Lowdown

  • Established

    1984
  • Owner

    Craig and Wade Fellin
  • Manager

    Wade Fellin
  • Tel

    (406) 832-3252
  • Nightly Rates (per adult)*

    $4,710 - $5,670
  • Minimum Stay

    5 days
  • Maximum Guests

    8
  • Works with travel agents?

    No
  • Great For

    Romance, Action & adventure, Peace & quiet, Solitude, Diverse scenery
  • Memberships

    Orvis-endorsed
* Rates will vary based on Season and Accommodation selection. Please contact the ranch directly for Date Request, Availability and exact Rate quote/proposal

Come share our passion for Montana’s rivers...

Established in 1984 by long-time angler Craig Fellin, the Big Hole Lodge continues to offer world-renowned wild trout fishing, remarkable cuisine and comfortable accommodations in a secluded mountain setting. The Big Hole Lodge is truly one of the classic fly fishing lodge experiences in the American West.

Children at the Ranch

Great for children aged 12 and over

Environmental & Social Practices

Conservation

Upper Missouri Waterkeeper

Dedicated to protecting and improving the ecological and aesthetic quality of the Upper Missouri River Basin of Montana for present and future generations.

Upper Missouri Waterkeeper, Inc. is the only advocacy organization focused exclusively on protecting and improving the health of Montana’s Upper Missouri River Basin. Upper Missouri Waterkeeper, Inc. uses a combination of strong science, community action, and legal expertise to defend the Upper Missouri River, its tributaries, and communities against threats to clean water and healthy rivers. Upper Missouri Waterkeeper works with communities and citizens to take a strong stance on the hard issues — to defend our waterways and communities from projects that would do harm and to fight for and secure new regulations and protections that will provide critical defense and progress in the future.

The Big Hole River Foundation

Working to conserve, enhance and protect the free-flowing character of the Big Hole River, its unique culture, fish and wildlife.

The Big Hole River Foundation was founded in 1988 by noted Montana conservationist, angler, and fly tier George F. Grant. The Big Hole River Foundation is a nonprofit science-based conservation organization dedicated to defending and conserving the natural and cultural resources of the Big Hole. Known for its blue-ribbon trout fishery, the Big Hole flows undammed for 150 miles. The river is home to the last native, self-sustaining wild population of fluvial Arctic grayling in the lower forty-eight states. Our projects and programs are supported by diverse interests. We work closely with local, state, and federal agencies, sportsmen organizations and conservationists. We fund our projects through our events, membership dues, donations, government grants, and individual foundation grants.

Ranch History

In 1984, Craig Fellin drove up the blue-ribbon Big Hole River, turned onto a washboard-rutted dirt road called the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway and founded Big Hole Lodge on 10 acres of river-front, surrounded by National Forest. During the early years, the capacity was just two guests, and clients ate and slept in the main house with Craig and his family.

Eventually, Craig stripped logs and built the dining lodge and three guest cabins, with views of the scenic Wise River Valley and the snow-capped Pioneer Mountains above.

Today, we're an Orvis-Endorsed award-winning Lodge, offering a personal, relaxing and intimate fly fishing vacation experiences. With a maximum of just 12 guests, we can offer exceptionally high levels of customer service and cater to a wide range of fly fishing interests and skill levels.

From the legendary Big Hole, Beaverhead,and Bitterroot rivers, to spring creeks and small mountain streams or crystalline alpine lakes, breathtaking views will surround you as you enjoy some of the finest fly fishing in the country.

And whether you're a complete novice or accomplished fly angler, our goal is to offer you an uncompromising fly fishing vacation of a lifetime.

Craig's son, Wade climbed the ranks from cake-batter-tester to lawn care and dishes, to guide, co-owner and manager. Perennial chefs Lanette and Casawndra, 25 years and 9 years respectively, engineer a second-to-none culinary experience.

Craig, Wade and the entire Big Hole Lodge family aim to make your trip the best fly fishing excursion you've ever experienced. Our veteran guides graciously impart intimate expertise in technique, entomology and stream savvy, to give you the best possible opportunities to land gorgeous Montana trout.

Our profound respect for the river, its unique culture and wildlife, and the surrounding beauty of southwestern Montana guides all of us at Big Hole Lodge in delivering quality that lives up to everything you've ever imagined a Montana fly fishing vacation could be.

