Big Sky Anglers Weekly Fishing Report – 11/1/2018 – Our Final Weekly Report of the Season

Big Sky Anglers Weekly Fishing Report – 11/1/2018 – Our Final Weekly Report of the Season

Yellowstone National Park will close to fishing this coming Sunday, November 4th marking the unofficial end to the 2018 season for us in Yellowstone Country. That also means that this will be the last of our weekly fishing report emails for 2018. Thank you so much to all of you out there who have read our reports.  Remember, you can get these reports, along with other content emailed to you before it goes live on the blog.  All you need to do is sign up for the email HERE.  We’ve had some really good feedback from many folks about what they like/don’t like and about ways we might improve content for next year. Please keep that coming!  Of course, we will be sending out a few newsletters over the winter with updates from South America an other travels as well as the goings on here in West Yellowstone.
It’s late fall now, and we’ve both seen and heard reports of active spawning activity among brown trout, brook trout, bull trout, and mountain whitefish occurring on waters across western Montana. Please leave these spawning fish alone! They are the future of fish and fishing. We hope that there will come a day where we no longer feel compelled to make these posts, but sadly there are anglers (and even some guides) out there who continue to target actively spawning fish. If you aren’t familiar with spawning activity among salmonids, please take some time to educate yourself. If you find big trout in shallow water that seem to not spook from your presence, that is a sure sign of spawning activity. But a lack of fish in the shallows doesn’t mean it’s all clear. If you see redds (fish nests) it is critical to avoid the area while wading or dropping anchor. Redds appear as patches of clean, shining gravel among otherwise algae covered areas of stream bed. Fish and fish eggs may or may not be present. It’s best to avoid these areas as damage to redds can kill eggs or cause spawning trout to abandon an area. If possible, we try to even avoid fishing the pools adjacent to active redds, as many brown trout will spend the day resting and hiding there and then reoccupy the redds in the low light or dark hours. Thanks, everyone!

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.

West Yellowstone Weather Forecast


Yellowstone National Park

The Final Four, 4 days, 96 hours, 5,760 minutes, no matter how you look at it the 2018 fishing season in Yellowstone Park has wound down to less time than an adult October Caddis has to mate, lay eggs and die. There are hot dogs turning under heat lamps at the Econo-mart in West Yellowstone that will last longer than we have to fish in the Park this year.

If you have been waiting for the right fall conditions, now is the time. As we have said all season, scuzzy weather is the best for late-season fishing, and this final weekend looks to be ideal.  Pack your puffy layers, warm hats, gloves, and gore-tex. It’s going to be a cold, wet one, and we couldn’t be more excited about it!

With these dark, gloomy conditions expect to see good migratory fish activity throughout the day, chiefly on the Madison system. It’s time to throw some bright colors like chartreuse and yellow into your streamer and soft hackle rotation as these fish will be at their peak of aggression for the season. Please remember, to pay extra close attention to avoid spawning habitat while you are wading and fishing.

The Firehole should be prime for the Final Four as well. It looks like daytime high temps will struggle to get out of the 30’s, especially up in the caldera. So, don’t expect to see much before early afternoon, and don’t be surprised if it takes until as late as 4:00pm for Baetis mayflies to emerge. The Firehole River has dozens of small micro-environments along it’s 14 plus miles of water between Old Faithful and Madison Junction. A myriad of thermal discharges influence water temps drastically from spot to spot, and correspondingly affects the timing of hatches. More so than ever, it pays off to be flexible when it’s cold. Don’t get stuck waiting out the hatch in an area that doesn’t have bugs. If conditions are right, and it looks like they will be, Baetis will be hatching somewhere and fish will be rising to them. If it’s not happening where you are, think about a change of venue.

If you’re looking for an option during the Final Four with a lower risk-reward ratio that just might produce huge dividends of the cutthroat variety, then consider a trip up to the Yellowstone River in the caldera between Chittenden Bridge and the fishing boundary downstream of Fishing Bridge. Big, beautiful Yellowstone Cutts occupy this stretch all summer after migrating out of Yellowstone Lake to spawn in the spring. Many years the majority of fish have made their way back to the lake by this point in the season. However, this has been a great water year. Huge runoff and healthy summer rains have kept flows higher than average for most of the season keeping many of the largest fish in the river longer. This is in no way a slam dunk option! But, if you are looking for a little adventure during these final days of the 2018 season, and you’re comfortable with some risk, consider hunting for one of those trophy Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout. If you can find some, they will likely be rising to afternoon hatches of Baetis mayflies. Although, a well-presented foam hopper with rubber-legs just might do the trick, even in the snow…they are cutthroat after all!

