We hear that Slough Creek and the Lamar River, although both flowing a bit high, are fishing quite well. Daytime PMD, gray drakes, some green drakes, and PM caddis actions are attracting fish. Terrestrial insect populations are beginning to increase but are not yet to their peak. As fishing improves on these top notch streams, look for the easiest access locations to become crowded. That suggests trying these waters as soon as possible to beat the sure to come crowds.
Fishing is still slow. Best chance for any action would be creek mouths including Targhee, Howard, and Duck or any submerged springs. The lake is warming up, and that is a big part of the problem. Looks like best strategy is to wait until September-October when fishing action will likely pick up.
Warm weather means giving Firehole River resident salmonids a break from the rigors of being hooked and played in warming waters. Try the nearby Madison or Gibbon Rivers where PMDs, yellow sallies, and afternoon caddis activity are interesting trout. Big salmonflies have pretty much left the Gallatin River within the park, but terrestrial insect populations are building and caddis are always active during PMs. Slough Creek and the Lamar River are shaping up with PMD, evening brown drake, and caddis activity interesting trout. Fall River Basin streams are reducing to base level flows, terrestrial insect populations are building but mosquitoes are still the most numerous insect.
Many stories are going around about crowding along our icon waters ( South Fork, Henry’s Fork, Madison, etc). Fortunately we have ways to escape this condition with the regional presence of many smaller quality waters. Most of these will get you away from those fishing from boats and the increasing crowds of recreationists. If you enjoy fishing from a boat but want to experience less crowding the Teton River offers two locations for doing so (do not consider drift boat fishing in the canyon. There are two unfloatable rapids in the canyon for a drift or hardsided of type boat. It should only be floated in an inflatable and rowed by someone with expert whitewater experience.) One location for boat fishing is the river in Teton Basin. Expect crowds of recreationists during daytime hours, so an evening or early AM float will allow you fewer interruptions. Caddis life cycle, yellow sally, rusty spinner, and terrestrial insect patterns should be in your fly box. Another location is the river from Spring Hollow downstream to either the dam site or the Hog Hollow Road. Recreational floaters are minimal here. PMD, caddis, yellow sally, grey drake life cycle, and terrestrial insect patterns should populate your fly box. If you prefer walk-in fishing your choices this time of year are numerous. We can feature some from time to time in this report, but a best way to find the best at a given time is to get in touch or visit the shop.
Those small changes in flow out of Palisades Dam made recently have no impact on fishing. But the water coming out of the reservoir remains a bit colder than normal for the time of year. That could be part of the reason for nymph fishing in the riffles currently being more successful that dry fly fishing. The warmest weeks of summer are here and will be present until mid August, so look for dry fly fishing in the riffles to improve soon. This is also the time of year when courtesy is important. Certainly the river is crowded. Embarking and disembarking boats can require courtesy and patience to minimize problems. There are plenty of riffles and gravel bars to visit (see the above pic taken when flow at Lorenzo is about 5500 cfs) , so if one of these you like is occupied you surely can find a vacant one downstream.
Sand Creek Ponds are now open to boat fishing, but we have yet to receive fishing success information to pass on. Anyway, speckled dun and damselfly life cycle and leech patterns should be in your fly box when you visit. Present these on floating lines in the shallow waters and intermediate lines in the deeper waters along the rip-rap. Early mornings are the best time to avoid crowding at this popular still water. Horseshoe Lake is another place you can avoid crowding just about any time. A bonus for fishing here is the presence of grayling. Best success at Daniels is to fish midge pupa deep (that means ten to twelve feet) under an indicator. As all our still waters begin warming during summer look for fish to seek the coolest water. That means look for them to frequent depth, submerged springs, and inlets.
Giant and golden stonefly fly adults on the Madison River are moving through the river in the Hebgen Lake area. So the river there is being heavily fished. Same is going on in Yellowstone Park where the Madison’s PMDs, caddis, sallies, and big stonefly remnant are bringing on fly-fishers in big numbers. Getting away from the crowds is easy if you enjoy fishing Montana’s Centennial Valley waters. Besides tranquility, the good news here is that grayling seem to be in good numbers in Red Rock Creek. And they are present in several year classes. Speckled duns and adult damsel flies are providing interest to Elk Lake cutthroat and Hidden Lake rainbows especially during days with less wind, and Elk Lake Resort is serving scrumptious dinners.
If you intend to fish Box Canyon, be aware that daytime waterborn recreationists are almost as numerous as those at Mack’s Inn. So for fewer interruptions consider visits scheduled early and late in the day. Do the same with the lower river (Warm River to Chester) but for different reasons. Those reasons are the lower flows and warmer weather bringing on rising water temperatures that make fish less active during mid-day. If you want to fish with company, try the Harriman east part of the river where flavs and brown drakes are making for many visiting fly fishers.
Flow has been stable for days at around 12000 cfs from Heise upstream. Two nymph rigs (almost any pattern with or without a bead) still working best in riffles. Most of the big stoneflies have gone, but goldens are still around on the upper river. Caddis, sallies, and PMDs are aquatic insects of note with respect to activity, and any day fish will be keying on their adults as well as on nymphs/emergers. Certainly grasshopper populations are building but it will be in the future before fish take big notice.