We have all enjoyed a respite from the wet weather this week. It feels good to dry out and soak up some sunshine after nearly two weeks of scuzzy weather. Gore-tex and puffy layers have been stuffed back into dry bags as sun hoodies and spf 50 are now required. Flows are on the decline, and the summer hatch schedule is rolling right along.
Don’t get too comfortable with all of this sunshine, though. Temps are predicted to dive by 20 degrees on Friday as a new system rolls in with highs in the 50’s, gray skies, and thunderstorms. Summer looks to make a return after the weekend with sun and warm temps forecasted through next week.
Our snow pack discussions are done for the season. Area Snotel sites are all reading zero. There are still pockets of snow in the high country in Yellowstone Park, the Teton range, the Madison range, and the Centennial range, but stream flow is now being influenced primarily by rain and groundwater.
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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.
Prime time on the lower river is winding down, but there are still some excellent opportunities to test your skill on technical dry fly targets in the river below Ashton. This year’s Gray Drake Spinner activity has been impressive, and they can still be found on calm mornings and evenings. Cooler, wetter weather this weekend may prompt even more PMD and Flav hatches, although it’s hard to believe there could be any more after the abundance of bugs we’ve already seen.
The Railroad Ranch and the river around Last Chance is seeing PMD’s, Caddis, Green Drakes, and the beginnings of Brown Drakes. Scuzzy weather can produce better emergences of both PMD’s and Green Drakes. Warm, sunny weather later next week will be ideal for morning and evening spinner falls.
The Box Canyon continues to produce with small nymphs. Golden Stoneflies are still trickling off in certain areas of the canyon, and PMD’s are also active.
Yellowstone National Park
Not much new to report in the Park this week. The Firehole, Madison, and Gibbon remain the best options with PMD’s and Caddis providing the bulk of the activity. PMD spinner falls have been strong on the Firehole during warm mornings, and we continue to see larger than average fish. We’ve seen, and heard reports of, many fish in the 14-16” class this season.
The Gallatin River is close to fishing well in the Park stretch. Water clarity is great, but temps need to warm just a bit more to see consistent fishing. Next week’s warm, dry spell could be just what we need for things to pop here.
The second round of high flows have wound down on the Madison. Northwest Energy plans to maintain flows around 1300 cfs out of Hebgen until lake levels stabilize and further flow reductions can be made. Clarity is somewhere between “outstanding” in the wade stretch and “Fishy” in the float stretch. This week’s warm weather and lowered flows have kick-started the summer hatch schedule into high gear. Tan size 16 Caddis, brown size 10 Caddis, size 16 PMD’s, Salmonflies, and Goldenstones are all active on the river now. Salmonflies are slowly moving upstream. This weekend’s cooler weather will slow their march, and make for some less than ideal conditions for the big bugs. Fishable numbers of stoneflies can be found in the lower half of the valley near Ennis.
As conditions warm again early next week caddis activity will increase and the march of the stoneflies will resume in earnest.
Fishing will be getting better and better here in the coming days and weeks.
Hebgen’s regular anglers are finding themselves planted firmly in “Bugger Season”, with attractors stripped subsurface providing the bulk of the action when chironomid emergences aren’t stealing center stage. Think Xmas Tree Buggers, Rickard’s Seal Buggers and Stillwater Nymphs, Midnight Buggers, or something smaller if it gets bright during the day. While we have seen some early season Callibaetis, the focus will remain with the leeches, chironomids, and general stillwater bugs for a bit longer until more significant emergences of Callibaetis and damsels begin stealing the attention of the trout.