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Yellowstone Park

Jimmy's All Seasons Angler / Yellowstone Park

Yellowstone Park 9-17-19

Firehole River is as good as it gets for this time of year. BWOs and white millers are the reasons. Really big fish are quite rare here, but the nearby Madison River hosts an increasing number of trophy size browns and ‘bows coming up from Hebgen.  They are in the river from Madison Junction on down to Baker’s Hole, and they are best encountered when the weather is stormy or at dawn or at twilight.  The Lewis River, anywhere above the canyon, also hosts migrating browns. Either place, Madison or Lewis, streamer patterns are the best for meeting up with them.  In a few weeks there are more park waters we can recommend for migrating browns.

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Yellowstone Park 9-14-19

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The big attraction here is browns becoming active in migrating to spawning areas. Run-up browns  (and rainbows) from Hebgen Lake are beginning their move  into the Madison River and on to the lower Gibbon River.  In the Lewis River system browns are moving from both Shoshone and Lewis Lakes into the river between the two lakes as well as into the river just below Lewis Lake.  In total, this Lewis River system run makes the largest concentration of brown trout in park waters. Later this fall the Gardner and Snake River runs will be worth trying. Fishing during low light conditions will be the best time to encounter any of these these fish. Presenting streamers during these times is the best strategy, but large nymphs presented deep also brings results.

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Yellowstone Park 9-10-19

upper slough (2)

The current cool weather means the Firehole River is worth fishing again. BWO life cycle and white miller caddis patterns offer good ways to obtain action.  So do soft hackle patterns.  Be ready for stormy conditions! Look for early in the day trico activity on most streams.  Terrestrial insect patterns will continue to work on all streams until a killing frost arrives.  Most crowded streams include the Lamar in roadside meadows, Soda Butte Creek, Slough Creek’s lowest meadow (pressure on upper two meadows is thinning), Firehole River, Madison River, and lower Gibbon River on which the upper section is closed due to ongoing native salmonid restoration project.

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Yellowstone Park 8-20-19

Certainly the best current dry fly option for park streams is to present terrestrial insect patterns.  These should include those for spruce moths especially if you intend to fish near forested areas holding spruce and fir trees. These areas include much of the Gallatin and Madison Rivers within the park.  Other areas where spruce moth patterns are productive include the forested section between Slough Creek’s first and second meadows above the campground and around the campground, Lamar River Canyon, Duck Creek above its meadow, and Yellowstone River flowing through pine forested areas.  Be aware of the thick, stop and go  tourist traffic presently on park roads. Minimizes delays because of it by entering as early as possible.

Areal Beula Hering

Many park still waters are in the summer doldrums. These seem not to impact Beula Lake where Yellowstone cutts remain active throughout summer. You have to “pay some dues” in the form of a 2.5 mile walk off the Ashton-Flagg Road ( no worries about traffic here!) to get there, but inlet and east shoreline walk-in wade fishing or packing in a flotation device will result in a worthwhile experience.  Use speckled dun life cycle patterns, cinnamon caddis adult patterns and your favorite small leech patterns.

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Yellowstone Park 8-13-19

A word of caution if you intend fish Park back country waters during mid-August.  The huckleberry season is ongoing and therefore the chance of  encountering black and grizzly bears is on the increase. Huckleberry aroma is enticing and can be detected at distance, even by humans. Bears can detect the aroma much more easily and depend on berry crops for food.  Consider that ripe berry patches near waters hosting good fishing bring increased potential for an encounter. Thus if you smell huckleberries while in the back country, realize bears do the same, and are likely nearby or on the way to feed.    Have bear spray very handy and make noise to announce your presence.  If Park officials suggest avoiding certain locations because of feeding bears, consider their suggestions to be excellent advice.  Good back country fishing will be present after berry season is over.

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Yellowstone Park 8-10-19

Bechler Meadows

Madison River, especially Firehole River below Old Faithful, and Gibbon River below Norris are warm enough not to be recommended for good fly-fishing success.  Soda Butte Creek, the lowest two meadows on Slough Creek, and Lamar River in roadside meadows are very crowded.   There is fast fishing for small brook trout in the upper Gardner River drainage especially away from easy access points.   Diminishing green drake activity, PMD’s and evening caddis activity offer some action on the Yellowstone River above the upper falls. Number of cutts are down, but size is up. Streamers are best bet to encounter the larger cutts there.  Fall River Basin streams are running a bit high but clear and therefore fishing well. Hoppers and other terrestrial insect patterns are best bets for action. Trico activity should start any time. Beula Lake offers some of the fastest fishing in the park. Shoreline can get a bit crowded from time to time due to boy scout visits from nearby Camp Loll, so pack in a float tube and get out in the lake to fish back towards shorelines with speckled dun, damselfly, and cinnamon caddis life cycle and small leech patterns.

