If you’ve caught fish in Big Sky Country over the past week they have been well earned. Old Man Winter came to town and threw himself one heck of a party complete with snow and sub-freezing temps.
Many of those hearty soles who ventured out in the cold and snow were rewarded with good fishing. The best action was found in the warmer afternoon hours when both dry fly and streamer tactics produced some great fall fishing.
Travel has been a challenge around West Yellowstone this week. Both Hwy 20 and the West Entrance Rd into YNP were closed at times due to snow. Both are now open, though some closures on high passes still exist inside the Park. For up to the minute road info in Yellowstone, check out the following link to the Park’s Road Status Map.
For this last week of the season, the forecast calls for more wintry weather. A quick storm is set to roll across the area on Saturday bringing a couple of inches of snow. Sun and colder temps will follow for the remainder of the week with highs struggling to break the freezing mark and lows in the single digits.
Speaking of single digits, doesn’t Pasadena sound nice? If you’re in the Pasadena area, be sure to check out our very own Matt Klara’s presentation, “Trout Under the Big Sky” on Nov 1 with Orvis Pasadena.
Check out this Facebook event link for more info and to RSVP for this fun evening.
We’re down to the final week of the season, and there is exciting fishing throughout Big Sky Country. 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
It’s been a wild ride fishing in the Park this week. From slippery roads to frozen guides, snow and cold always up the ante. But when the stakes are high, so too are the rewards. Some big fish were found chasing streamers and sipping dries this week.
With more winter weather on the way there’s sure to be further high stakes fishing during the final week of the season.
All autumn we’ve talked about the great dry fly fishing on the Firehole during the fall with baetis mayflies. While that remains the case, for this last week of the season don’t forget about the impressive population of resident brown trout that call the Firehole home, and the fact that they too are preparing for spawning season. The Firehole is chock full of aggressive brown trout that love to eat small streamers. The average size of Firehole browns is on the small size (10”-12”), but if there was ever a time to locate that one percenter in the 20” class it’s now.
Madison River(in YNP)
In keeping with this theme, we’ve focused for weeks on the migratory fish from Hebgen Lake that populate the Madison River in YNP every fall, and the thrill of hunting them with streamers. But, it’s important to keep in mind that these transient trout are not solely targeting large prey, or defending their territory.
The Madison River in YNP plays host to the same great fall hatches of baetis mayflies that are found on the Firehole River, and throughout Big Sky Country in the fall. And, it’s not uncommon to find those big migratory lake fish rising to thick hatches of baetis, especially at the very end of the season.
So, make sure that dry fly rod is handy, and keep an eye out for subtle rises in soft water anywhere along the Madison in the park.
Baetis hatches have been good in the walk wade stretch of the Madison, but they have not been widespread or long lived.
Your best window will be from 1:00pm – 4:00pm. Be prepared to cover a lot of water, and painstakingly inspect every slick and soft spot.
Hunting for heads and waiting for a target will be your best chance at dry fly success, but blind fishing a single dry can also bring good fish to the surface.
Don’t forget to bring your A-Game presentations, and try to muster as much stealth as one can with all of those puffy layers stuffed under your waders.
Nymphing will be productive during the afternoon hours when the baetis activity picks up as well.
And, there’s plenty of opportunity to find a good brown with a streamer.
The lower river continues to enjoy both milder conditions and great fall fishing. Temps run 5-10 degrees warmer down in Ashton than they do up in the Calderas. If you’re looking for some thermal refuge, this is the spot for the next week.
No surprise- Fishing on the lower Fork will revolve around streamers and hatches of pseudo and baetis mayflies.