Although beginning to warm up, the Firehole River offers the best fishing in the park right now. Soft hackled patterns to simulate PMD and BWO emergers work well as do life cycle patterns for both. White miller patterns are another ” must have” item in that fly box. Also the smallish stonefly event in the canyon will offer wind-pushed big and golden stone adults into the river above, and you can bet the resident trout know what they are. With stormy weather predicted through most of the upcoming week, the Firehole River will be a great place to fish, but will also be well attended with fly-fishers. Consider giving Nez Perce Creek a try with above patterns, but be “bear aware” if you do.
Other places to consider right now in the Park including wading Lewis Lake shoreline to pitch streamers at cruising brown and juvenile lake trout. Some snow remains on the trail to the Lewis River channel above the lake, but if you can break through it to the meadow, the brown trout responding to streamer patterns there will offer great fishing. Fishing in the Lewis River meadow below the lake offers a chance at very large brown trout, but they are the most cautious of browns anywhere. Streamer patterns might offer the best choice in the Gibbon River below the falls and in Duck Creek. Again be very “bear aware” at any of these locations. The Madison River is in a streamer mode for now as post-spawning rainbows head back down to Hebgen Lake.
Flows on the South Fork jumped up to 20,000 cfs today. At these flows your only real option is nymphing with big indicator rigs. There are much better options in the region right now to fish though, give us a call and we can get you squared away. If you are dead set on fishing the South Fork, be extremely careful!
Flow out of Mackay Dam is on the increase and currently at around 450 cfs. This flow makes for tougher wading, which will become tougher as flow increases due to irrigation demands and because Mackay Reservoir needs room for upcoming run-off.
We do not have a lot of fishing information on these right now because so many folks are chasing the Henry’s Fork stonefly hatch. Warm River is a good candidate to try with caddis and BWO life cycle patterns bringing success. The Teton and Fall River drainages are in run-off mode, and the lower Blackfoot River is running high because of downstream irrigation demands.
Most boat traffic now is on the Warm River to Ashton section of the river. But the most fish responding to the stone fly hatch is from Riverside Campground down to Bear Gulch with activity in Box Canyon coming on. Look for boat traffic on these sections to be on the increase. Give the lower river some more days before fish there begin looking for stoneflies again after digesting those from the early days of the hatch. Fall River is putting in much run-off water. This will impact fishing below Chester Dam in the negative.
If you are looking for small water tranquility, here is some information to help you decide on destinations. The Horseshoe Lake Road (off the Cave Falls Road) is open, and rainbows and grayling are present in the lake.. The Harriman Fish Pond has easy access and has holdover rainbows. The road to Teardrop Lake is drying out. The Forest Service suggest letting this go to completion before going to the lake in order to minimize ruts and chuck holes.
The big stonefly hatch peak has passed the river below Ashton Dam. These bugs are just beginning to fly in number in the Hatchery Ford area. So the event is on its way to Box Canyon and beyond. For the river below Ashton Dam wait a matter of days and depending on weather and water temperature, fish will have digested their bugs and be looking for more until the next big hatch ( green or gray drakes?) comes along.