Montana’s Bighorn River is known throughout the world as a blue-ribbon trout stream. The fishery below Yellowtail Dam holds some of the most robust tour-per-mile numbers in the nation. But in the last decade, the river has changed. There’s more water, skinnier fish, and some say it’s just not the way it used to be. This episode of The DrakeCast takes a float down the Bighorn in search of why this river is experiencing these negative results. While we’re on the water, we’ll hear from ranchers, fisheries biologists, and the happiest fisherman in the world.
As with every episode of The DrakeCast, this chapter would not be possible without the generous support of Yellow Dog Fly Fishing Adventures and Scott Fly Rods. If your planning a trip, make sure to check in with the folks at Yellow Dog (www.yellowdogflyfishing.com). To make sure you have the correct tools for that trip, take a job down to your local fly shop and try out a handcrafted, made in the USA, Scott fly rod (www.scottflyrod.com).
Many thanks to the folks at the Bighorn River Alliance (www.bighornriveralliance.org) for all of the work they have done on that fishery and for allowing us to use the audio from their recently released film, A River at Risk. While recording this episode, we were lucky enough to stay at the Bighorn Angler (www.bighornangler.com). They helped us arrange a shuttle and let us soil one of their cabins. We also need to thank Mike Ruggles with the Montana’s Fish, Wildlife & Parks Department for sharing his data with us.
For more information on this episode and its predecessors, visit www.drakemag.com.