Madison River

If the crowds in YNP have you down, you might find some solace on the Madison River outside of Yellowstone Park. For the majority of the season the walk-wade section downstream from Earthquake Lake is the last place you would want to go to avoid crowds. By November, though,  it’s a different story. You will still see a few die hard anglers at usual spots like Raynolds Pass and Three Dollar Bridge, but if you are up for a little walk and enjoy head hunting for subtle risers then this could be the spot for you.

Cold, gray conditions will make this an afternoon event as well. All the usual fall suspects will be present like Baetis mayflies and midges. Work slowly, examine each piece of slow, glassy water carefully, and be prepared with a good slackline reach cast. These won’t be easy fish to fool, but they may be some of the most memorable rises of the entire season.

Missouri River

As we slide ever closer towards the dark, frozen abyss that is winter in Yellowstone Country our team of resident Missouri River guides are enjoying far more comfortable conditions. It’s not exactly flip-flop weather in Cascade and Craig, but it’s 10-15 degrees warmer than West Yellowstone, and the boys are making the most out of late season on the MO.

There’s still some great dry fly fishing to be had in spots with Baetis, Pseudo’s, and caddis. Streamer fishing continues to produce good results. And, the nymph game…well, you know.

If you’re in the area, and you’re looking for some quality late-season fishing, don’t forget about the MO.

Henry’s Fork

Another great option for late season angling after the season ends in Yellowstone is the Henry’s Fork. Up in the caldera around Last Chance you can expect to see similar conditions to those on the Firehole and Madison. Afternoon highs look to be in the cold 30’s and 40’s. Baetis mayfly activity should continue here, but as with the other fisheries, most of the activity will be concentrated to a few hours during the warmest part of the afternoon.

The lower river around Ashton will see slightly warmer temps, and a slightly larger bite window during the day. Baetis mayflies will continue to drive the dry fly fishing here, and browns will respond aggressively to streamers. Tread lightly on these browns as we move on through the remainder of the late season on the lower Henry’s Fork. Spawning season is in full swing here, and we need every last one of those big browns to be healthy for next season.

The Lakes

If you are a fan of stillwater angling, the final countdown has definitely begun. We see ice beginning to form later in November on many lakes, and by then the weather is often nasty enough to keep even the most dedicated lake anglers home. But, late autumn is an often overlooked time of year to target stillwaters. Stillwaters can be moody at this time of year, with passing storm fronts changing conditions from day to day. But the trout know that a long winter is coming, and they are feeding HARD when conditions are suitable. Think bigger in terms of fly selection, as leeches and baitfish have replaced the small mayflies of summer as a main food source. As vegetation dies back, scuds are also left homeless and wandering, making for an easy snack for the fish. Water temps are dropping down below the range where trout are most aggressive, so don’t be afraid to SLOW DOWN your presentation even more than usual. Look to the shallows first and fish during the warmest part of the day. Trout should be most active when things warm a bit.

Big Sky Anglers Weekly Fishing Report – 10/25/2018

Big Sky Anglers Weekly Fishing Report – 10/25/2018

T-minus 10 days and counting! Yellowstone National Park will close to fishing next Sunday, November 4th marking the unofficial end to the 2018 season for us in Yellowstone Country.  

Last year Justin and the shop staff were forced to hike into the Park to make their final casts of the season as fresh snow and bitter temps closed the park roads to all traffic. This year looks a bit more hospitable. The upcoming forecast calls for typical late fall weather with warm temps through the weekend and cooler wetter weather for the final week.

After a week of sunny skies and unseasonably warm temps, we lucked into a good scuzzy day yesterday prompting bugs and fish alike to step up their respective games. Previously, bright conditions limited migratory fish activity to the early morning and late evening hours, and stymied afternoon hatches. All it took was one gray, wet day to get things kicked back into gear, and we have our fingers crossed for a few more of these before it’s over.

As the days get colder and shorter, so too does the bite window on our area fisheries. Migratory fish will still be active during the cold mornings and evenings, but all other fish activity will be limited to the warmer afternoon hours. As has been the case all fall, scuzzy days will produce more active migratory fish and stronger afternoon hatches of Baetis mayflies. So, be sure to take advantage of those days when we get them during this final week of the season.

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.

