Fall has come early this year. It’s our final report for August, and conditions feel more like mid September across Yellowstone Country. A strong fall storm rolled through the region this week bringing soaking rains, and high mountain snow. Last week’s smoky haze has been replaced by blue skies and crisp air. It’s a welcome change, albeit a few weeks early, but more seasonal conditions are in the forecast for the upcoming week.
This week’s scuzzy weather brought out strong hatches of Baetis mayflies, got the brown trout feeling a bit rambunctious, and temporarily put the hopper fishing on the back burner. Whether it arrives early or not, you need to be flexible when fishing in the fall. Conditions dictate the best strategies, and rolling with the punches is the key to success as an angler. If it’s warm and sunny, it’s hopper and ant time. If it’s cool and scuzzy, it’s streamer and Baetis time. Be sure to have the full arsenal available every day this time of year. That goes for your clothing gear as well. Tomorrow’s forecast for West Yellowstone is calling for morning temps in the 30’s and afternoon highs near 70. That’s puffy coat in the am, flip flops in the afternoon kind of weather. It’s also the time of year to have your waders, rain gear, and a puffy layer with you at all times. When storms roll in temperatures plummet. Warm and sunny can quickly turn into dangerously wet and cold. These conditions can either end the day, or provide some fantastic fishing, depending on whether or not you are prepared with the right gear.
In addition to the changing seasons, this week also saw our first Euro Nymphing Masterclass with our very own resident expert, Robert Van Rensburg. It was a smashing success, so much so that we have added another class for October 6. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO on this exciting opportunity to learn from one of the world’s foremost experts on this fascinating technique.
We are counting the days until our second annual West Yellowstone Trout Spey Days event on September 21 & 22. We will have presentations on Spey casting and fishing, gear demos from a great group of vendors, and of course, a party back at the shop. Check out the Event Website for all the details and more as we add info about individual presentations.http://bigskyanglers.com/speydays2018/
Read on to see our take on this week’s fishing, and check out the links below to stay current on area forecasts and flows. Stay tuned as we report each week on hatches, flows, weather, and more. For the most up to date info stop by the shop, give us a call, or drop us a line.
Yellowstone National Park
Water conditions have been on a roller coaster ride in the northeast corner of the park lately. This week’s stormy weather brought high muddy water conditions to the Lamar, Soda Butte, and Yellowstone Canyon. Flows are on their way back down, and should stabilize with the upcoming forecast, but it’s still a good idea to check the USGS site or give us a shout in the shop before making the trip. When conditions stabilize on the Lamar and Soda Butte expect to see some good fishing with terrestrials, and the first fall hatches Baetis and Drakes.
Cold mornings have us revisiting park favorites like the Firehole, Madison, and Gibbon Rivers. After giving them a break during the last couple of warm months, it’s time to add these iconic fisheries back to the hit list. The best of the fall fishing is still a ways out, but you can find some exciting hopper fishing on these rivers as water temps start to drop.
The Gallatin remains closed to fishing from the Fawn Pass trailhead north to milepost 27 due to the Bacon Rind Fire. The speed limit in that section of the park has been reduced to 45 mph and travelers can expect intermittent delays. Access to the Gallatin River from milepost 27 to the northern boundary of the park is open.
Fishing the Madison river lately has been like reuniting with a long lost buddy for a night out on the town. All the old stories are still funny, that cheap beer that you used to drink tastes amazing, and it feels like you can pick right up where you left off after 10 or 12 years. It’ been a long time since the river has fished this well at this time of the year. If you haven’t floated the Madison yet this year, there’s still time. September is amping up to be another banner month on the 50 mile riffle. If you have already experienced some of this season’s great fishing, consider yourself lucky. Maybe this is the new normal. We all hope so! But, you never know when we will get another perfect combination of water conditions, hoppers, and fish numbers again.
Just as gulper fishing was shifting into high gear, Mother Nature pressed the pause button. Stormy weather put the gulpering on hold for a few days, but the forecast looks promising for the upcoming week. Expect to see good numbers of Callibaetis and Trico spinners as conditions stabilize this weekend. Remember, the best action will be later and later in the day from here on with morning temps getting colder and colder. We can see some terrific afternoons of gulper fishing this time of year when the wind stays down!
These crisp, cool mornings are an awesome time for a long walk into the Ranch. The smoky skies have cleared, and the Tetons have a fresh coating of snow. Bring some spinners, ants, hoppers, and a few mahoganies just to be safe. Stop by the Grubsteak before you go to pick up a lunch, and meet the new owners.
As we turn the page into September it’s time to start thinking about all of those trophy brown trout that live in the lower river. Shorter days, and colder nights get those fish feeling more and more predatory. Hunting that one, truly large brown with a streamer or hopper is a rewarding game to play in September on the lower river.
The Box Canyon remains a great option, and a true ambassador of our sport. Big fish have been a little harder to come by lately, and the weeds are definitely a factor, but the fishing has been consistently productive with small stonefly, midge, and mayfly bead heads.