South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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South Western Montana

Jimmy's All Seasons Angler / South Western Montana

Southwest Montana, May 26th, 2020

Governor Bullock intends to remove the self quarantine restriction for out of state visitors on June 1st.  Thus Yellowstone Park  gateway communities will offer all retail services including those for angling.  Likely many businesses will be under social distancing conditions, so consider contacting these before a visit.

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Southwestern Montana, April 24th, 2020

Many anglers have questions about the impact of Covid-19 on non-resident fishing in Montana, especially with the general fishing season opening there in mid-May. To see current non-resident restrictions go to fwp.mt.gov/covid19. On this site select “Quarantine Directives for Out of State Travelers to Montana.”  Open (and save, if desired) “Quarantine Directives.pdf” for details.  These restrictions may change in the near future, so go to this site from time to time.

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Southwestern Montana 8-24-19

The best chances for good still water fishing here is the gulper activity of which that on Hebgen Lake is the most renowned. Comparable hatches happen on other regional still waters, and many of those have fewer fly-fishing attendees. Elk, Hidden, Quake, and Wade Lakes are good examples where fewer fly-fishers means more unattended waters to enjoy.

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Southwestern Montana 7-17-18

Another grayling

Giant and golden stonefly fly adults on the Madison River are moving through the river in the Hebgen Lake area. So the river there is being heavily fished. Same is going on in Yellowstone Park where the Madison’s PMDs, caddis, sallies, and big stonefly remnant are bringing on fly-fishers in big numbers. Getting away from the crowds is easy if you enjoy fishing Montana’s Centennial Valley waters.  Besides tranquility, the good news here is that grayling seem to be in good numbers in Red Rock Creek.   And they are present in several year classes.  Speckled duns and adult damsel flies are providing interest to Elk Lake cutthroat and Hidden Lake rainbows especially during days with less wind, and Elk Lake Resort is serving scrumptious dinners.

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Southwestern Montana 9-26-17

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The Madison River between US Highway 191 north of West Yellowstone and the Madison Arm of Henry’s Lake is easily approached. Right now it hosts a good number of brown and rainbow trout migrating through to spawning areas in Yellowstone Park.  Best times to fish here are first light and evenings. These times not only provide best overhead cover but have minimal human traffic.  Presenting streamer patterns on sink tip lines is the best way to encounter these migrants, and walking and wading here is easy. Give it a try!

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Southwestern Montana 9-16-17

The recent and continuing unsettled weather signals that Hebgen Lake brown and rainbow trout are moving toward the Madison River meaning that they concentrate in the Madison Arm. For now they are on their way into Yellowstone Park and therefore moving into the river between the Highway 191 crossing and the lake where streamer fishing will become increasingly effective.   Presenting streamers in the river between Hebgen and Quake Lakes will also become effective as we move into October.

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Southwest Montana 9-2-17

It appears that grayling in Red Rock Creek are heading downstream to Red Rock Lake.  Few, if any, remain in the creek above the Elk Lake Road bridge. Flow in the creek is a bit higher that normal, but high daytime air temps have have warmed the creek to the point that these fish are moving out.  Some juvenile cutthroat trout are in the creek throughout. Brook trout concentrate in upstream portions.

The Elk Lake Road bridge over Red Rock Creek is being replaced and a section of road north of the bridge is being improved. Construction is on going with gravel being supplied from a pit just east of the Red Rock Lakes Wildlife Refuge. Flaggers direct traffic over the old bridge and through the section of road being improved. These actions appear to not impact the creek.

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Southwestern Montana 8-19-17

If you are looking at fishing the upper Madison River and its West Fork or the Gallatin River and its Taylor Fork, be sure to include spruce fly patterns in that fly box. Certainly there are specific patterns for this insect, but such as an elk hair caddis, small stimulator, or blond humpy work just as well when presented under the same conditions. On most streams the current effective strategy, besides these, is presenting early AM trico spinner patterns, daytime terrestrial patterns, and evening caddis life cycle patterns.

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