April: Our guides believe this is the best month for big fish on the Big Hole. Stoneflies and blue-winged olives offer dry-fly opportunities. The weather is defined by our emotionally turning our backs on winter and leaning into the sun.
May: We are finally getting some distance between us and winter. The rivers swell up, the grass greens, and the wind blows.
June: The best month for floating the Big Hole, Beaverhead, Madison, Jefferson, and Smith Rivers. The days are truly longer and winter is in the review mirror.
July: All the rivers are fishing and floating. The weather is warm with life gentle and easy. An occasional storm might intrude and you start think winter is coming.
August: This is the time of year we lean on the abundance of private water we fish at Healing Waters Lodge. We have miles and miles of leased streams and creeks, guaranteeing privacy along with good fishing. The nights are cooler reminding us that winter is coming.
September: The peak of tourism has passed. The colors grace the trees and the rivers are cool and pleasant. Montana is a movable feast this time of year. There might be a freak snow storm with winter 90 days away.
October: With less people and wonderful fishing, this is our favorite month at the lodge. Everything rides on the wind—fronts coming from the north or continued warm winds from the south providing warms days and excellent fishing. By the end of the month, winter has arrived.
When God created Montana, he had only one specie in mind —trout. Trout were placed in the water for their beauty and to test the wit of man. Trout thrive in Montana. Here at Healing Waters Lodge, we believe it is our job not to interfere with the Master Plan. We are all about trout.
The Big Hole River defines western fishing for us. The river gushes past canyon walls slip-sliding through the mountain meadows supporting trout at every bend. For the angler, you have opportunities to catch brook trout, rainbows, brown trout, cutthroat and arctic grayling. The river summons up caddis flies in May, salmon flies in June, PMD’s in July, tricos and spruce moths in August, hoppers in September and October Caddis in October. There isn’t a bad time to fish the Big Hole. Our guides at Healing Waters Lodge feel that for big trout April is the month. The following is a bastardization from Melville’s Moby Dick: Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off —then, I account it's high time to get to the Big Hole in Montana and start fishing as soon as I can.
The Beaverhead River produced some really big fish in 2019 and we are anticipating more big fish in 2020. The Beaverhead is a tailwater that historically has produced some of the largest trout in the state as well as the biggest fish per river mile. If you are in the mood for trout getting into the backing of your reel along with an ethereal rush of adrenaline coursing through your being plan on the Beaverhead for 2020.
The Smith River continues to be the most coveted river in Montana to fish and float. The experience of floating the Smith for five days and camping for four nights is a siren song for everyone that dreams of fly fishing in a remote part of the planet. The Smith River is a tribute to everything beautiful about Montana. We have a few spaces left on the Smith for 2020 but if you are earnest about going down the Smith River this is the time to book for 2021. We are the largest outfitter on the Smith River with 26 of the 73 launches. The demand for launches on the Smith are a good indicator of the quality of a Smith River experience.
The Madison River is a 50-mile riffle accelerating out of Yellowstone Park slicing its way through the Madison Valley. The river is host to fly fishing pilgrims from around the world who come to pay homage to one of the planets great streams. Anglers make every effort to bamboozle, inveigle, and outwit some of the classiest fish on earth. When you are fishing on the Madison you are breathing the rarified air of some very hallowed waters.
The Jefferson River, while some seem consider lost and old as it wanders into the Missouri River, is a river to paraphrase William Faulkner “that doesn’t endure but prevails.” Big trout reside in the Jefferson. Big trout that are circumspect, sly, and wary. Big trout that are by nature old, wise, and at times treacherous. The connection to a Jefferson River brown trout is hooking into something profound and of consequence.
The Ruby River is intimate stream that people walk and wade. This beautiful stream is a way from the maddening crowd where the world is reduced to an angler and rising trout. We lease parts of the Ruby where solitude is still and intrinsic part of fly fishing. You are more likely to share the river with an eagle, sandhill crane or whitetail deer than a fisherman. Fishing the Ruby is angling the way used to be.
Private Water: We take considerable pride in working with local landowners in accessing some of the waters they have made available to Healing Waters Lodge. We are not going to label them or name them these are highly coveted streams, creeks, ponds, and lakes that we treasure. We believe our access to private water gives a competitive advantage with other lodges and outfitters. We have exclusive leases on miles of spring creeks and streams.
April-May: Cool mornings, can be warmer afternoons and cool evenings. You can expect snow, rain, wind, and warm days with lots of sunshine in southwest Montana.
June-July: Cool mornings, warm afternoons and evenings, cool after the sun goes down. Afternoon thunderstorms are possible so bring rain gear. Because it is Montana, the weather can change in 10 minutes, so bring layers.
August: Warm with the chance of a stray rain cloud or thunderstorm. Wet wading is the name of the game.
September-October: Drifting into cool mornings, warm afternoons, cool evenings and lots of sunshine in southwest Montana. October has a better chance for frosty mornings and perhaps a snowflake or two.