West Yellowstone Weather Forecast


Yellowstone National Park

As we slide into the final week of the season in YNP there is a noticeable change around town and in the Park. Not only does the fishing season close, but road access through the West gate and most of the park’s interior closes as well. Shops and restaurants are closing down, streets and sidewalks are finally emptying out, and park road signs are changing to address snow machines and snow coaches instead of tour buses and cars.

We have our fingers crossed for some more seasonable weather during the final week. While last week’s weather was gorgeous, we had enough sun and 70 degree temps this summer. Now it’s time to welcome in the end of the fishing year and the beginning of the off season with some crummy weather.

Look to the old standbys like the Firehole and the Madison to provide some of the last opportunities of the 2018 season, but don’t forget about the Gallatin in the park which was closed for most of the summer season due to wildfire activity. The Gallatin is now open to fishing access and has a healthy population of brown trout as well as the possibility of strong Baetis mayfly hatches in the afternoons, both key ingredients to successful fall fishing.

Madison River

The “Fifty Mile Riffle”, in particular the walk-wade water between Quake Lake and Lyons Bridge, produced some good late season fishing this past week. Nymph fishing during the late morning and afternoon hours was strong, and selective fish fed on the surface in the sneakiest of spots despite the bright skies. Weather conditions look good here through the weekend and into early next week. Afterwards, colder temps are in the forecast and that may slow things down a bit.

Unlike the waters in YNP, the Madison remains open to angling through the winter. While the regulations allow for fishing, Mother Nature does her best to limit opportunities and give the fishery a much needed rest. When afternoon highs start to dip down into the 30’s the river slowly shifts into a season of dormancy. Fish occupy deep, slow moving winter runs and pools, and bug activity grinds to a halt.

So, take advantage of these last warm days, and try to find a few more opportunities with sporty trout on the Madison.

Missouri River

With the season winding down the BSA crew has finished their fall migration to the Missouri and settled back into home waters around West Yellowstone. Joe, Jon, Hoovie, and Earl all had several great weeks of trips. Our handful of resident Missouri River experts like Greg Falls remain up on the Mo to finish out the season, and are enjoying some beautiful conditions for late October. Nymph, Dry, and Streamer games are all still productive, and the crowds are minimal. If you’re in the area, get in on the fun while you still can. Old Man Winter is knocking at the door.

Henry’s Fork

While opportunities in the Yellowstone caldera are winding down, we still have another month of fishing available in the neighboring caldera over on the Railroad Ranch section of the Henry’s Fork. Baetis mayflies and midges can bring Ranch rainbows to the surface for a few hours each afternoon. There’s no guarantees on the Ranch. Some areas will produce good bugs on certain days and not on others, but persistence pays off. So, if conditions are good for a Baetis hatch and you’re not seeing bugs, or rising fish, don’t be afraid to take a little walk or try a new section. Odds are good that it’s happening somewhere.

The icy grip of winter is slowly tightening around the high country, but down in the Snake River Plain conditions are slightly warmer. This area around Ashton, ID is generally one of the first to start fishing well in the spring and it’s also one of the last to be fishing well in the fall. The lower Henry’s Fork, above and below Ashton, can have some great baetis hatches well into November, and weather conditions are often more comfortable here than they are up in the high country around West Yellowstone and Island Park. Streamer fishing for the lower river’s resident brown trout can also be exciting this time of year. Though, as we roll into November, be aware of spawning activity, and do your best to avoid spawning areas. These brutes deserve a break by this point in the fall, and the better we treat them now, the better they will treat us next spring and summer during dry fly season.

Big Sky Anglers Featured Fly – The Best Fly Ever (BFE)

Big Sky Anglers Featured Fly – The Best Fly Ever (BFE)

  • Origins:  Based on an old Idylwilde pattern called the LE Leech
  • Hook: TMC 5262, #4 or Gamakatsu B10S, #2
  • Thread: 6/0 Uni, Black
  • Tail: Black marabou with topping of black Lite-Brite or equivalent
  • Body:  Thread wrapped black
  • Collar: Olive marabou, palmered behind and in front of eyes
  • Eyes: Large Lead or Non-Lead Dumbell Eyes

