South Fork (what we would like it to be)
The flow is steady at 12,000 cfs and clear. The big stones are out around Twin Bridges in good numbers. Heavy hatches of yellow sallies, golden stones and pale morning duns are in the riffles. Some green drakes in the late afternoon. If you want to get a head start on the crowds consider launching before daylight and fish streamers against the bank until the sun comes over the canyon rim.
South Fork (what it really is)
The flow is 15,000 cfs and very off color. There are good hatches of yellow sallies and some golden stones but the fish are not looking up and probably won’t until the water clears some. We have been fishing san juan worms, bennetts rubber legs with a small nymph dropper with fair success on trout and good success on whitefish. On the lower river below Heise the flow is 9,000 cfs and there are more places to get out and fish.
There is 32,000 cfs running in to Palisades Reservoir and at this rate the reservoir will fill around July 11th. We are hoping that the inflow will drop so that inflow will match outflow by the 11th. Please hope with us. Meanwhile we’ll continue to monitor the flows and pass along any additional information we get.
High water has slowed fishing in Clark Canyon Reservoir. Midging in water around ten feet deep brings some action. Best fishing on the Madison River is between Hebgen and Quake lakes, but half the world’s fly-fishers are there. The Beaverhead River is good fishing thanks to PMD and yellow sally activity. Giant stoneflies are out on the Big Hole River.
At last some are beginning to shape up. Beaver and Camas creeks are worth fishing. So are Tincup and other creeks flowing out of Idaho into the Salt River. Try beadhead nymphs, San Juan worm, and wooly bugger variations. On July 1st several South Fork tributaries open to fishing. Post spawning cutts to big sizes are likely to be in Bear and McCoy creeks. Woolly buggers and small streamers should interest these fish. If you are looking for small brookies, try Tom’s and Chick creeks at the top of the Buffalo River, Squirrel Creek, and upper Warm River.
Everyone is looking for the damselflies to kick-start action. Recently fishing has been spotty. We’ll bet that midges are the reason.
Hottest one here is Daniels Reservoir with damselfly nymphs in the upper end and other shallows bringing darn good action. Midging also works. Chesterfield, Hawkins, and Twenty-Four mile reservoirs are improving because on growing damselfly activity. We have not heard much on good fishing on Treasureton and Springfield reservoirs, so read between the lines here. Bluegill fishing at Twin Lakes has not hit its peak. Maybe things will break free this weekend, but expect lots’a motorized sports breaking free, too.
With flow out of Mackay Dam at 1360cfs, the Big Lost is not so lost these days. Wait for flows to drop to the few hundred cfs levels for good fishing and easy wading in the river below.
Two great events that will be happening soon will brown drake emergences on the Gibbon River in the upper meadows and on Duck Creek. Cold, high waters may delay or spread out the Gibbon River event, but the one on Duck Creek should be about on time. Both are evening affairs, so have a great dinner in West Yellowstone, then head to the waters. Expect good fishing until dark. Fishing on the Firehole River is holding up with PMDs, BWOs and white millers making for action. For Fall River Basin enthusiasts, don’t expect the Ashton Flagg Road to be open from the Idaho side for a week or two. Also flows in Fall River coming out of the basin are about double normal, so meadow reaches in the basin are presently akin to cranberry bogs. Expect some great fishing there later this summer, and fantastic mosquito hatches through July.
We have been receiving really good reports on the Lower River. Lots of fish eating dry flies in the late afternoon and evening hours. Golden Stones are producing fish during the day and there is a good Pale Morning Dun Hatch during the afternoon. Be sure to have those Gray Drakes in your fly box because those flies should be hatching any day now.
I talked to a friend up in Island Park today who told me that fish are starting to look at PMD’s on the Ranch and the fishing is picking up somewhat. The Box has some salmon flies hanging around and fish have been caught on the banks and in the seam lines in the middle of the river around structure.
The water is high through the whole system compared to previous years but the water clarity is really good and the high flows have pushed some of the bigger fish to the bank. Stop by the shop for an up to the minute report.
Fishing on the Henry’s Fork is really good right now. Pale Morning Duns, Caddis, and Golden Stones are hatching in good numbers right now. Fishing all day and into the evening is recommended. The evening hatch is really good and lots of fish have been caught during this time. I would make sure to pack some Drakes in your fly box, we expect them to be hatching in good numbers any day now. Water Clarity is good. Not much else to say except go fishing, its good right now.
We have some news for the South Fork. First off the clarity is starting to clear up and you have about 2 feet of visibility, until you get down to Fall Creek Falls. The visibility goes downhill from there. The good news is we feel like the peak of the runoff has happened and things should start shaping up and clarity will improve greatly. Insects have starting hatching on the lower river. We have pretty good reports of fish being caught through the canyon on nymphing rigs. Rubberlegs and San Juan Worms have been producing fish. So despite the water clarity being less than desirable the fish are still eating and we catch them. I prefer to fish a larger and brighter fly when the water is off color. The large silhouette of the fly in dirty water makes it stand out to the fish.
The lower river is floatable but it is dangerous. Jimmy floated it this past weekend and he can help you if you have specific questions. The river has completely changed and channels that used to be floatable are no longer. As always we have encouraged people to get out of the boat and walk channels before floating them. I can’t emphasize how important this is right now on the lower river. I would also bring some type of saw with you. If you want to float this section please feel free to call us for any questions.