Big happening on a lot of streams is appearance of spruce moths. The Gallatin and the Big Hole have famous hatches, but any stream flowing through fir or jackpine forests will have significant hatches of these insect that we are not fortunate to have, except that they attract trout. Best fishing for them is after morning sun warms them enough to fly and mate. Hebgen Lake gulper action has been a bit spotty as of late, but late in the day fishing on the river below has been good when spinner falls or caddis swarms take over. Want a treat with a lightweight system? try the West Fork of the Madison River. You can drive for miles up this stream to catch eager browns, bows and cutts. Nothing big, for sure, but great action in the riffles, runs and pools. It’s another great choice for taking an entry level or physically challenged person.
Here’s a blanket statement for all Park streams with a higher gradient (ie: Gallatin River, Snake River, lower Lewis River, upper Gibbon River, Cave Falls area on Fall River): expect action with caddis life cycle patterns in the evening, spinners in the AM and again in the evening, and terrestrial patterns during daytime. Any day now, as we cool off, tricos will become important enough for fish to take notice on many streams and even still waters. Be assured that as a result there will be many places in the Park that will offer great AM fishing.
A quick note to say that the flow out of Palisades Dam was dropped from 10300 cfs to 10200 cfs two days ago. This small adjustment will not impact fishing. But as Jimmy said recently, expect more flow reductions coming up out of the dam. Some will be significant, others like this one not important with respect to fishing action
The South Fork continues to fish very well. We have benefited from cool water temperatures and some great overcast weather and rain showers. The flow dropped another 1,000 cfs earlier this week bringing the river down to 10,300 cfs at Irwin. We should continue to see additional drops in the flow as irrigation demand goes down.
Each drop in the water exposes more cobble and causes the wingless golden stone to emerge. The decreases are also making the riffles more defined and creating more riffles. We are seeing good hatches of pink pale morning duns during the day and caddis in close to dark.
The lower river below Byington has been productive with big hopper and chernobyl patterns. The riffle fishing has been good to which is probably due again to the cooler temperatures this summer. The morning water temps at Lorenzo have been cooler(58 degrees) than the upper river at (60 degrees).
We have been having good success fishing a pair of dry flies in the riffles even before the hatch starts. Try a #14 or 16 parachute trailed by a thorax pale morning dun, thorax pink albert or a parachute pmd spinner. Once the hatch starts and the fish start rising to the actual bugs be ready to change patterns from duns to emergers to nymphs and then maybe back to a dun.
In addition to caddis in the evening fish a #6-10 gold or purple bodied chernobyl against the bank and over the drop offs.
We hear that fishing is slowing down a bit on the Madison River, but not so on Hebgen Lake where morning gulpers are providing great fishing. Other lakes in this area provide gulper fishing, and have nearby accommodations in the form of lodges or campgrounds. Consider trying the north and south ends of Elk Lake or shallows along the west shore of Wade Lake for gulpers.
Best tactic for almost all meadow streams here is presenting terrestrial patterns. The exceptions are the meadow reaches of the Madison River drainage where water temperatures are high enough to stress fish when being caught. But for Fall River Basin streams (Bechler and Fall Rivers, Boundary and Mountain Ash Creeks), Slough, Obsidian, and Soda Butte Creeks, and Lamar River, hopper, ant, and beetle patterns will bring your best chances for action. As I have mentioned in past reports, the humpy is a superb deerfly and horsefly pattern. Do not be on the stream without it! Best still water action in the Park is, as usual this time of year, at Beula Lake where gulpers are active. You can fish them from shore or from the float tube you backpack in. Small leech patterns will always get you chances for action there. If you do not want to do the two and a half mile walk to Beula, the two mile walk over flat ground to Riddle Lake gets you into the same action, albeit by smaller cutts. Fish the northwest corner of the lake from shore .
If you fish the Last Chance-Pinehaven reach, your best bet for action is through terrestrial patterns. Mornings offer action from fish seeking spinners, but after that, prospect banks and channels between weed beds with hopper patterns. This technique, although a bit uncertain, can be educating through learning favorite locations big fish move to for a meal. Be sure to look for flying ants, because as Mike Lawson offers, fish really key on them during their presence, and even in their absence this time of year. Forget the river below Ashton Dam until we begin the late summer cool down. Cardiac Canyon waters are best fished with terrestrial patterns or two nymph rigs.
Fished Big Elk Creek up to the slide yesterday. The stream is in great shape with water temps climbing into the low 50s in deg. F by 3 PM. No flavs yet, but caddis and a few PMDs emerged. Best bet now is to fish hopper and ant patterns until flavs decide to emerge. We hear that McCoy Creek is fishing very well. Nothing really big being caught, but good surface action from fish seeking terrestrial insects. Traditional attractors in small (#14-16) sizes will work, too. Here’s a great place to take a youngster, entry level, or physically challenged person because of abundant roadside access and eager cutts. Add Palisades Creek to the list of those fishing well (terrestrial and traditional patterns again with a bigger share of caddis life cycle patterns), but it is brushier than McCoy Creek and requires a bit more walking to reach the best fishing.
Right at midnight flow out of Palisades Dam was dropped from 11600 cfs to to 10300 cfs. Water temp there is currently 60 deg. F. Give the system a day or two for fish to equilibrate, and the really good fishing will resume. This is a step-down we must expect this time of the agricultural season, but in the direction of more choices for wading. We still have a good flow for float fishing. Look for good riffle fishing from pink alberts and PMDs, hit the banks with big dries because hoppers are plentiful, and do not overlook the big caddisflies emerging near evening.