Every year there is a week, or sometimes a day in Yellowstone Country when it feels like summer has finally arrived. Spring labors on like an old Ford truck rolling down the road in low gear. Rainy and snowy, its stammers and chugs until one day the rpm’s get high enough to shift into the next gear and start cruising. This was the week that we shifted into high gear, and we are now rolling along right into summer.
After last week’s heavy rains, high-elevation snow, and thunderstorms, we have seen several days of warm, dry weather. The forecast is calling for more of the same with highs in the 70’s through the upcoming weekend. There is a slight cool down early next week, but it looks warm and dry again after that.
Snow pack levels fell rapidly this week with two to three feet of snow remaining in only the highest elevations in the area. Warm temps in the upcoming days and weeks will continue to eat away at the remaining snow.
Read on to see our take on this week’s fishing, and check out the links below to stay current on area forecasts, flows, and snow pack. 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.
June is a special time on the Henry’s Fork. Like floats in the Rose Bowl Parade, there is a progression of hatches that work their way through the system, each one more exciting than the last. The parade kicked off with salmonflies, and they can still be found in isolated spots throughout the entire system. Caddis, PMD’s, and Golden Stones are beginning in earnest on the lower river, and by the time you are reading next week’s report, we will likely be talking about the Grand Marshall of the parade, Green Drakes in sections of the lower river.
With the Railroad Ranch opener almost a week away (June 15), you can expect to see exciting fishing on the Henry’s Fork for several weeks to come.
Flows out of Island Park were reduced this week, and the river is currently running between 750 and 800 cfs. Island Park Reservoir is at full pool, and excess water is running over the spillway. Flows below Ashton have been steady right around 2000 cfs. The Fall River dropped slightly this week, and is running around 2700 cfs.
Yellowstone National Park
Considerable snow remains in much of the park’s high country, and run off is still a factor for most of the fisheries. The warmer, lower-elevation waters of the Firehole, Gibbon, and Madison Rivers however have dropped this week, and are fishing well.
PMD’s, Caddis, and Salmonflies are all active in their usual spots throughout this system. Warm, sunny weather is not ideal for mayfly emergences here, but the bugs will still hatch. You may find PMD emergences concentrated in some places, and sporadic in others, but spinner activity will be widespread. Mornings are your best bet for mayfly activity. Windy afternoons are great for salmonflies. And, evenings will have prolific Caddis action.
Remember, NO FELT IN YNP!
The “Flush” is over, and as tempting as it is, we will spare you the obvious low brow bathroom analogies.
Flows out of Hebgen were reduced this week, and are currently right around 2,000 cfs. At Kirby, we’re seeing roughly 2800 cfs, and it’s just over 4,000 cfs at Varney. The river is still big at this flow, but clarity is improving quickly. There’s nearly three feet of visibility, and the color is a perfect fishy-green.
Snow pack was reduced by 14 inches in the last week at Carrot Basin leaving just over 2 feet of snow on the ground here. With warm weather predicted over the next week we should see that number rapidly approaching zero, and the river clearing just as quickly.
Caddis are thick throughout the wade section right now, and we’ve seen the first dry fly fishing of the season here in the last few days. Nymphs, and streamers are still producing well, and all of the best action has been close to the bank.
Remember to wade with caution here. The flows may have been reduced, but it’s still a big, dangerous river to wade at 2800 cfs.
Dry fly fishing has slowed somewhat here in the last few days, but midge activity is still bringing a few fish to the surface in the mornings and evenings in the Madison arm, and along the North shore.
As the lake slowly warms, and thermoclines become more established, fishermen are seeing better results in the deeper water in bays along the south side of the lake with chironomids and leeches. Don’t be afraid to look to skinny water in the early part of the day though.
Just as everyone was figuring out the deep-nymph game and getting comfortable with almost 20,000 cfs, flows starting dropping on the Mighty MO as well. We’re down around 16,000 cfs below Holter now, and expect to see the river continue to drop as flows are reduced further upstream in the watershed.
Deep nymphing is still the game for the foreseeable future on the MO, and it’s a fun game to play. As flows drop here fish may move out of some buckets, and others will become more easily accessible. It’s a dynamic fishery, and requires constant experimentation, but the results are always worth the effort.
Good Luck out there. Be safe in the high water, and if you’re in our neck of the woods, stop in and say “Hi”. We’ll look forward to seeing you.