Best bet now is to try the larger of these such as Teton, Fall, Blackfoot, Warm and Portneuf rivers and creeks such as Big Elk, Bitch, Crow, Robinson, Stump, and the sinks streams (Little Lost River, Birch, Medicine Lodge and Beaver-Camas creeks). Reason is that as water flow decreases and insect activity declines, fish in smaller tributaries will move to larger waters that offer more overhead cover and food. In the sinks streams fish will concentrate in deeper waters. Caddis, midge, BWO, and decreasing trico activity will bring fish up through the water column on all these, but the best bet for action is through streamers and small wooly bugger types.
Hebgen Lake browns and rainbows are in the Madison River now. Water temperature is around 50 Deg. F. , and when it drops into the mid and lower forties fishing will improve. Go after these fish with streamer patterns. Expect more action on cloudy or stormy days when fish may migrate through shallower water. On bright days they tend to seek the cover of deep holes and runs. Try nymph rigs if you want to get into more juveniles and whitefish. If river otters show up, like they did during our visit, find a new place on the river to fish!
There are several good locations to wade the river now that flows are dropping. Big brown trout are responding to streamer patterns fished early and late in the day. Try below Gem Lake Dam on either side of the river, or off the Shelly I-15 connector.
BWOs are active almost everywhere during afternoons when shadows begin to extend. If we get into cloudy weather, fish will respond to BWOs in better numbers, and hatches will be more intense. It is also the time of year to present streamers for migrating browns. The section between Ashton Dam and Chester backwaters is a popular place to wade fish. There are also locations for wade fishing below Chester Dam downstream to below St. Anthony. From Warm River to Ashton Reservoir backwaters a boat will get you into the best fishing. Pattern choice is not critical at these locations so long as your fly box includes somber and bright ties.
You can find action just about anywhere on the lake lately. Creek mouths may offer the best action, but will be the most crowded, especially f a boat dock is near by. No need to consider anything elaborate because standard Henry’s Lake patterns are working.
Island Park Reservoir is a good choice for fishing now. Fish are taking trolled leech patterns all around the lake. Chesterfield Reservoir, low water and all, is also producing. So is Daniels Reservoir. Try suspending zebra midges under indicators. Low water and what is left of Twenty-Four Mile Reservoir also produces if you can get your floating device to the water. Try your favorite midge pupa pattern under an indicator or offer a small leech pattern. Sand Creek Ponds seem to be slow fishing for most folks, but a hard frost could make action there improve.
Flow out of Palisades Dam has been around 4200 cfs for several days meaning stability, but expect more drops in flow out of the dam as we move through the fall season. We will keep you posted when these happen. All these drops in flow make for better and more wading opportunities, but make float fishing a bit tougher. The BWO activity will be suppressed during these bright days, but they will emerge in smaller numbers during afternoons when shadows lengthen. Streamers will be your best best for encountering big browns this time of year.
Although water is low, Chesterfield Reservoir continues to produce good fishing with some nice bows being taken on various leach patterns. We have reports of good fishing on Springfield Reservoir where midge pupa patterns under indicators and small leech patterns are producing. Action on Sand Creek Ponds should be picking up with the arrival of cooler weather. A good bet there would be small leech patterns or Dave Whitlock’s red fox squirrel nymph.
You could say this is the “browns and BWO with some ‘bows thrown in” season. Browns are beginning their fall migration in such as the Lewis , Madison, Gibbon, and Yellowstone rivers and Duck Creek. Runs in the Gardner and Snake rivers will come a bit later. Rainbows are running up the Madison River from Hebgen Lake and are actively rising to BWOs in the Firehole River. Meadow streams still offer fishing with terrestrial patterns. Elk are bugling, geese are honking, wolves are howling, and remaining coyotes are yipping. Those noises sure beat the motorized variety. On top of all this crowds are down on most waters. So it is a great time to be fishing in the Park.