Lowdown

  • Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing

  • Types of water

    Lakes, Streams, Rivers
  • Rivers you can fish on

    Big Hole River, The Beaverhead River, Bitterroot River, private water.
  • Types of Fish

    Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Brook Trout, Grayling, bull trout.
  • Fishing Experience Level

    Beginner, Intermediate, Experienced
  • Guided Fishing Included in rates

  • Unguided Fishing not available

  • Fishing Instruction Included in rates

  • You can borrow

    Rods, Flies, Reels, Boots, Waders.
  • You can buy

    Rods, Flies, Reels.
  • Bring your own

    Rods, Flies, Reels, Boots, Hats, Waders, Fishing Nets, lines, leaders, accessories.

The Setting

Big Hole River
Let your mind's eye envision a Western river, flanked by jagged, snowcapped peaks, towering pines, and whispers of wind through endless fields and rolling hills. You are thinking of a river originally named the 'Wisdom' by Meriwether Lewis, renamed the 'Big Hole' by fur trappers who referred to valleys as 'holes.' From its headwaters near the Idaho border, the Big Hole meanders 150 miles; first north through hayfields along the Bitterroot and Pintler mountain ranges, then east past our lodge and south around the Pioneer range through a series of rocky canyons. In the lower Beaverhead Valley, it meets the Ruby and Beaverhead rivers to form the Jefferson.

The Beaverhead River
The Lewis & Clark Expedition, led by Sacajawea, headed up the Jefferson and found the Big Hole, Ruby and Beaverhead rivers. Sacajawea recognized her childhood home by the beaver-head-shaped rock at the north end of the valley. Today, at the headwaters of the Beaverhead sits a reservoir, creating a premier tailwater, regarded by many as the best brown and rainbow trout fishery in the West. Near the dam, the river makes a series of sharp bends and wiggles through the Clark Canyon before cutting through the vast agricultural expanse of the Beaverhead Valley.

Bitterroot River
The East Fork and the West Fork of the Bitterroot cascade from high peaks on the Idaho border and meet to become the Bitterroot near the town of Darby. The drive from the lodge is one of the most spectacular scenic routes in the United States. The lush grasslands of the upper Big Hole Valley are dotted with bread loaf-shaped haystacks and black Angus beef cattle. As you enter the timber, the Salmon and Bitterroot basins fall either side of the road. As you wind down the mountain into the valley, the trees turn from lodgepole to ponderosa pine.


The Fishing

Big Hole River
The Big Hole is a river rich not only in historical importance but also in its ability to produce wild trout — and large ones at that. In certain sections of the river, there are approximately 3,500 trout per mile with a substantial percentage in the 18-20" class.

The renowned beauty of the river, with towering peaks and secluded canyons, makes this more than just a blue-ribbon trout fishery. The Big Hole is really a special place, and as you float by a stretch like the Ralston Ranch above Wise River, you can almost picture the stagecoach stop the family operated in 1910 and the teams of horses that fed and rested there.

Nowhere else will you have the chance to catch a brown, rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout along with a grayling all in one day!

The Beaverhead RIver
A good cast can easily reach across any section of the river and its banks are lined with willows and cottonwoods, creating hazards for bank fisherman. For this reason, the upper river is most often fished by boat, though there are meadows where wading is feasible.

The Big Hole Lodge leases a private ranch in the mid-section of the river, complete with two miles of trophy water on the Beaverhead, a shallow channel which holds big browns and a 20-acre lake inhabited by monster trout.

The Beaverhead Ranch, as we call it, offers challenging dry fly fishing for the experienced angler, terrestrial action for the novice, and nymph and streamer fishing for anglers of all levels.

Bitterroot River
For its hot summer days and mild winters, the Bitterroot is known as 'The banana belt of Montana' and the feisty cutthroat seem to thrive on the Vitamin D. 

At the Big Hole Lodge, we typically stay near the headwaters in search of cutthroat trout and dry fly fishing, in the tight canyons and wooded riffles. The river is swift and the fishing is in 'pocket' water and, if a fish has time to see your attractor pattern, he will most likely jump at the chance to eat. 

As the river exits the timber and enters the valley the 'Root snakes back and forth through the valley floor, creating deep green pools where cutthroat, browns, rainbow and bull trout will lay. 

The Bitterroot is a prime habitat for caddis, mayflies, stoneflies, and grasshoppers, and though the salmon fly hatch is the one most often written about, the dry fly fishing is fabulous all summer long on this mountain stream.


Lowdown

  • Enjoy

    Gourmet, Ranch-style
  • Meals served

    family style, everyone eats together, scheduled meals
  • Alcohol

    wine provided with dinner
  • Enjoy dining in

    nature settings, patio, dining room (casual attire), in-room dining
  • Dietary restrictions catered for

    lactose intolerant, vegans, vegetarians, Gluten free, other

Meals Scheduled according to fishing conditions. Generally, breakfast is served between 7:30 and 8:30 AM. Fishing times are earlier when temperatures rise and later as we move into September.

