Fishing season in Yellowstone Park is closed after Sunday November 3rd. That leaves only eleven days remaining this season to enjoy trout responding in the many lakes and streams there. Better hurry if you want to do so!
The Park re-opened its fishing season three days ago. Crowds are not up to usual amounts. This means that such popular locations like the Firehole River and the Madison River could be more enjoyable to fish. Streamer patterns will be your best bet for migrating browns in the Madison River. Likewise for migrating browns in the Gibbon River, Gardiner River, Snake River, Lewis River, and Yellowstone River where low light conditions give the best chance for action on each. Afternoon BWO hatches will dictate how to fish on the Firehole River. If you do not mind the long drive, now begins the fall season on Trout Lake. Colder water will convince lunker hybrids and cutts there to take leech and damselfly nymph patterns. Make sure you watch the weather in that neck of the woods before you go.
The Park remains closed to fishing, and trespass citations are being issued to persons entering it anywhere. Currently there is no action by the Wyoming (and Montana ) governor to open the Park as has been done in Colorado and Utah. We will announce any re-opening of Yellowstone Park here.
The Park is closed to fishing for the duration of the government shutdown. Entrances are gated & locked, and technically access from points not at entrance gates are also closed. This includes such as access off the Ashton-Flagg Road, Baker’s Hole Campground, Duck Creek, Grayling Creek, etc. For more information on the shutdown phone Yellowstone Park Visitor Services Office; 307-344-2107. When we learn that the shutdown terminates, we will announce that information here.
Fall River Basin streams are quite low for this time of year, but water temperatures are ideal. Other than tricos, you will not find the large and varied mayfly emergences here the Henry’s Fork or the Madison River offer this time of year. A few BWOs and even fewer mahogany duns emerge, but terrestrial insect populations will remain strong until the first killing frost. So go with dry ant, beetle, cricket, horsefly, and hopper patterns. Try trailing that big hopper pattern with an ant, beetle, or horsefly pattern. Because water is low and sunlight is diminishing, daytime dry fly fishing can be good after water warms to around fifty degrees F. To be successful, however, you will need all the stealth you have learned from fishing the Harriman reach of the Henry’s Fork and then some because of the smaller water. But the rewards can be fish ranging to the same large sizes. Elsewhere, the Firehole River is entering its famed fall season as BWOs emerge while the region cools and days shorten. Run-up browns and ‘bows from Hebgen Reservoir are coming into the Madison River above and the same will begin soon as Shoshone and Lewis Lake browns will stack up in the river between. Fall season mayflies are making for good fishing on streams (Lamar River, Slough and Soda Butte Creeks) in the northeast part of the Park. Crowds are down, insect pests are dying off, and cooler weather prevails. It’s a great time to enjoy fishing Park waters.
Not much change here except that severe thundershower can slow fishing, especially on streams flowing through erosion prone banks. The Snake River and the Lamar River are susceptible to this problem which can put down fishing until after water clears. So its a good idea to check weather forecasts when we are in a monsoon mode. For now AM trico spinner falls make for good fishing on most streams. Ant flights make for good fishing on Fall River and on Beula and Hering Lakes. Switch to terrestrial patterns including those for spruce moths for mid day and afternoon fishing. With shorter days and cooler nights coming on, look for fishing to pick up on the Firehole River. Want some action for sure but without many large trout? Try Beula or Riddle Lakes. Try Obsidian and Indian Creeks. Want to try a small stream hosting large trout? Try Boundary, Duck, Mountain Ash, or Soda Butte Creeks.
Fall run browns are beginning to show up in the Madison River above Hebgen Lake. Rainbows will follow soon. Fall green drakes (hecuba) are showing up in Soda Butte and Slough Creeks and the Lamar River making for another component for great dry fly fishing. Terrestrial patterns along with Epeorus life cycle patterns are also in the mix. Fall River Basin streams feature morning trico activity with terrestrial patterns taking over for action around mid day. Thunder showery weather will result in best action on all these streams.
Are you a fan of morning trico activity? It’s is going on now many Park waters. One of the best anywhere , if you do not mind walking about four miles, is around the Boundary Creek- Bechler River confluence. This location is at the bottom of Bechler Meadows and best approached from the Bechler River Trail beginning at the ranger station. Start your walk in about 7AM, and expect action until about noon. Try the river just above, at, and below the confluence. When tricos slow down, switch to terrestrial patterns and use all the stealth you apply for the river in Harriman State Park. Want to try a small stream in the Park offering reliable action but not requiring a long walk? Obsidian Creek between Norris and Mammoth is one of the best. The meadows are a “stone’s throw” off the highway, access is easy, and aggressive brookies will take just about any floating offering in small and medium sizes.
Right now the Park is crowded with tourists. But good roadside fishing is possible. The Madison and Gibbon Rivers are warm enough to make for slow fishing except early in the day when tricos are beginning to show. Obsidian Creek is full of eager brookies, but a braggin’ fish would be around 12 inches. So use a lighth weight system. A more interesting location would be near the northeast part of the Park where trout in the Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek are responding well to grasshopper patterns. The same should be happening on Slough Creek’s meadows. Another possibility is the Gallatin River in the Park where evening caddis emergence can bring fish up.
Some meadow streams here are doing fairly well with respect to water flow. Fall River Basin streams and the Gibbon River are amongst these. The Lamar River and other northeast corner streams are not so lucky with flows considerably below normal. So fish early, fish late really applies there. For all these your best chances will be days with enough cumulus clouds to threaten thunder showers. Cumulus clouds indicate increased relative humidity, and this helps much in aquatic insect hatches. Drier air of those bright days means these insects will dry out more quickly allowing shorter time to mate and lay eggs, so they have evolved to hatch in bigger numbers when relative humidity increases. This coupled with good water flows (such as in Fall River Basin streams) hints at when and where to find best fishing success during these hot dry days. All this really does not apply to terrestrial insects, but add the active aquatic insects (speckled duns are in case in the waters given above) and you have a better chance at good fishing!