As is usual this time of year, fishing on the river from Ashton Dam downstream has slowed as waters have warmed significantly. Early AM spinner falls and evening caddis activity can bring some action. Also try streamers at twilight.
Warming waters has slowed fishing on the Madison River within the Park and made fishing dangerous to any fish caught on the Firehole River. Fall River Basin streams are low, clear, and tend to warm up to the low 60s in deg, F. by late afternoon hours. Stealth is the most important aspect for fishing success on these. Best fishing in Fall River Basin is at Beula Lake, and possibly on all of Park still waters. Traditional and parachute Adams (#14-16) on the surface will get attention of gulpers. When/if wind comes up, switch to small leech patterns.
We have word that Montana Dept. of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) has restricted daytime fishing on the Big Hole and Clark’s Fork of the Columbia and Jefferson Rivers. There are also restrictions on the lower Gallatin (mouth to Logan) and lower Madison(Black’s Ford downstream) because of warming waters. Check the Montana FWP Dept. web site for details.
Fishing great! Flow out of Palisades Dam was dropped in two steps down to 13500 cfs on 7/7 and 7/8. This change will not effect fishing. Water temp coming out of dam is near ideal 55 in Deg. F. At Lorenzo it is 58 in same degrees. Palisades Reservoir is about 85% full which is good news for keeping water in the river for the summer, even though current inflow is about half outflow.
Some golden stones still coming out on the upper river. So bring your favorite dry patterns for them, and if you intend to buy some, be sure to choose ones you can see on the surface where you will fish. Not being able to see a pattern trumps all comments of how effective it is! PMDs are coming out in riffles. As daytime advances, begin with your favorite nymph, then emerger, and finally dry pattern when fish feed on surface.
Here’s where you might help: A 6-wt Winston BIIIX with Nautilus FWX, 5/6 system, fell off a vehicle somewhere between Driggs and Palisades boat ramp. Should be along the road. If you find this, please contact us at 524-7160, or [email protected]
Dry damsels are the way to go almost everywhere. Speckled duns are showing up, too. But you had better hurry because draw-down will take effect soon during this hot and dry summer. Fishing with these on Twenty four-mile Reservoir seems to be holding up well. We have not heard much about fishing success on Chesterfield and Treasureton Reservoirs. Daniels Reservoir is fishing well and will be least effected by draw down because of a minimum pool arrangement. But low water anywhere warms and therefore effects fishing.
We have heard only reports of spotty fishing so far, and the damselfly hatch seems to be diminishing each season. But as the lake warms up, fish will head to spring holes and creek mouths. So start breaking out your intermediate lines and get ready to stake out your early morning positions in front of such as Duck, Howard, Hope, and Targhee Creeks.
Firehole River has warmed to the point that trout within are in danger of exhaustion when being played. That is because geothermal water now makes up a higher component in its flow. Iron Spring Creek and the Little Firehole River have cooler water, so trout from the river seek refuge in these during summer. When cooling atmosphere arrives in September the Firehole River will again be in better thermal shape for trout.
Shoshone and Lewis Lakes are warming meaning fish are heading to deeper water. Go to a full-sink line and get out in the lakes for best chance of success.
Lamar River drainage streams are now in good shape for fishing. Being close to roads, especially lower Slough Creek, Soda Butte Creek, and Lamar River in it meadows, expect crowds of anglers to develop. Avoid the most of these by fishing early (spinner falls) and late (PMDs, caddis, ants & beetles, a few golden stones).
Fall River Basin streams are low and clear, meaning they will be tough fishing during these bright, clear days. Expect best dry fly fishing to take place during a cumulus build-up with increase in relative humidity (the drier the atmosphere, the lesser the aquatic insect emergence), all leading to a thunder shower threat. Hey; this train of thought applies to any of our streams!
The Bugs have finally reached the Swan Valley in full force. From about Husky/Palisades boat ramp down, the dry fly fishing with Salmon flies and Golden Stones along the bank is great. Then in the rifles from about 1 o’clock to 4 o’clock the PMD action has also been fishing well. Although, the canyon section of the South Fork still has ton of bugs and is still fishing spectacular with Salmon flies, Golden Stones, Sallies, and PMDs. Then as you continue further down the river from Byington boat ramp down, small Golden stones and PMDs are the main ticket. However, the PMDs did take awhile to start in the rifles, beginning around 1 o’clock. The flows on the South Fork have stayed constant at 14,500 cfs at Irwin.
Dry Flies that I would use are: Brett’s Salmon Fly size 6, Super Chernobyl Pink size 6, CFO Yellow Flamer size 8, CFO Sally X Stone fly size 16, Pink Comparadun size 16 and 18, and a Harrop’s CDC Pink Albert Biot Emerger size 16.
Nymphs and Streamers that I would use are: Brown Rubber Leg size 8, Red Copper John size 16, Pearl Lightning Bug size 16, Kraft’s Kreelex Minnow Gold/Copper size 4, and Gallop’s Yellow Dungeon size 2.
Drake hatches in the Last Chance-Harriman stretch are pretty much over. Now it is on to flavs with PMDs. During these hot dry days fishing early morning spinner falls with your favorite rusty spinner pattern is not only pleasant but productive. The river below Ashton Reservoir is warming meaning slowing action. Evening caddis activity and AM spinner falls is best time to fish. Below Chester Dam irrigation demands have lowered and warmed the river to the point it’s hardly worth a visit. There is some action on the Flat Ranch section of the Henry’s Lake Outlet section for those folks using PMD life cycle and dry damselfly patterns. But if a bigger early season flush had taken place a lot more fish would be present.
On so many of these you can escape crowds as well as fireworks noise. Here’s a sampler of info on some of the better small streams.
Fall River flow is extremely low and warm because of irrigation demands. Fish it early ( favorite spinner patterns) or fish it late (caddis life cyle patterns). Could be good swimming during daytime hours!
Teton River in the basin is fishing quite well, in good shape, and the scenery fantastic. There are several public access locations along the river and in Idaho you are legal while moving around within the high water mark. During mid-day hours expect interruptions from recreational boaters. Fish the early AM spinner fall with your favorite rusty spinner pattern. Or in the evening try caddis, PMD life cycle patterns, sallys, and do not overlook presenting your favorite dry golden stonefly pattern.
The Blackfoot River above the reservoir opened on July 1st. The premier location here is the river going through the Blackfoot River Wildlife Management Area, the former Stocking Ranch. Flow here is near normal. Look for PMDs, a few evening brown drakes, ants and beetles.With all the visits going on at the South Fork and the Henry’s Fork, this gorgeous small river is mostly overlooked.
McCoy Creek has dropped and biggest fish are back in the reservoir. Nevertheless, fishing for moderately sized cutthroat is good and particularly fun with dry patterns. In its middle stretch where meadows are present, this stream is a great place to take an entry level person or youngster.
Warm River below Warm River Spring will always be a good candidate for a visit . Best way to escape crowds on the lower river is to walk up the railroad grade above the campground, then descend to the river. Another way is to drive to Warm River Spring, park in any pull out on approaching the spring, then walk downstream. Try PMD and caddisfly life cycle patterns. You may see a few golden stoneflies. Your favorite ant and beetle patterns will also be effective.
We have a lot more thoughts on fishing these and other small waters. Get in touch or visit the shop, and we can provide more details.