The lower river offers a variety in dry fly fishing, and the turn in the weather predicted for next week can only help with respect to active fish. Along the lower river terrestrial insects still inhabit banks in good numbers. BWO and mahogany duns numbers will increase with the change in weather. The evening caddis emergence continues. Streamer fishing is improving, and get even better with unsettled weather. Tricos, a few remaining PMDs, and increasing BWOs make for good fishing in the Last Chance-Harriman section. Box Canyon offers good nymphing, with streamer fishing sure to pick up. The river in the Flat Ranch is pretty much done for the season.
Have you noticed the number of boats increasing here? That is because the river is dropping and big browns are beginning to migrate. As is usual this time of year, they will take big streamer patterns especially early and late in the day. There are a number of public accesses from Menan down to McTucker from which to begin and end a float trip. We will begin to receive information on where the best action is along the river, so get in touch if you are considering a main stem float trip or a walk-in wade outing.
Predictions say that the upcoming week will feature cloudiness, higher relative humidity, and possibly some rain in the region. All these will be a “shot in the arm” for making the BWO and mahogany dun emergences thicker up and down the river. Flow out of Palisades Dam will surely decrease from being relatively steady for several days, especially because the reservoir is about half full and storage for next agricultural season is on water managers minds. Decreasing flows mean more walk-in wade opportunities. As we advance through October, look for streamer fishing to steadily improve everywhere along the river. Best of all, the number of anglers will be down from now to till freeze-up.
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.
Henry’s is finally starting to show some signs of life the last week or so. Although there aren’t a lot of the bigger fish being caught right now, a fair amount of fish have moved into the shallows and are providing decent action. Most of the good fishing has been from the pintail point area south all the way to hope creek. The wind has been mostly out of the southwest this fall, so the western shoreline is a little more protected and has cleaner water. The fish have been relatively shallow 3-8ft so a type 1 or an intermediate line is really all you need. Fly choice doesn’t seem to be critical, darker leeches in size 6-8 have been best (Black Crystal Bugger, Brown Crystal Bugger, Canadian Brown). Hopefully the lake continues to pick up and we have a good October, stay tuned for more reports.
Main stem flows are now dropping to normal levels for this time of year. Consider that there are fewer trout in the main stem of the Snake River, but there are more large fish within than any other river around here. The best way to encounter these large fish is through float-fishing, but there are plenty of walk-in locations. Presenting streamers is the best technique, so have bright and somber patterns in large sizes within that fly box. Brown trout are moving to spawning areas, and rainbows will soon be following. Evenings and early mornings will be the best times to encounter the big fish.
Flow out of Blackfoot River Reservoir is dropping and currently is just below 200 cfs. This signals the beginning of good dry fly fishing in this part of the river where banks still hold good numbers of hoppers. Evening caddis activity will attract more fish now that water is lower. As we cool down be aware that weeds are breaking up and mats of them will be drifting down the river. Float fishing on the river below the dam will end soon because of the “rock gardens” that emerge with dropping flows this time of year.
Streamer fishing on lower river is picking up as browns begin spawning migrations. Choose low light conditions for best chances of encountering one, and have both somber and bright patterns in that fly box. BWOs and mahoganies are also emerging, so mid-day dry fly fishing can be good. Consider that wind will blow concentrations of these mayflies to the down-wind side of the river, so position yourself accordingly when presenting dun patterns.