The fishing season here has only eight more days as it is closed after Sunday, November 4th. The best streamer fishing of the season is going on, mainly for brown trout and run-up rainbows in the Madison and lower Gibbon. Other rivers featuring good numbers of migrating browns include the Lewis, Gardiner, Snake, and Firehole below the falls. Other than these, the Firehole above the falls features BWO and white miller hatches. Watch the weather!
It’s brown trout season with runs into the Lewis, Madison, and Gibbon River going in full swing. The Gardner and Snake Rivers will soon be in that category. If pitching big streamers is not your game, the Firehole offers good results for those presenting BWO life cycle and white miller patterns. Regardless of your preference, be prepared for wintry changes in the weather, and realize that fishing season closes after the first Sunday in November.
This is the best time to be fishing in the park. Biting insects are about gone, bull elk are providing natural sound effects, most recreational fly-fishers are also gone, so only the hard core is left. It seems that almost every piece of water will offer something to those hard core fly-fishers that stay within. With respect to still waters, Beula Lake will remain the best still water (with respect to action, not size) in the park. The Lewis Lake shoreline, especially below the campground and near the channel inlet will be a streamer junkie’s delight with migrating browns. If you do not mind the three-mile walk carrying a flotation device down DeLacey Creek trail, there will be plenty of juvenile lake trout lurking around submerged weed beds in Shoshone Lake to take black marabou leeches or scud patterns presented on a full sink line. Late in October the big cuttbows in Trout Lake will take scud patterns in efforts to stock up for the coming winter. There are more streams that are offering good fishing than you can try in the remainder of the season. Anywhere along the Madison River, through pitching big streamer patterns, you will encounter those big, beautiful run-up browns and ‘bows from Hebgen Lake. Late in October the brief run of browns into the Snake River and some of its tributaries and the run of Yellowstone River browns into the lower Gardner River will give streamer lovers some variety. The Firehole River fall baetis and white miller activity will be the place for the small dry fly pattern purist. All meadow streams ( Fall River Basin streams, the river in Gibbon Meadows, Slough and Soda Butte Creeks, Lamar River) will offer early morning trico activity followed by mid-day terrestrial insects shaking off the morning chill. It is truly a late season fly-fishing heaven.
If you are a dry fly enthusiast, presenting hopper patterns is the way to success especially on any Park meadow stream. Watch the Park weather reports before you venture to the northeast corner. Recent storms have discolored the Lamar River. Slough and Soda Butte Creeks are less likely to discolor, but they too can become quite crowded at or near roadside locations. At the southwest corner of the park you will not find crowded fishing on Fall River Basin streams, and they are unlikely to discolor. AM trico activity compliments the daytime use of hopper and other terrestrial insect patterns there. The Firehole River is cooling off, and BWO life cycle, terrestrial insect, white miller, and soft hackle patterns will work and do so even better during stormy periods. If you are a streamer enthusiast, the Madison River is now hosting run-up browns and ‘bows from Hebgen Lake. Best times to encounter them is during low light periods. Are you looking for a small stream that offers fast action? Try Obsidian Creek or any other stream in the upper Gardner River drainage. Are you looking for the best still water fishing in the Park? Nowhere beats Beula Lake this time of year where small leech, small beadhead nymph and cinnamon caddis patterns bring action.
For all Fall River Basin streams fishing success boils down to presenting trico life cycle patterns during AM hours and terrestrial insect patterns afterwards. In slower waters speckled dun life cycle patterns can be effective. Mosquitoes are mostly gone, but horse flies have taken over as top rated pest. Expect fishing success in all meadow reaches to slow during mid-day hours. Same applies to all such streams in the Park and outside.
On all waters cloudy skies with high relative humidity make for the best mid-day fishing this time of year. On meadow streams a repeating theme applies: given bright atmosphere conditions mid-day fishing is not as successful as early in the day or evening fishing. Patterns for spinner falls and terrestrial insects can be most effective during these times of day, and as we advance through fall months streamer patterns become important in attracting larger trout.
Consistent and somewhat higher that normal flows in Fall River Basin streams ( Bechler and Fall Rivers, Boundary, Mountain Ash and Proposition Creeks) means that good fishing should result here for the rest of the Yellowstone Park fishing season. Other than AM trico activity (seems to turn off, like on command, just about noon), some speckled duns and later a few mahoganies blown in from faster waster below are what remains of the extensive late June-early July mayfly activity. Now until killing frosts arrive, is the time to concentrate on presenting terrestrial insect patterns. Doing so will seem obvious to the fly-fisher that ventures through meadows to reach water. Presenting these patterns in the proper manner is more important than pattern selection. That means presenting to the far bank or downstream, both through a slow drift. For sure, you will not experience crowding and early season mosquitoes swarms are much diminished. Deer and horseflies, however, reign supreme, so dress accordingly.
Slough Creek, Soda Butte Creek, and Lamar River are shaping up with green & gray drake and PMD emergences. Terrestrial insects populations are growing to numbers that will attract fish. Fish are looking for these insects, and fly-fishers are looking for fish. Expect company when you fish these beautiful waters, so courtesy may be needed. These waters are physically similar to Fall River Basin waters in the southwest corner of the park. A major difference is that much of the best water in Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek is roadside, whereas the best waters in Fall River Basin streams are remote. That’s enough to show why Fall River Basin streams, of at least the same fishing quality, are much less visited.