Not much change here since our last report. But as we cool down and days shorten, changes are coming with respect to where to fish on the lake. When we get reports on the best locations for fall fishing, we will place that info here.
With Labor Day weekend passing some welcomed happenings are coming. Crowds fishing the river will decrease substantially, waters will cool thanks to shortening and cooling days, and flow out of Island Park Reservoir will drop in preparation for winter storage. These will result in better fishing conditions all along the river. Likely the lower river will “come back to life” with renewed BWO hatches, continuing terrestrial insect and caddis activities, and increased effectiveness of presenting streamer patterns during low light conditions. The upper river will benefit as decreased flows in Box Canyon will make for safer wading and better approachability there. Above the reservoir big rainbows are moving into the river to feed on kokanee spawn. and throughout terrestrial insect pattens will remain effective until killing frosts. So it is a great time to be fishing just about anywhere on the river.
Flow out of Palisades Dam is at 10300 cfs. With the reservoir about a third full fly-fishers are wondering when flows will be reduced to begin storage. It sure has been a spotty year for riffle fishing, but high water is likely not the only reason. Nevertheless there remains time enough for some enjoyable riffle fishing if and when flow out of the dam drops further. Mean while keep hitting the banks with hopper, chernobyl types, and super renegade patterns, and you will have some success. Don’t forget to include streamer patterns for evening fishing.
Big news here is that the Park has lifted fishing restrictions on the Firehole and Gibbon rivers below their falls and on the Madison River. With days shortening and cooling, water temps have come down to levels better for hosting salmonids. You can now enjoy trout feeding during AM trico hatches and spinner falls as well as presenting terrestrial patterns during day time on these waters previously closed most of the day.
Gulpers are going on in Hebgen Reservoir. Most action is on the Madison Arm, but the South Fork Arm, with more protection from winds, also offers action. We have reports that the river between Hebgen and Quake lakes is beginning to fish well as waters begin to cool. Try caddis life cycle patterns, and switch to streamers when the sun goes down.
Mackay Reservoir at the upper end and Island Park Reservoir around Trude Bay and Grizzly Springs are the best locations for action with bloodworm and midge pupa patterns. Add Springfield Reservoir to the mix where dry damselfly patterns presented around weed channels and springs bring dry fly action. With a big weekend coming up expect company in these places as other still waters with action such as these are few and far between.
Terrestrials and tricos are bringing action on many Park streams. One of the best trico emergences anywhere is in the lower Bechler Meadows around the Boundary Creek confluence. You will need to start walking in at first light or camp nearby to enjoy it until around noon. When the emergence is is over, take out the terrestrial patterns and go into the meadow above to see if your fly fishing abilities are up to par.
The flow out of Palisades Dam has been just about stable for a long time now. The river is high for the time of year impacting riffle fishing. Other factors such as the warm summer (water coming out of Palisades Reservoir is around 64 deg. F. now) and the fact that hatches have off years too are involved. Nevertheless, you can find good fishing on the river by being an early bird. It means getting on the river at sunrise, about 6:30 PM, but bringing those chernobyl types and favorite hopper patterns to slam the banks will bring action. Early before sun gets on the water is also a good time to try streamers, so your favorite versions should in your fly box.
On the personal side, Wes Newman’s ashes were placed in the river this weekend. He passed away July 24, 2011. For those who remember, Wes was a South Fork advocate the likes of which we will never see again with respect to knowledge, fishing ability, generosity, and personality. His “foam stone” and “super-X” remain among the most effective patterns created for this and any other river.