Word has it that Hebgen Lake browns are coming into the Madison River above. Now that it and other rivers in the drainage above are open, look for good fishing in the AM with trico spinners and egg layers followed by fishing with terrestrial patterns. The Gibbon River will likely be better fishing than the Firehole River until further cooling takes place. Tricos in the AM, terrestrial patterns later in the day and an increasing use of streamers is a good general strategy for fishing the Park this time of the season.
If you venture to the Last Chance-Harriman State Park reach the fishing sequence is trico spinners and egg layers in the AM, flying ants later in the morning, terrestrials through the day to caddis in the evening. Not may anglers will be present, so you can pretty much choose your waters. Flow out of Island Park Dam has dropped considerably making for easier wading conditions in Box Canyon. Below Riverside campground go with terrestrial patterns along banks, and your favorite bead head nymph in deeper water. Streamers should be effective below Coffee Pot Rapids and the best choice if you fish above Mack’s Inn.
Many of these are low because of the hot, dry summer we are beginning to finish up, but there are some streams with flows high enough to ensure good fishing. Warm River may be one of the best. A great stretch of the river begins just below Warm River Spring and extends into the canyon. We recommended this part of the river a few weeks ago with its population of brookies, browns and rainbows. Now it is one of the better small streams. Buffalo River is another spring fed stream worth fishing this time of year. It’s ideal for very lightweight equipment with its trico, BWOs, and caddisflies. Palisades Creek will always be a good choice because of inflow from its lakes. Want to experience the best fishing on the creek? It’s a five mile walk up a good trail, but the low gradient reach just above the lower lake is worth it. Teton River in the basin makes for a easy float trip. It’s ideal for pontoon boats, and fishing and recreational traffic there is now down considerably. Trico, BWO, caddis life cycle and terrestrial patterns should be in your fly box for this one. So there’s a few small stream possibilities. Get in touch with us to learn of more.
We have reports of drastically low water on most irrigation reservoirs to out southeast. Whether or not there will be enough water to sustain fish populations through the winter in these remains a good question. Springfield Reservoir seems to be the exception where midge pupa patterns under an indicators are producing some very nice fish. The same technique seems to produce well around inlets to Mackay Reservoir where water levels are also receding.
Young whitefish dying here remains a mystery so far. Now the same is being reported for the main stem Snake River (below the “South Fork” -Henry’s Fork confluence) and the Teton River. Flow out of Palisades Dam is dropping slowly. Today its down to 10200 cfs meaning little impact on fishing. So keep on pitching hopper and chernobyl-like patterns toward banks and stream-side cover. The storage season is upon us with agricultural needs dropping, so it’s a matter of time for flows to drop significantly. The next big mayfly emergence will be BWOs and mahogany duns in a matter of weeks. Likely by then flows will be at a level better for fishing.
Now that days are shortening and cooling, the best thing for improved fishing is happening. That is waters cooling off to temperatures not dangerous for caught and released fish. A big concern remains on some irrigation reservoirs that experienced deep drawn down deeply because of irrigation demands during our unusually hot, dry summer. We will keep an open ear for conditions going into the fall season and the outlook for next year on these reservoirs and report what we hear on them here.
The next few weeks will be a great time to visit the Blackfoot River above the reservoir. As waters cool the river in the Blackfoot River Wildlife Management Area will offer good fishing with terrestrial patterns. There are about seven miles of river within the area, most of it being classic meadow stream, but there are some riffle and run portions. From Idaho Falls the shortest approach is from Bone east down the Long Valley Road, on around the east side of Gray’s Lake to Highway 34, and on to Wayan. Once there, take a right on the Wayan Loop to the Lane’s Creek Road. Follow this road south to the upper end of the Wildlife Management Area along the Blackfoot River Road. The countryside is gorgeous, so bring a good camera, not only for scenery shots but for the possibility of meeting up with a trophy cutt.
Not much change here since our last report. But as we cool down and days shorten, changes are coming with respect to where to fish on the lake. When we get reports on the best locations for fall fishing, we will place that info here.