Hebgen Lake Report

One can find lots and lots of rising trout on Hebgen Lake each day.   There are flying ants, calibaetis, midges, tricos, damsels and a few caddis hovering around the lake.  Hebgen’s elevation is sitting about 2 feet from full and those weed beds are starting to get thick with rising fish.  Some days are much easier than others – take warning now, as these fish are cruising a bit further between eats on bright sunny days.  If you find that one gulper actually gulping, chase it down.  On the other hand, if there is some cloud cover, these fish get “easy” and rise four or more times, allowing one to get a good shot at a moving target…..sometimes under 30 feet from the boat!

Beware the ski boats!  It seems as if there is no other place to water ski other than the Madison Arm right now.   While most folks are willing to share the lake (I am for sure), why would you fly mach 3 through a bunch of anglers (fishing to rising trout), throwing a four foot wake?  Did you not see the dozen or more middle fingers being pointed in your direction?  Oh and that second pass……really?   We all love to use the lake, but waking other boats is not courteous.  The Madison Arm is famous for it’s glass, but when there are forty some odd crafts on the Arm between 9 and noon, maybe you could find another time to ski the arm….just sayin’.

Immature Bald Eagle

Took a boat ride on Hebgen Lake this afternoon.  The wind was light, the sun was high and our fishing kinda sucked…..but….it was so fun to be on the lake.  At one point, while running back across to another spot, where we caught a trout, several immature bald eagles were trying their luck with this floating dead trout.  This eagle missed, then set up one more time and grabbed it perfect.

YNP, Gulpers & a Guides day off

Griz on Dunraven Pass

Headed up Mnt Washburn a few days ago, this Grizzly was just off the road browsing the hillside.  It was early in the day, so we narrowly avoided the inevitable Bear Jam.   The rivers throughout the NE side of Yellowstone are dropping, clearing and fishing pretty damn well.   The Lamar is still high and crossing it in waders is probably not the best descison one could make.  The Yellowstone is also high, a bit chalky green but it’s trout are hungry.  With most hatches in full swing, it is not hard to find rising Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout.  They have yet to get picky, but don’t worry, that’ll come soon enough.   Traffic in the park is not too bad, if traveling early or late.  Otherwise, one must take their patience pill and realize that most of these tourists have never, ever, ever, ever seen wildlife outside of a zoo.  I must say that parking your RVs on Dunraven Pass, 3 deep on a narrow turn, is rather stupid and inconsiderate when th pull off is right  behind you. 

Wade fishing on the Madison River

August on the Madison is shaping up to be pretty sweet.  The water is cool and the flows are just above normal. Salmonflies can still be found in very specific places (think needle in a haystack), but they are on the outs.  Caddis are thick river wide.  PMDs and Epeorus are beginning to show up as well.  Nymphing is working and the Mtn Whitefish are biting – but big trout are hooked everyday on the nymphs as well.   Thus far, the small dry fly game hasn’t worked all day long just yet.   Mornings have been cold – 35 to 40 degrees – and that makes life hard when your a half inch long insect, clinging to that willow branch trying hard to have sex and then die…..rough life.   Once things warm up, the dry fly is worth sticking to.  There are some nice trout rising this season in the Madison, but the little trout are fast to the fly and beat them to it quite often.  Like I’ve mentioned before – this river rewards skill. The big fish are really wild right now, appear out of no where and eat the fly coming down stream.   Will you hook that fish coming down?  You will if you wait just two more seconds and let him turn into the current……after he has eaten your fly and gone under water. 

Evening view from the front porch......not too bad.

B. Worley looking for lips.

For just a short few hours, three of us hit the lake looking for rising fish in a spot which has not yet been producing all that well.    It was busy with boaters, jet skiis, water skiers and a few anglers, luckily there were just enough fish up to make it interesting.   Getting out to fish once in awhile, during a crazy busy season like this one, recharges the batteries for the many hours spent behind the oars in the days to come.  

This Gulper ate it.

15 hours, 34 minutes

Horse Butte Fire Tower

A long day it is.  The sun will set at 9:15 this evening and with this sunshiney day, there will be light in the sky well after 10 o’clock.  Today has been a shade bit windy and the warmest thus far…….The first day of Summer has come in with a bang………about flippin’ time, if I don’t say so myself.  Our ecosystem feels about a month behind most of springs I have witnessed in the Hebgen Basin.  While walking the shores of Hebgen Lake this afternoon, with the dogs and my sister in law, we glassed the mountains for avalanches.  Almost every drainage had fresh snow slides – more white shit tumbling down is exactly what we need right now.  Cornices are falling too.  The mountains are melting out.   

Stella - 7 months or so.

  Hope you got out to enjoy the longest day of the year – Summer Solistice.   I am off to the Missouri once again……see ya soon.


It’s still wet….and getting wetter

Grey Willis with a Hebgen Lake Rainbow.

It might take a few years to dry out from all the rain which keeps falling.  I saw Noah’s Ark yesterday on the Firehole.  There were moose, bears, wolves, bison, deer and elk hanging out on the bow.  I think they were drinking Budweiser cans out of an ice cold Yeti Cooler which they probably stole from Headhunter’s front porch.  The rain is coming down right now as hard as it can, pounding the roof of the cabin as lightning erupts in the sky.

 I spent the past two days on the Firehole River looking for Salmonflies and swinging soft hackles with Tim & Grey Willis from Texas.  Spending most of the time with Grey made me think about growing up and all my experiences fishing with my own father.  Do your kid a favor – take him or her fishing.  It doesn’t have to be fly fishing, the point is to kids outside and experience the out of doors.