South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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Fishing Reports

Jimmy's All Seasons Angler / Fishing Reports (Page 6)

South Fork 8-19-17

The flow out of Palisades Dam has been essentially constant at around 9000 cfs (about 100 cfs higher at Heise) for about two weeks, so this stability certainly helps fishing success. Finally the riffle fishing is worth trying on most on the river where an off-color (yellow-olive) PMD, #16, is emerging with fish responding.  Hopper-dropper combinations work well when drifted through runs, pockets and into the heads of holes. Some mutant golden stones are appearing on the lower river, so look for this event to move upstream over the upcoming days.  Look for improved dry fly fishing to last well into September when hopefully good BWO and mahogany dun activity will convince trout to look on top for some food.

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Yellowstone Park 8-19-17

For sure such great but easily approached park waters such as the Gibbon, Lamar and Madison Rivers, Slough and Soda Butte Creeks have as many fly-fishing visitors as resident trout. Fall River Basin features streams where the sames strategies apply (current emphasis on presenting terrestrial insect patterns daytime, and trico spinner patterns in the AM, caddis life cycle patterns in later PM) but much fewer fly-fishing visitors.  But Fall River Basin also features Beula Lake which this time of year offers perhaps the fastest fly-fishing in the park.  It is only a 2.5 mile walk off the Ashton-Flagg Road and can be fished from shore to enjoy a Yellowstone cutthroat trout population with individuals ranging to trophy size. Before usual PM breezes kick in, dry fly action through presenting  cinnamon caddis, speckled dun and damsel fly adult patterns around the shoreline can be excellent. Afterwards small leech, and nymph patterns bring the best action.  The Ashton-Flagg road is rough but with care can be traveled by such as sedans.   Like much of the park Fall River Basin is bear country and PM thundershowers are frequent. Other than these for which standard precautions apply, no big dangers exist. Contact us for more information on fishing not only Beula Lake but other Fall River Basin waters whether Beula Lake or the other quality waters within.

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South Fork 8-15-17

Not much change here. Even flow out of Palisades Dam is about the same as last week. Dry fly fishing shows little improvement since then also. It a year with a unusual major situation (lengthy high water period) than recent years.  So we have expect differences, even though the fish are still in residence.

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Southwestern Montana 8-12-17

For the Madison River, same as on the Henry’s Fork: expect best action during early in the day spinner falls and evening caddis activity. Terrestrial patterns along well vegetated banks will be you best bet during day time.  If you fish below the wade only section, whether you are wading or from a boat, expect interruptions from other boating anglers having accents or lingo from all corners of the world.

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Still Waters 8-12-17

The “Fish deep, Fish early, etc”  saying still applies just about everywhere.   The only exception might be for presenting dry speckled dun and damselfly patterns in the event rising fish are spotted.   On most of our reservoirs the top several inches of water are warmer than below and therefore of less comfort when fish move into this level. This suggests that only a dense emergence of these insects will bring fish to the top and that in other situations they are more likely to feed at lower depths on such as nymph, leech, and pupa forms simply because of higher dissolved oxygen concentrations.  Thus be sure to include  these “deeper water” patterns in that fly box even though you may spot fish rising.

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Yellowstone Park 8-12-17

If you enjoy presenting terrestrial insect patterns on meadow streams, this time of year the park offers an unmatched variety of quality waters for doing so. Starting in the southwest corner, all Fall River Basin (Bechler, & Fall Rivers, Boundary & Mountain Ash Creeks) streams have meadow reaches full of ants, beetles, crane flies, and grasshoppers and not many fly-fishing visitors. The same insects prevail in the meadow stretches on Duck Creek and the Gibbon River, and the “Grasshopper Bank” on the Madison River was named for good reason.  Do Firehole River trout a favor and try elsewhere until late September cools waters to their comfort. Now that the big stonefly events have moved through the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone River, terrestrial insect patterns bring the big interest from trout as they do on the Gardner River meadow sections. Not to be outdone, the northeast corner of the park offers almost a many quality meadow streams as Fall River Basin, but in a more crowded manner. Lamar River and Slough and Soda Butte Creek offer roadside convenience as well as upstream isolation.  To the south, Lewis River meadow sections and the Snake River around and above the south entrance offer the same.