A good friend, great fisherman and one of my early mentors, Paul Swenson, once told me that the basis for all great flies is to have no more than three ingredients.  I can’t say I follow this train of thought to a tee, but when I find one that does conform to these standards, I always remember those words.  The brilliance of this fly lies in its simplicity: quick to tie, few materials, and useful in a variety of situations.  There are a lot of factors to consider when looking at a streamer these days, color, weight, size, profile, etc.  One of the more overlooked is the weight:surface area ratio that determines whether or not a fly will sink quickly in a current.  There are loads of heavy streamers out there that just don’t sink, they have too much surface area to cut the current.  The BFE is nothing but a couple of marabou feathers, lead eyes, and a thread body, it is a perfect example of a fly with a weight:surface area ratio that allows it to plummet.  When this fly is wet, it reduces in profile to nothing and cuts right through the current.  It can be effectively fished in a variety of situations, I love to fish it upstream on a floating line, almost Czech nymphing it, swing it out at the end of the drift.  I also use it on sink tip lines in big currents, reach casting a long line over a large run, stacking some slack into the drift to allow the line and fly to sink, and then fishing on a swing or stripped retrieve back across the current.  This is a deadly fly in fast pocket water when fished on a floating line from a drift boat as well – it’s a guide favorite in the Box Canyon of the Henry’s Fork.

– Jonathan

Big Sky Anglers Weekly Fishing Report – 10/18/2018

Big Sky Anglers Weekly Fishing Report – 10/18/2018

What a roller coaster ride we have been on with the weather! Indian Summer is back in full effect across Yellowstone Country, and we’ve earned it. Snow, wind, and cold temps plagued the region for the last two weeks. The conditions may have been rugged, but the fishing has been excellent. Now, the forecast is showing sunny skies and temps in the upper 50’s. Will the baetis hatches be as strong? Probably not. Will the brown trout be as ornery? Doubtful. Will the days be some of the most beautiful and comfortable of the entire year? Absolutely

As always, fall fishing requires adaptability. We can still see some great fishing on bluebird days, but you might need to change your approach. Fall run fish on the Madison in the park will be active, but mainly in the early morning and evening hours when light conditions are low. Dry fly fishing can be great in the sun too, but hatches are generally sparse on bright days. On scuzzy days you can find every slick around $3 Bridge teaming with trout rising to a blanket emergence of Baetis mayflies. On bright days expect one or two of the best fish in each slick rising lazily to random Baetis and Midge adults. There’s still some great dry fly game to be had in the sun this time of year, but you might have to be a bit more patient and look a little closer to find it.

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.

West Yellowstone Weather Forecast


Yellowstone National Park

The countdown is on, two weeks to go. It’s time to buckle down and get some while the getting is still good, and open. Yellowstone Park closes to fishing this year on November 4th.

All of the perennial fall favorites are fishing well. It’s hard to put together a better day than a Madison / Firehole combo right now. However, warmer sunny days are ideal for a jaunt into the backcountry to explore the channel between Lewis and Shoshone lakes, or the lower Yellowstone Canyon near Gardiner. Brown trout throughout Yellowstone Country are activated and on the prowl.  These last two weeks are a great time to explore any system in the park that holds these fish.

Madison River

Scenery, solitude, and selective trout can all be had on the Madison down in the valley these days. Pick a nice warm afternoon and explore the walk-wade stretch with a single dry fly. If you take your time and watch the slicks and gentle runs along the banks you can find sneaky fish rising subtly to Baetis and Midges. This is a slow paced game with plenty of time and opportunity to soak up the epic scenery in the valley right now. Amber fall light, snow-capped peaks and blue skies paint a jaw dropping backdrop to the fishing.

Missouri River

BSA’s fall season on the MO is cranking on. The boys have scene it all this week from sunny with temps in the 60’s to cranking wind, snow, and temps in the 30’s. There’s been a variety of conditions, and a variety of sport to be had with the fly rod. We continue to chase those migratory browns with streamers, and hunt for heads up sipping fall hatches of Baetis and Caddis. There’s been some fun fishing, some beautiful fish, and some terrific clients. We’re excited to see what the next week brings with more comfortable conditions in the forecast.

Henry’s Fork

In keeping with the solitude and scenery theme, the Railroad Ranch will provide ample amounts of both. You’ll find some rising trout too. They’ll be technical as always, but we don’t head to the Ranch for easy fishing, especially at the end of October. Be prepared with small flies, long leaders, and the finest tippets you’ve thrown all season. Like a long distance runner training for a race, you’ve been honing your dry fly skills since the first spring hatches popped back in March. The time has come to see just how far your game has developed. World class rainbows will be eating Baetis and Midges. Do you have what it takes? There’s only one way to find out.

