Big fish are where you find them. We have a report (pictures and all) of a 27-inch brown coming out of the Portneuf River above Lava Hot Springs. Here are a few other small streams that hold big browns: Robinson Creek, Camas Creek, South Fork of the Madison River (Montana), Duck Creek, Grayling Creek, and Gibbon River (Yellowstone Park), Warm River, Stump Creek and Crow Creek ( all in season), lower Grey’s River (Wyoming). The same could be said for Willow Creek, Cranes Creek, and Gray’s Lake Outlet up until the early 1990s when drought and other actions diminished them. There may be a few left in these waters, but nothing like in years gone by.
Fishing on the Madison River below Hebgen Lake is really shaping up. Big stoneflies are beginning to hatch early, caddisflies are giving great PM fishing and PMDs are emerging big time. Streamers are working during low light conditions. And because insect activity is beginning earlier than normal, crowds are down.
Chesterfield Reservoir is down at least ten feet from full pool. But fish are taking damselfly nymphs with enthusiasm. But enjoy fishing there soon because further draw-down is coming and could warm this reservoir enough to slow fishing. Twenty-Four Mile Reservoir offers the same good fishing through using damselfly nymphs but the threat of for draw-down is much less. Fishing is good on Daniels, Hawkins and Treasureton reservoirs for the same reason: damselfly activity.
We packed float tubes down DeLacey Creek trail to Shoshone Lake two days ago and were met by eager juvenile lake trout trout that would not quit hitting. A few good sized (up to 15″) brookies joined in, but the browns did not. If you are looking for back country fly-fishing that is sure to produce a great experience, and this big lake offers it, here is what you need: good enough physical shape to back-pack a float tube, fins, INSULATED waders, fly-fishing gear, raincoat, etc., six miles round trip. Here’s what works: get out in the lake and present small leech (black in size 10 is best) or scud patterns (orange in size 14 is best) on top of weed beds through using a full sink line. The lake trout average 17-21″ and in the cold (47 Deg. F.) water put up a credible fight. The Park Service encourages keeping these fish, but carrying out five fish this size makes the walk out tougher. So take out the results of using that filet knife, and put the rest back in the lake. Elsewhere in the Park, fishing on the Firehole River is holding up very well (see our last report on fishing Yellowstone Park waters). PMDs are making great PM fishing on the Madison River, and a few golden stones are showing up there. Run-off is beginning to leave Fall River Basin streams. Streams in the northeast corner of the Park are high but beginning to drop in flow.
The flows on the south fork have stabilized at 12,800cfs at Paslisades Dam and 14,000 at Heise. This should be the flow for much of the summer. Run off has peaked according the Bureau of Reclamation and Palisades Reservoir will not fill this year which points to an early stonefly hatch. Traditionally the hatch starts the last week of June but I’m sure we’ll see it start earlier. We floated from Byington to Lorenzo yesterday and had very good fishing with a pair of Bennett’s brown rubber legs. The fish were holding below the drop offs and troughs in the riffles. We did not see any stone adults but we saw a hand full of yellow sallies and green drakes. Some of the fish had bulging bellies from eating stone nymphs.
We’ll keep you updated on the status and progress of the hatch. Meanwhile the fishing with nymphs and streamers should be very good. The river is the perfect “south fork green” color for this time of year.
If your not fishing the Henry’s Fork right now you missing some great dry fly fishing. I have been fishing in the evenings on the lower river and have great success with Chernobyl ants and Caddis flies. There have been good hatches of PMD’s, Caddis, Golden Stones and Yellow Sallies. No reports on Green Drakes yet but they should be hatching anytime now and I would have a good selection in you fly box.
The Ranch will be opening this weekend after that happens the entire river system will be open for fishing. This is the prime time for fishing the Henry’s Fork. June is the magical month for fishing this river. Make some time and go fish it.
It’s a hit or miss situation here. For every success story there seems to be a “goose egg” story or close to it. It appears that fish have mostly moved away from shoreline. Midge pupa patterns under an indicator may provide your best chance for action until the fabled damselfly hatch begins around the beginning of July.