Lunch is served streamside. After a full day of fishing, you’ll return to the lodge in time to relax before dinner, which is usually served around 7:30 PM.

If you wish to extend your fishing day into the evening hatch, our chef is more than willing to hold a dinner for you as long as you are seated by 9:00 PM.

It is important to let us know on your questionnaire of any dietary restrictions, etc., so that we will be prepared to accommodate you.

Alcoholic Beverages The lodge package includes beer and wine which will be served in the dining room before, during, and after dinner. The lodge does not sell or serve hard liquor on the premises.

Guest Favourites

  • Begin your fishing day with a hearty stack of oatmeal pancakes covered in apple sauce, whipped cream, accompanied by apple-wood smoked bacon and fresh berries.
  • A riverbank lunch of marinated and grilled tri-tip with smoky vegetables, potato salad with fresh herbs and lemon bars.
  • Lightly grilled, succulent morsels of huckleberry-glazed quail wrapped in endive, followed by a savory entrée of grilled herb and garlic rack of lamb with sweet potato gratin, crisp green beans and red rhubarb confit. If you have saved any room, a cheesecake mousse with rum poached plums and a cup of decaf will tuck you in for the night.

Your Chef, Lanette

Lanette and Craig worked together in the late-eighties in the ski industry in Lake Tahoe when she fell in love with Montana summers.

An expert fly fisher, Lanette was battlefield promoted from sous to head chef over two decades ago and continues to be the glue of the lodge staff. Her recipe for success is two parts work ethic, three parts humor, and a full cup of passion.

Creative and hearty meals are crafted with an artisan approach. Menus are carefully planned to satisfy the guests after their adventurous days on the river.

BBQ and smoked meats are marinated to perfection and the fish, pork and chicken dishes are accompanied by excellent sides prepared with a western attitude.

Many meals at Big Hole Lodge are long-standing favorites with guests frequently requesting the recipes. Desserts are lovingly prepared and are designed to delight the palate.

Lowdown

  • Address

    36894 Pioneer Mountains Scenic
    Wise River
    Montana
    59762
    USA
  • Remote Location

    Yes
  • Elevation

    6,300 ft

Nearest Town - Butte

Butte has a population of 30,000 (approx), and is situated 45 miles / 1 hour from the Ranch.

Ranch shuttle

yes

Nearest Airports

Butte, MT, Butte

Distance

20 miles / 45 mins

Ranch shuttle

Yes, $500 round trip from/to Bozeman

Lowdown

  • Nightly Rates (per adult)*

    $4,710 - $5,670
  • Minimum Stay

    5 days
  • Preferred Arrival Day

    Sun
  • Preferred Departure Day

    Sat
  • Style of accommodation

    Ranch rustic, Western rustic chic
  • Packages available

    6 night
* Rates will vary based on Season and Accommodation selection. Please contact the ranch directly for Date Request, Availability and exact Rate quote/proposal

Big Hole Lodge can cater for up to 8 guests. See below for details and indicative rates.

Cabin | The Pattengail Cabin

Minimum Stay

2 nights

Description

A log structure overlooking the Wise River, it has two bedrooms with two twin beds in each room and two separate bathrooms with shower. There is a living room area with log furniture and a kitchen with a refrigerator for drinks/ice and a table to play cards. There is also a covered front porch to sit out in the evening and enjoy the sounds of the river.

Rooms

2

Bathrooms

Private bathroom

Cabin | The Big Hole Cabin

Minimum Stay

2 nights

Description

The largest cabin with four separate bedrooms and two bathrooms with showers. Two of the bedrooms have one queen bed each and the other two have twin beds. There is a spacious living room with a beautiful view and satellite TV. There is also a kitchen with a refrigerator for cold drinks/ice and a table to play cards and an enclosed front porch.

Rooms

4

Bathrooms

Private bathroom

Amenities

fridge, seating area

Entertainment

tv

Cabin | The Beaverhead Cabin

Minimum Stay

2 nights

Description

A duplex cabin accommodating one guest on either side. Each side of the duplex has two beds, 1 twin and 1 queen, a bathroom/shower and a small refrigerator for cold drinks/ice. This cabin has a shared enclosed front porch and an outside deck with a beautiful view.

Rooms

2

Bathrooms

Private bathroom

Amenities

fridge, seating area


Booking Policy

Trip Deposit: 50% deposit is required to secure a fishing reservation. Due to the nature of small, rural fly fishing lodges, this is a nonrefundable deposit inside of 120 days of your trip, however, in light of the current Covid-19 (novel coronavirus) which may render summer 2020 travel difficult or impossible, we are rolling 2020 bookings to the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Receipt of deposit is an acknowledgment that registrant has read and accepts the cancellation/refund policy clause.