The lower river continues to be a great option for any game you want to play. Streamers, nymphs, and dries are all productive. The ever snowier Tetons loom over this lower system serving as a not-so-subtle reminder of things to come. So, take advantage of these beautiful weather days while you can.

Hebgen and Henry’s Lake

Late autumn is an often overlooked time of year to target stillwaters, probably because there are so many other outdoor activities to do, and because getting stuck float tubing when a snow squawl blows in is about at Type 2 fun as things get. Between fall streamer fishing, dry fly head hunting during baetis and Pseudo hatches, and big game and bird hunting, the lakes are often ignored. Stillwaters can be moody at this time of year, with passing storm fronts changing conditions from day to day. But the trout know that a long winter is coming, and they are feeding HARD when conditions are suitable. Think bigger in terms of fly selection, as leeches and baitfish have replaced the small mayflys of summer as a main food source. As vegetation dies back, scuds are also left homeless and wandering, making for an easy snack for the fish.

Get Involved

Get Involved

This post includes no fishing tips, fantastic stories, or casting secrets, but the topic, should you choose to participate, may greatly influence your angling and the angling of many others for the better.  This post is a call to encourage everyone out there to get involved and participate in the regulatory or political element of your local fisheries management.  Consider making “GET INVOLVED” one of your new angling mantras.

In Montana, and other states in the US, our fish and wildlife management agencies are continually adjusting regulations in order to, ideally, best protect fish and wildlife populations while also providing opportunities for the public to fish and hunt.  We have access to so much public land and water here in the western US.  It’s fantastic, and hopefully we can keep it that way.  We all care about our fisheries, but are we all doing enough to consider ourselves stewards of the resource?  As members of the public, we are all co-owners of our public lands and waters.  We have the right, and perhaps the duty, to be involved in the process and decisions which influence management of public land and water and the creatures which call those places home.  Our level of involvement, and our choices we make in both election and non-election years, can have a huge impact on fishing, hunting, and other outdoor recreation in the future.

Voting for representatives who reflect your own values is, of course, the first step, and should be relatively easy to accomplish for everyone here in the US.  Getting involved in other management processes occurring in non-election times here in Montana is relatively easy as well, and I assume it is similar in other places.  Our agencies all have protocols and processes in place which allow for public input and commentary on issues both simple and complex.  As such, it is surprising to me how few sportsman are informed and actually get involved.  Being involved starts with being aware.  Keep an eye out for news of proposed regulation changes and public hearings.  Watch the newspaper, social media, or other information sources.  Get on agency email lists.  Pay attention.

The next part requires more effort.  Do your homework.  Research the issues.  Formulate questions and opinions.   Discuss the issues with your friends and angling companions.  Then, you need to SHOW UP and participate.  That may mean writing emails or letters to fish and game agencies or your government representatives at the local, state, or federal level.  It may mean missing that big football game (round or oblong ball version) on TV so you can attend a public hearing.  It may mean missing out on a day afield or on the water.  It may mean making your friends and fishing buddies aware of the issues and encouraging them to get involved as well.  Setting an example takes time and energy, but ultimately I believe it is worthwhile.

Through involvement, you will meet plenty of good and interesting people with both similar and differing opinions to your own.  It’s important to listen and try to understand all the views involved and all the user groups concerned with the issues.  I think that through this involvement you will learn a lot about people as well as the process of local rule making.  You might also make some great friends and contacts who invite you to enjoy some great angling that you never knew about.  Most importantly, by getting involved, you will have your voice and opinions heard and included in the overall decision making process – something that is important, relevant, and ultimately very satisfying.

Take Care and Fish On,

Matt

Big Sky Anglers Weekly Fishing Report – 10/11/2018

Big Sky Anglers Weekly Fishing Report – 10/11/2018

I would say with confidence that fall is here and here to stay. We had both snow and rain with more on the way, and temps are ranging from the high 30’s to 40s’ for the rest of the week. As Steve mentioned in the last report, the battle of the seasons has begun and I’m pretty sure fall is about to knock out summer very shorty. Actually based on the weather, the knockout should be taking place on Thursday with scheduled snow throughout the day. Despite the persay colder, uglier weather the fishing here has been quite good. From the Henry’s Fork to sections of the Park and the Madison in Montana, we have fishing to satisfy any type of fall angler.

