAS: 30.4
Glen FAS: 24.9
Notch Bottom Access Site: 17.9
Pennington Bridge Access Site/Diversion Dam: 8.5
High Road Access Site: 2.2
Confluence with Jefferson River in Twin Bridges: 0

 

Next Page : Big Hole River Photographs


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