Other than dry fly fishing (BWO & caddis life cycle patterns, terrestrial patterns) picking up on the Firehole River and the onset of killing frosts coming up, the big news is the beginning of brown trout runs. Browns accompanied by rainbows are running in increasing numbers from Hebgen Lake into the Madison River drainage, especially in the park. Browns from Lewis and Shoshone Lakes are moving into the “The Channel,” as the river between the lakes is known, as well as the Lewis Lake outlet. Good numbers of brown trout running into the Gardner and Snake Rivers will begin a bit later. Presenting streamer patterns is the name of the game for these runs. All these events attract anglers, so expect some crowding. One way to minimize crowding is to pick the worst weather days for a visit. Other park waters offering good fishing include Slough and Soda Butte Creek and the Lamar River where morning trico events and mid-day terrestrial activity bring action. As long as the Ashton-Flagg Ranch Road is open, Beula Lake will offer some of the fastest fishing in the Park. Riddle Lake off the south entrance road near the Continental Divide will also offer eager cutthroat, albeit a bit smaller in size.
The south entrance is now open to traffic. Start thinking about brown trout migrating to “The Channel” between Lewis & Shoshone lakes as well as to the Lewis Lake outlet. Shoreline fishing on Lewis Lake will also pick up, but be sure to wade with reliable, leak-proof waders with warm clothing beneath! Pitching big streamers will be the name of the game here for the rest of the season.
Because of the Berry fire flaring up again along the John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway between Grand Teton and Yellowstone Parks, the south entrance road has been closed again. Slough Creek campground and surroundings remain closed because of the Buffalo fire. When we receive info on these areas re-opening we will post such here. The Norris Junction-Mammoth Hot Springs Road will re-open 7 AM, October 7th.
With respect to fishing, cooler weather means the Firehole River is offering improving conditions for fishing. Patterns for BWOs and caddis life cycle phases along with those for terrestrial insects will bring action. Hebgen Lake browns and rainbows are showing up in the Madison River, so streamer and large soft hackled patterns should be in the fly box. On most other streams terrestrial insect patterns will bring best chances for action until a killing frost happens.
If you intend to fish any of the Park streams that run through meadows, the choice of flies this time of year is easy.Take terrestrial insect patterns with an emphasis on those of hoppers. All of these: Bechler River, Boundary Creek, Duck Creek, Fall River, Gibbon River, Lamar River, Lewis River, Madison River, Slough Creek, Snake River, Soda Butte Creek, and others hosting large fish that relish hoppers this time of year. If you arrive early in the day on some of these, look for trico swarms and fish actively feeding.
The south entrance is now open. The lightning caused 7000 acre Buffalo Fire, northeast of Tower Junction, has closed day use of the Slough Creek area including primitive camp sites and Slough Creek Campground. Access to Duck Creek is impacted by the Boundary Fire north of West Yellowstone.
With the close of the Yellowstone River drainage waters in Montana, there is a chance that the same could happen to the river in the Park. The Park is extremely protective of its natural resources, and rightfully so. We will watch this situation, and you can do the same by going to the Yellowstone Park web site. Presenting terrestrial patterns brings the best chance for action on almost all Park streams this time of year. The fastest action on still waters will be enjoyed the most on such as Beula and Riddle Lakes where gulpers work until the wind comes up. Then switching to small bead head nymph or leech patterns takes over as being most effective.
It appears that outflow from Grassy Lake Reservoir has been reduced. This will give better dry fly fishing in Fall River below. Concentrate on presenting terrestrial insect patterns. Presenting trico patterns will soon be important there as we move through August into September. In fact terrestrial patterns will bring success on almost all park streams this time of the season. In addition, try soft hackled patterns on these waters, especially during evenings.
Some of the fastest fishing in the park can be experienced currently at Beula Lake. Speckled dun and damselfly emergences and egg laying actions will bring cutthroat trout to the surface, while nymph and small leech patterns will interest those staying subsurface. Getting there is a bit slow because of the Ashton-Flagg Ranch surface condition and the 2.5 mile hike, but there are no major road construction projects to deal with on the way as are underway on US Highways 20 and 26.
Some green drakes remain on Yellowstone River where it is open to fishing in the Hayden Valley area. Pelican Creek, except for the lower two miles, is now open to fishing, but is only a shadow of its former self. Some post-spawning cutthroat are heading back to the lake and will take most small or medium sized fly patterns offered. Beula Lake is living up to its reputation of being a great fishery. Try small leech and damselfly nymph patterns for best wet flies. Dry adult damsel patterns work well close to shorelines and lily pad beds before and after mid-day winds take over. Look for speckled dun and cinnamon caddis life cycle patterns to be effective soon. Only “fly in the ointment” is that the Ashton-Flagg Road is rough and dusty, so drive carefully. If you plan to enter the Park west entrance from the south via U. S. Highway 20, see our road construction delay comments on the Henry’s Fork fishing report.