Certainly aquatic insect activity attracts trout on all these waters with such as AM spinner falls,  daytime PMD & speckled dun emergences and some afternoon caddis activity. But you can bet on those big fish lurking in undercuts and beneath well-vegetated banks waiting for that unfortunate terrestrial guy drifting by and a resulting take!

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Small Streams 8-12-17

What a difference a year makes with respect to small stream fishing success! Last year such as Palisades Reservoir tribs as McCoy and Bear Creeks were slow dry fly fishing most of the summer. Now both host some large cutts that have remained in-stream because of abundant food, better cover, and cooler water.  Traditional dry patterns (humpys, renegades, wulffs, p-chute adams & cahills), caddis life cycle, and terrestrial insect patterns bring action with the chance for a trophy cutt responding from late morning to early evening.  Afternoon western green drake (flav) activity on Big Elk Creek, in addition to what works on other reservoir tribs, makes that creek particularly fun to visit.  Look for the kokanee run to start there soon, and let’s see if the same happens on Bear Creek where IDF&G transplanted some last year from Big Elk Creek.  Teton River PMD and speckled dun activity is bringing action in the river in the Basin.  But the canoe, kayak, row boat, and paddle-board emergence can hinder mid day fishing. So best chance for uninterrupted fishing there is during early AM spinner falls, and evening caddis emergence, but do not overlook presenting terrestrial insect patterns during daytime and early evening. The Blackfoot River above the reservoir features cutts responding to the great grasshopper abundance in not only the wildlife management area but the Monsanto purchase downstream of the narrows.

So it goes on and on with great small stream fishing in the area. Come to the shop, or get in touch with us for more info on our abundance of great small waters to visit and current conditions on them.

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Henry’s Fork 8-12-17

For the lower river “fish early, fish late ” applies and likely will until the end of summer, especially downstream of the Ashton Dam.  Early spinner falls (some PMDs and increasing tricos) and late day caddis activity are the best events for having action.  Presenting terrestrial insect patterns provides the best chance for action during day time (also effective early evenings), whether wading or presenting back toward the banks from a boat.   Trail those patterns with a small bead head nymph of choice.  Similar strategy applies to the river at Last Chance-Harriman section, but take into account the increasing presence of flying ants.  Flow out of Henry’s Lake is holding up (100 cfs) in the Flat Ranch section with trico spinner falls, speckled dun activity and terrestrial insect presence the bases for action.  However with warming water coming in from the lake above, look for fishing action to slow a bit as we move through August.

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South Fork 8-12-17

Finally riffle fishing is nearing the good category! PMDs and pink alberts are emerging  from these. Emergences  of both are overlapping a bit more than usual  because of high water earlier this summer.   So choosing the best pattern at a given time is interesting. Fishing back to the banks seems to be lagging a bit even though terrestrial insect population is excellent, so look for future improvement.  Be sure to keep rubber leg patterns in that fly box because although not significant mutant golden stone flies are yet to appear, their nymphs are migrating. Right now flow out of Palisades Dam is about 9000 cfs and about the same at Heise.  That’s just about where the flow should be historically.

One thing to consider is that the lengthy time of high water coming from the dam has changed local bottom structure in the river below.  In places riffles have moved downstream, some have become runs, some holes have deepened while others have filled in, and so on. For sure the fish are still in the river, but favored locations are not always in the same places as last season. Now the fun will be to figure out where the best new locations for fishing are.

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Still Waters 8-8-17

“Fish early, fish late, fish slow, fish deep!” So recommends our own Tom Banyas. Try leech patterns when doing so.  be aware that the notice for blue-green algae on Henry’s Lake may eventually apply to some other still waters.  Likely the best and most consistent still water fishing in the area remains on Hebgen Lake bays where gulpers are still active during wind-free AM hours.

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