There have been two drops of 1,000 cfs each the past two days bringing the flow down to 7,000. When we get drops in the flow it exposes more of the cobble stone rock and another emergence of the wingless golden stones occurs. One of the best times to fish the golden stone/chernobyl type flies is early in the morning from first light untillate morning.
Fishing on the South Fork has been changing day to day. The Upper section through Swan Valley seems to be a little temperamental from day to day. One day it will be on fire and the next nothing. I have found fishing through the Canyon early in the morning hours has been productive throwing streamers and twitching Chernobyl Ants. The warm clear sunny days have put the PMD hatches down and there are still a few Mahogany’s hatching. Cloudy and or rainy weather will get the fish up and eating mayflies. Fishing towards the evening hours is also effective. Zebra Midges are great droppers for a dry fly presented close to the bank.
The cottonwood trees are beginning to change color right now the next two weeks will yield some very picturesque views while floating the South Fork.
Flow out of Mackay Dam is about 250 cfs making for safe wading almost everywhere below. Tricos provide early morning action, and BWOs and terrestrials do the same during mid day hours.
Until a general killing frost hits the Park, terrestrial patterns will be the best dry fly way to find action during daytime hours. Tricos continue to emerge during mornings on many streams and evening caddis flights complete the reasons to find day long activity. On the Firehole River BWOs are into their classic autumn appearance. But as we approach closer to October streamer fishing will take over on most streams as the best way to encounter the largest fish. This is particularly true on the Madison River drainage below barrier waterfalls, on the Lewis River between Shoshone and Lewis lakes, the lower Yellowstone River (in the Park), and the Snake River at the south entrance. Still water fishing can also be excellent. Nowhere is action faster than on Beula Lake with Riddle Lake likely second. Both host Yellowstone cutts always eager for a meal. On Lewis and Shoshone lakes fishing away from shore remains the best way to encounter migrating browns, but fish close to shore will become increasingly effective as we advance through October.
Talk about stability, the last several weeks flows have not changed to speak of (9000 give or take a few cfs out of Palisades Dam). PMDs (#18-20) continue to provide action in riffles and terrestrial insects add a great supplement so that dry fly fishing is as one would expect in the late summer on the South Fork. We are near the time of season where BWOs and mahogany duns take over for PMDs, and no doubt a few are showing up now. Be sure to have those streamer patterns if you fish in the evening.
Expect action to pick up all over as we cool off. No hard frosts yet in most areas, but speckled duns are not as numerous as a month ago. Midge activity is picking up, so rely more and more on pupa patterns under an indicator. In many waters leech and damselfly nymph patterns will remain effective until freeze-up. Shallow waters will provide the best fishing everywhere.
The lower river is discolored from construction activities at both Ashton and Chester dams. To keep up on these activities go to the Henry’s Fork Foundation (www.henrysfork.org) home page and look at the “Latest News” box for updates.
No hard frosts yet in much of the area means that many of these waters continue to offer great fishing. Stay with the terrestrial, attractor, caddis, BWO and trico (if any emerging) life cycle patterns. Some of these streams (Salt River tribs, Robinson Creek, etc) will host brook or brown trout runs, so bring streamers. South Fork and Palisades Reservoir tribs are having hecuba hatches. These big late summer drakes will attract fish and provide some great late season dry fly fishing.
This is the fishing hot spot in the entire region, but there are specifics for enjoying it. First, go to the creek mouths. Targhee, Howard and Duck creeks are the best locations. Get there REAL early to “stake your claim”, especially on week ends. REAL early means sunrise! “Stake your claim” in shallow water because most fish are at three to five feet in depth. Fish your favorite nymph or soft hackle pattern under an indicator at this depth. Floating lines are best for this method. Expect lots’a company ( there were at least twenty boats in front of Howard Creek at mid morning last Saturday). So allow room for fellow anglers and be patient and polite. Weed beds are still numerous in the lake and water temps hover in the mid fifties in degrees F. Thus it will take some real cooling off before weeds break up.
The South Fork is really starting to pick up right now. Flows have stayed steady at 9,000 cfs. The Mutant Stones have begun hatching again and fish are up eating them. Throw Chubby Chernobyl and CFO Ant to emulate these bugs. Don’t forget to twitch them. PMD’s have been hatching in the later morning and in the afternoon. I have found great success by adding a dropper on my dry fly when things seem to slow down a little. Tungsten Zebra Midges, and Redemption Nymphs have been working well. If we get a rainstorm a BWO and Mahogany Dun hatch will emerge. There are still a lot of little fish being caught and the bigger sized fish we are used to catching this year are strong and healthy fighters. Truly a fun river to fish right now. With Fall coming the colors will really begin to pop and camping on the river should be top notch.