The end of our summer season is rapidly approaching here in Yellowstone Country. It’s colder and colder every morning, and the sun is setting earlier every night. The lush, green hillsides of July have dried to a golden amber, and terrestrials are the main fare on many area waters instead of PMD’s and Caddis. It’s still busy in town, and on the water, but it’s not the frenetic pace of a beehive that we saw a month ago. It’s always bittersweet to see the seasons change, but that means fall is just around the corner, and some of the most exciting fishing this area has to offer is yet to come.
We’ve seen some cooler, cloudier weather across Yellowstone Country this week, which is a welcome change for both the wildfires and the fishing.
Our local blazes continue to burn, but this week’s moisture has contributed to little or no growth in their total acreage. For. The most up to date information, and daily reports on wildfires, check out the Incident Information System website.
The Bacon Rind Fire continues to impact travel on hwy 191 north of West Yellowstone. The speed limit in that section of the park has been reduced to 45mph, and travelers can expect intermittent delays.
More unsettled weather is in the forecast this week. The weekend looks warm and sunny with highs in the 70’s, but another system rolls in on Monday bringing cooler temps and the chance for showers and thunderstorms.
Preparations continue for our second annual West Yellowstone Trout Spey Days event on September 21 & 22. We will have presentations on Spey casting and fishing, gear demos from a great group of vendors, and of course, a party back at the shop. Check out the Event Website for all the details and more as we add info about individual presentations.https://bigskyanglers.com/speydays2018/
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
Thunderstorms have produced muddy water in Yellowstone favorites like the Lamar and the Black Canyon this week, but water conditions have cleared up just as quickly as they blew out. With more storms in the forecast be sure to check flows online or call the shop for an update before making the long drive to that part of the park.
The caldera section (from Chittenden Bridge to Fishing Bridge) of the Yellowstone River remains a great option for some technical sight fishing with dry flies to exceptional Cutthroat trout. Spinner falls have fish looking up in the mornings and evenings, and terrestrials like hoppers, beetles, and ants will produce in the afternoons.
It’s prime time in Yellowstone’s backcountry right now. Water conditions are good. Trail conditions are good. The biting flies are done for the season (for the most part). And, backcountry trout are feasting on terrestrials. If you have been dreaming of a backcountry sojourn this summer, but haven’t made any plans, this is a great time of year to do an impromptu DIY trip. Check with the backcountry office for any last minute cancellations. You just might get lucky and find an opening on some of the most sought after spots like Slough Creek.
This might sound nuts, but the end of August is the perfect time to break out the two-handed rods and start practicing. The Madison in the park is an excellent spot for these sessions as crowds are non-existent this time of year, and you just might run into one of the first big lake fish making their way up into the system.
Hoppertunities abound in the Madison valley. (Please excuse the cheap malaprop. It’s low-hanging fruit, and I promise to only use it once a year. ) Terrestrial fishing with hoppers and flying ants has been strong on the Madison when the sun is shining, and cloud cover has brought out the very first of our late season baetis hatches. A few Caddis and Epeorus remain, especially in the walk wade stretch and near the slide. Cool water temps are keeping trout happy through the afternoon hours. This may be some of the best fishing we’ve seen on the Madison at this time of year in a long time.
Calm, hazy mornings this week have produced the best Gulper fishing of the year so far. It’s been chilly in the mornings. So, the best spinner activity has been in the late mornings and early afternoons. Look for fish targeting midges in the early am hours. These early targets will be tough, but can provide some awesome fishing before the Callibaetis get rolling.
Late-August is one of our favorite times on the Railroad Ranch section of the Henry’s Fork, and this one has been particularly good. We are still seeing some PMD’s, mainly around the areas influenced by springs, as well as tricos, and flying ants. It’s a great time of year for a long, morning walk into the Ranch. Bring your patience, the best reach-cast you can muster, and a keen eye for the multitude of different insects in the drift. This isn’t a numbers game; it never is on the Ranch, but you will get up close and personal with some remarkable rainbows, and you will remember each and every one that you target.
Both the Box Canyon and Warm River to Ashton stretches have produced consistent nymph fishing, as well as a great refuge from the wind this week. With kids going back to school, the “splash and giggle” crowd has fallen off, and we’ve had some lovely afternoon floats in both of these canyons.