It’s mid-June, and we are rolling right along into our summer season here in Big Sky Country.
We saw scuzzy weather this past week as a strong “spring” storm rolled through the region bringing cold temps, and even a bit of snow. That put the breaks on runoff, and produced great dry fly fishing in places. Forecasts look to be returning to normal in the coming days with high temps in the upper 60’s and low 70’s.
This year’s relatively cool spring weather has maintained a robust snow pack well into June. The Carrot Basin Snotel, in the southern Madison range, is reporting just under 3 feet of snow still on the ground at 9,000 feet – this past storm added 6” of additional snow. Black Bear Snotel, high up on the Madison Plateau at 8,170 ft and south of West Yellowstone, has more than 4 feet on the ground.
With warmer weather, especially nighttime lows above freezing, in the forecast; we expect to see another surge in runoff in the coming week. Though, temps look moderate enough that we don’t anticipate a full on blow out.
It’s looking more and more like summer around here every day. Many of our long time customers and friends are making their way back to Big Sky Country for the summer, or just for a short visit. If you’re in the area, be sure to swing by and say Hi!
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
Last weekend’s scuzzy weather produced a few fun days of fishing on the Firehole and Madison Rivers in the Park. Hatches of PMD’s and Baetis Mayflies were thick, and fish rose well during the worst of the weather.
Now that warmer, sunnier conditions are back, it’s time to look for spinner falls in the am, salmonflies in the afternoon, and caddis in the PM.
We continue to see, and hear of, better than “average fish” coming out of the Firehole River this season. Last year’s trend of slightly larger fish seems to live on with a number of good fish in the 16-18” range being caught so far this year.
If you haven’t ventured up into the park to fish yet, this could be a great week. Flows on the Firehole are currently just below 500cfs and the clarity is great (tea-stained). Warmer weather will bump flows here, but not to unfishable levels.
This is also a great time to explore the Gibbon River. Good fishing can be found from Madison Junction up to Gibbon Falls with PMD’s, Caddis, and stoneflies.
Cool temps slowed snow melt and water conditions improved dramatically in the Madison Valley this week. The clarity throughout the Fifty Mile Riffle transitioned from chocolate brown to super-fishy, green. We are still a week or two away from seeing consistent hatches here, but nymphs and streamers will continue to produce good fishing in the meantime. Keep an eye on flows, and check in with us here in the shop as conditions warm in the coming days.
Joe just got back from the Missouri with this quick report.
“The Missouri is on the verge of exploding with goodness. The canyon is in great shape and getting more consistent each day. The rainbows in the upper river are getting fat and feisty. Big browns are on the hunt below the Dearborn. We are days away from a PMD hatch in the lower reaches of the MO. The fish are eating streamers, nymphs, and if you look hard enough, you’ll find some heads. There are still BWO’s hatching and we have seen a few caddis as well. Hold on tight folks…the Missouri is about to pop!”
This weekend is one of the most anticipated of the entire season. It’s the Railroad Ranch opener on the Henry’s Fork. Few places have more history, and have contributed more to angling lore than the Railroad Ranch. On this Saturday, June 15 you can stroll out through the kelly green meadows packed with blooming arrowleaf balsamroot, and be a part of one of the best traditions in Fly Fishing.
Conditions look good for the Ranch opener. Weather forecasts are calling for a chance of passing showers and thunderstorms with highs around 70. Flows have been dropping slightly and will be held around 900cfs to match inflow at Island Park Reservoir through the weekend. We’re still waiting on prime time hatches like Green Drakes and Brown Drakes, but Baetis and PMD mayflies, along with caddis, should bring some persnickety rainbows to the surface.
Stoneflies are active throughout the Box Canyon, and fish are looking for both the nymph and dry. As always, nymphing is a good bet with small beadheads as well as the larger stonefly imitations.
Things are about to get really fun on the lower River over the next couple of weeks. The parade of hatches is set to begin any day now. PMD’s, Flav’s, Green Drakes, and Grey Drakes are all on deck, and, with a chance of clouds predicted most days this week, we should see some of the best fishing of the season here.
Hebgen has produced some good fishing on nicer weather days this week. The usual bays on the south side of the lake have had good fishing with leech patterns stripped slowly on intermediate lines. There’s been some dry fly fishing too with midges and a few early season Callibaetis along the north shore, and in the arms.