Shorter packages may not be available during prime fishing weeks

Non-fishing options available

Gift certificates available upon request

Included in your stay

meals, activities, ranch shuttle, lodging, All-inclusive Fishing Package Our comprehensive fishing trip package price includes: Five full days of guided fishing on the best rivers in Southwest Montana including but not limited to the Big Hole, Beaverhead, Bitterroot, Private Leases, Rock Creek, Clark Fork, Jefferson. Trip itineraries will be tailored to ensure the best fishing options available in a given week. Guided days include all necessary flies, tippets, and expert guidance you need from a local guide. Lodging in one of our comfortable cabins. Note that for stays of 5+ nights, single occupancy rooms are provided upon request, subject to availability. Fine dining, including three gourmet meals per day and complimentary wine and beer. Round trip transfer from Butte Airport, along with daily transportation to/from rivers.

Extras

Tax

Not Included: Montana fishing license Gratuities Montana accommodation tax

Gratuity

We recommend tipping guides directly $100 per day if you are satisfied with their expertise. We recommend tipping the lodge staff $25 per night at the conclusion of your stay.

Guided Fly Fishing

Full service

Lowdown

  • Communications

    Wireless Internet/Wifi, telephone, free long distance.
  • Cell Networks

    verizon.

Onsite

Shopping

Big Hole Lodge is an Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Lodge and there is a well-stocked fly shop on the premises to meet your piscatorial needs.

The latest Orvis rods and reels are available, along with a variety of other Orvis gear. Leaders, tippet material, flies and other accessories can also be purchased there.

We suggest that you arrive with a small selection of trout flies, with your personal favorites included, but flies are included in the package and Craig always has a good supply of flies you will need for the particular week that you are there, with some very unique patterns designed for the local rivers and streams.

Outdoor Activities

Golf - 18 hole course

Water based Activities

lake water sports, river floating


Local Attractions

Bannack Ghost Town

Former territorial capital of Montana, Bannack Ghost Town is the best preserved ghost town in the state and driving through old Montana is like turning the pages of history books back 100 years. Your guide is Shawna Page and reservations are appreciated. Rate is $315 per day (one person) plus venue charge, if applicable.

Highs

  • This Orvis-endorsed award-winning riverside lodge offers a personal, relaxing and intimate fly fishing vacation experience in the heart of the Pioneer Mountains.
  • The veteran guides graciously impart intimate expertise in technique, entomology and stream savvy, to give you the best possible opportunities to land gorgeous Montana trout
  • The Big Hole is a river rich not only in historical importance, but also in its ability to produce wild trout — and large ones at that. In certain sections of the river, there are approximately 3,500 trout per mile, with a substantial percentage in the 18-20" class. Nowhere else will you have the chance to catch a brown, rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout, along with a grayling, all in one day!
  • This family-run lodge accommodates up to 12 guests, so keeping the experience intimate and you can be assured of excellent food, beverages and comfortable accommodations to rest after your day on the river
  • There are plenty of other non-fishing activities on offer should you wish to try something new or have members of your party who don't fish.

Lows

  • Big Hole Lodge is very popular and welcomes return guests; with limited availability, spaces sell out fast so you will need to book early
  • It is worth noting that shorter packages may not be available during prime fishing weeks

Visitor Reviews

Dont just take our word for it, see what visitors like you say...

Trout Fishing Paradise

You'll find this paradise in the northwest corner of Montana situated along the Big Hole River. First, the fishing: rainbow, brown, cutthroat and brook all there in the varied always changing and challenging river. The lodge provides expert guides who know where to "put in" to change the pace along the majestic river as it flows through picturesque valleys and awesome canyons, and they know the flies to use in the ever changing river. Secondly, the Big Hole Lodge itself: the owners, Craig and son Wade, the guides, the chef and the entire staff begin and end your day of fishing in a welcoming, professional and individually accommodating manner. The cabins are charming, comfortable and spruced up daily. And the food? Well this is no ordinary fishing outpost. Full breakfasts include an amazing assortment which changes daily. They will also cook something to order, and love doing it! Lunches are eaten riverside and served by your guide, again no ordinary picnic: salads and meats and vegetables and fruit with choice of beverage on portable table and chairs. And in the evening there's cocktails and hors d'oeuvres followed by a three course dinner any four star restaurant would be proud to serve. It's an incredible place where the focus, whether you're novice or experienced, is on catching trout! Little wonder The Big Hole Lodge was chosen the Orvis Fishing Lodge of the Year for 2017. Don't miss this!!

5 stars

You can find more reviews for Big Hole Lodge on TripAdvisor