As far as surface bug activity is concerned we continue to see Baetis, Caddis, Tricos and Pseudo’s. For subsurface activity, emerging stages of these insects can be mimicked with size 12-16 soft hackles both swung on a tight line or dead drifted. Streamer fishing the Madison on these blues feeling days, both in Montana and the Park along with the Henry’s Fork around Ashton can find you very pleasing fish that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. The Fork around Last Chance can give you some great opportunities at some good fish on drys as well.

As far as preparing to fish within our little 60 mile radius here in West Yellowstone, I would say have a 4wt for smaller water in the park like the firehole, a 5wt for your bigger water Baetis fishing on the Madison/Henry’s Fork and a 6wt for all your streamer’s. Oh, I almost forgot, dont forget your euro nymphing rod if you’ve got one. Come in and pick Roberts brain here at the shop if you are less familiar with euro nymph fishing or want to up your game.

So if opportunities of colored up browns and hot rainbows or delicate presentations with dry fly imitations interest you, I’d say you’re in luck. 

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.

West Yellowstone Weather Forecast


Yellowstone National Park

A large percentage of our fishing being done in the park is locally here on the west side. Both the Madison and Firehole Rivers are great places to fish but two very different waters.

Right now, as many of you know, the healthy, mature, Browns and a unique fall-run species of Rainbow are venturing their way up the Madison towards their spawning grounds further up river. As far as targeting these fish its a kind of pick your poison type of deal. Swinging soft hackles, nymping and streamers are all an option. These migratory fish don’t rise very readily do to the nature of their physical state but some areas of the madison do have the type of waters and conditions so be on the lookout.

Then you have the Firehole, which has the most bug activity given the geological features which make this water unique. Hatches of Baetis can been seen through the afternoon and can be fished with drys and, swinging smaller soft hackles or nymphing. Swinging smaller leeches and streamers is a fun choice as well.

Madison River

Nothing drastic has changed as far as our last report, but I would say with dropping temperatures and flow changes the Browns in these waters will be feeling a little more frisky. On brisk, wet days Baetis can be seen later in the afternoon. Focus on slicks and softer water where little nypmhs have a chance to swim up and hatch. Imitating the emerging stage of insects with soft hackles or something with a little CDC within the first foot of the water column could also be a unique way to catch these fish if it’s not really happening up top.

On cloudy days break out the streamer rod for more aggressive fish. Swing it in the runs, strip it in the buckets and high stick it in the pockets. The most effective streamer fishing is going to be with a sinking tip line but you could use a floating line for shallow pocket waters.  

Missouri River

It’s October and that means some of the BSA crew is up on the MO stripping streamers and headhunting for those grand Missouri River trout. Joe, Jon, Hoovie, and Earl are all guiding up there now, and many of the other BSA crew members are swinging through for some fun fall fishing. Gray, scuzzy days have generated some of those monstrous hatches of fall Pseudos that the Missouri is famous for. A few larger Baetis have been seen in addition to a mysterious, cream-colored mayfly that we are trying to identify. In between pods of rising fish, small streamers fished on floating lines or light sink tips have kept the crew busy. Stay tuned for more reports from the Mighty Mo through the end month.

Henry’s Fork

Over on the Henry’s Fork you’ve got a little bit different climate given the slightly lower elevation compared to West Yellowstone and YNP, but somewhat similar fishing game in general. Beatis and Pseudos around #20 are the ticket when it comes to dry fly fishing both around Ashton and Last Chance.  If you’re fishing the Railroad Ranch section of the Henry’s Fork at this time of year you’ll likely see very few people and find some good fishing. The bugs aren’t very big bug but cool, cloudy days can produce strong hatches. As always, long Leaders and and small flies are a must here. The drag on those small drys is much more noticeable because of their size so be sure to bring your best game.

Fishing streamers on the lower river below Ashton will be good with streamers, nymphs, and dries as well. Those Browns will be in a similar mood as the fish in the Madison system near West Yellowstone.

Hebgen and Henry’s Lake

Late autumn is an often overlooked time of year to target stillwaters, probably because there are so many other outdoor activities to do, and because getting stuck float tubing when a snow squawl blows in is about at Type 2 fun as things get. Between fall streamer fishing, dry fly head hunting during baetis and Pseudo hatches, and big game and bird hunting, the lakes are often ignored. Stillwaters can be moody at this time of year, with passing storm fronts changing conditions from day to day. But the trout know that a long winter is coming, and they are feeding HARD when conditions are suitable. Think bigger in terms of fly selection, as leeches and baitfish have replaced the small mayflys of summer as a main food source. As vegetation dies back, scuds are also left homeless and wandering, making for an easy snack for the fish.