All streams around Yellowstone Park feature high water. That includes the Gallatin River and most of the Madison River above Ennis Lake. Big stoneflies may be active here, but big question is will trout full of annelids respond.
High water has slowed fishing in Clark Canyon Reservoir. Midging in water around ten feet deep brings some action. Best fishing on the Madison River is between Hebgen and Quake lakes, but half the world’s fly-fishers are there. The Beaverhead River is good fishing thanks to PMD and yellow sally activity. Giant stoneflies are out on the Big Hole River.
Best fishing here is for those anglers following the Hebgen Lake midge emergence. Try shallow waters in any of the arms or west side bays with your favorite pupa patterns and a strike indicator. There is good nymph and streamer fishing in Madison River below Hebgen Dam, but it gets crowded. Also, ‘bows there are finishing spawning so are not in top condition. All regional shops ask that anglers avoid crossing or disturbing redds here. And that is for good reason–they hold much of our future fishing.
Madison River below Quake Lake remains discolored and high, but fishing the soft water with streamers on S. J. worms can be effective. River just below Hebgen Dam is in good shape , but it gets crowded. Quake Lake is discolored because of Beaver and Cabin creek run-off.
Best stream fishing here is the Beaverhead. Sallies, BWO, caddis have made for great recent action for top water enthusiasts. Nymphing produces, too. The Madison remains muddy below Quake Lake. Beaver and Cabin creeks are the reasons why. They have muddied Quake Lake and a part of the Madison above.
Cabin and Beaver creeks are putting muddy run-off big time into Quake Lake and the Madison River just above it. So much of this stuff coming in that the Madison coming out of Quake Lake is also discolored. From Cabin Creek upstream to Hebgen Dam the river is in great shape, but there are more anglers there than resident trout. Remembering that this is opening weekend for Montana fishing general season, expect crowds just about anywhere . The Beaverhead River below Clark Canyon Dam remains in good shape with PM BWO and caddisfly activity bring responses.
Big question here is when will roads be passable, and when will ice leave such a Hebgen Res., Wade and Cliff lakes. Road to Lonesomehurst campground on the South Fork Arm of Hebgen is open, but snow-bound from there to Firehole Ranch. Same snow-bound conditions exist on county roads approaching Hebgen Res. Road over Red Rock Pass to Centennial Valley remains snow-bound. Clark Canyon reservoir is ice free. Fishing from shore with bead head nymphs is producing, but wind has made getting out on the water tough.
On all rivers, BWOs (adults, spinners) provide PM action, especially on overcast days. Use nymphs during AM hours. October caddis will also bring fish up, too. Streamers are the name of the game in the Beaverhead and Madison rivers. Browns are moving on both. Good locations to try for migrating browns is the Madison reach between Hebgen and Quake lakes and the river above Hebgen Lake. Big streamers trolled on Elk Lake should bring responses from lake trout (C&R fishing only) and cutts. Same thing on Wade Lake where biggest browns run deep.