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Yellowstone Park 7-23-19

Major quality streams in the northeast portion of the park are now in good fishing shape ( green drakes, PMDs, PM caddis, sallys, terrestrial insects increasing) barring thundershowers that muddy the Lamar River in particular. The problem is that the easily accessed portions ( lower Soda Butte Creek, Slough Creek in meadow below the campground and the meadow just above it, Lamar River meadows) are crowded with visiting anglers.  Getting to these great waters is also frustrating because of the massive tourist traffic on park roads causing delays which shorten ” Time on the Water.”  Minimize these delays by traveling earlier in the day: the earlier the better.  Rewards are lighter tourist traffic and the chance to be first on the water.

Compare this to equivalent or even better quality Fall River Basin streams in the diagonally opposite (Southwest) corner of the Park. These streams ( Fall River and Bechler Rivers, Mountain Ash and  Boundary Creeks)  have non-existent crowding, especially on walking as far as one would on Slough Creek and the Lamar River to find equal social conditions.  And tourist traffic is always minimal.  True, Fall River Basin streams are considerably more remote, about 25 miles distant, half over which is gravel, by road from Ashton ID. But therein lies the reason for their giving a better chance of tranquility and an even a better fishing experience.

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Yellowstone Park 7-20-19

Streams in the northeast corner of the park are now in good fishing shape ( green drakes, sallys, PMDs, caddis). Slough Creek and the Lamar River are a bit high but clear. The lower end of Soda Butte will be the most crowded. A bit high will be a good situation in all waters considering the hot weather predicted for the coming week. Avoid fishing the Firehole below Old Faithful to give the already heat stressed fish a break.

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Yellowstone Park 7-16-19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

fallriver (2)

The only current problem with fishing in the park is tourist traffic. Best way to avoid it is to get there early.  Yellowstone River above Chittenden Bridge opened to fishing yesterday.  We have no reports on fishing there yet, but soon big stoneflies ( already in the canyons below) and then green drakes will bring on activity.

Please avoid fishing the Firehole River below Old Faithful until September. Daytime water temps now get into the seventy degrees F. making playing fish lethal. The Madison and Gibbon ( no salmonids above Virginia Cascade) are also warming up making evenings and early AMs (PMD spinner & caddis life cycle patterns) the best times to fish.  The upper Gallatin is shaping up, a bit high but clear, with stoneflies and caddis providing action. Traditional attractor patterns always work well on this stream.

Northeast corner streams are rounding into shape. Slough Creek is a bit high, but clear. Green drakes are beginning with PMDs and yellow sallies providing action there and on other streams.  Look for lower section of Soda Butte Creek to become crowded as soon as good fishing arrives.  Thunder showers can muddy the Lamar to the point of “you’ll have to wait a day or two.”

Water levels are dropping in all Fall River Basin streams ( Bechler & Fall rivers, Boundary & Mountain Ash Creeks). Terrestrial insect season is around the corner on these streams. PMDs are still around, but in smaller sizes. Beula Lake is offering some of the fastest fishing in the Park. You will need to complete a two and a half mile walk from the Ashton-Flagg Road to enjoy it, but the rewards are Yellowstone cutts with a few up to trophy size. Damselfly life cycle and small leech patterns work well. Soon speckled dun and cinnamon caddis will peak. Pack in a flotation device for best fishing, but wading the inlet and east side gets you into fish.

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Yellowstone Park 7-9-19

The Firehole is beginning to warm enough that the revival chances of  C&R fish diminish each day.   Fishing on the Madison depends mostly on quality of the PMD emergence. Because of the removal actions last year, the Gibbon above Virginia Cascade is essentially fishless. Meadow sections on the Gibbon below, however, are offering evening brown drake emergences. A more sporadic brown drake emergence is ongoing on Duck Creek.

Northeast side streams  (Slough, Soda Butte, Buffalo Fork, and Pebble  Creeks and Lamar River) are beginning to drop and therefore need more time to offer good fishing.  Trout Lake is “mossing up” making dropper and surface fishing the only ways to go.

Fall River streams are under going erratic flows because of weather and snow remaining on Madison and Pitchstone Plateaus above.  This is mosquito season in the basin (and at many other park locations), so dress accordingly. Beula Lake offers very good fishing especially for those willing to carry a flotation device into the lake. Speckled dun and damselfly activity there means life cycle patterns will work. So will small leech and bead head nymph patterns.  The same applies on a smaller scale to Riddle Lake with a shorter walk  (about a mile) off the South Entrance Highway

Streams of the upper Gardner River drainage, such as Glen, Indian, and Obsidian Creeks, etc. are now great places to take entry level fly-fishers.  Small but aggressive brook trout make up the fishing here, and the best action is away from the roads.

The Upper Yellowstone River (above the Falls) opens July 15th.  Below Grand Canyon the river is discolored from Lamar River inflow, but offers some success for those presenting streamer, woolly bugger, and rubber leg patterns.

 

 

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