Big Sky Anglers Weekly Fishing Report – 10/6/2022

by | Oct 6, 2022

Hello from West Yellowstone, Montana
– The Trout Capital of the World –

Last week’s push of weather came through and dropped quite a bit of snow in the high country and bumped the rivers up on the West Side of YNP a little bit as well. The clouds stuck around for several days and we even experienced the low lying fog that had a hard time burning off. All of which made for a pretty fishy time around here. The sun has now popped out and is probably gonna stick around for the time being. Falls colors are in full swing here in the Caldera with regards to the shrubbery and the trout. Word to the wise – there has been a Grizzly Bear roaming around the Barns Holes and Beaver Meadows so pay attention while hiking and fishing in this stretch – make some noise and be careful. It’s a wonderful time of the year to be in Yellowstone Country!

In years past, YNP’s last day of the summer season was the first Sunday in November. For 2022, the last day of the summer season is Monday October 31st! So, for all of you folks who love to come for the last week of the season take note. Give the shop a call or shoot us an email, we’d love to help you plan your trip or suggest some flies to tie up. If you haven’t walked in the fly shop this season, take a walk downstairs the next time around and check out the new fly tying section of the store. We have filled the Travel Lounge with tying materials and if you are in need of a place to tie some flies, there is table, light and vice waiting for you.

For the freshest report, be sure to stop by the shop at 39 Madison Ave in West Yellowstone where you’re sure to find a few sun-burned trout bums, bleary-eyed from fishing the previous night’s hatch well into dark, and plum full of more good info and passion than any other staff around. While you’re there, don’t miss our newly expanded fly tying lounge in the basement. You just might catch Hoovie or one of our other bug-obsessed fly winders at the vise answering fishing’s great mysteries with fur, feather, and thread.

Big Sky Anglers is OPEN from 7 am to 8 pm seven days a week. Starting Monday October 10th our hours will change, 8am to 8pm.

Stop on by, say hello, and we’ll get you taken care of. Most importantly, stay safe, stay healthy, and enjoy your time outside.

Take care and fish on,

The BSA Crew

Weather Outlook 
I gotta say, this weekend’s weather looks pretty darn nice out there. It may not be the fishiest of forecasts, but don’t that hold you back. Get up early and get after it! The morning temps will be chilly so bring those layers with you and don’t forget that lawn chair for soaking up the afternoon rays.

Henry’s Fork River by Jonathan Heames

Island Park Dam: 290 cfs

Ashton Dam: 812 cfs

St. Anthony: 698 cfs

Fall River: 355 cfs

October has arrived on the Henry’s Fork and with it comes the sunshine. On these sunny days, it could be a little sparse out there, but don’t count the Fork out! Flows dropped a little bit out of Island Park Dam coming in at 290 CFS. Sunshine is in the forecast this week and afternoon wind could be a factor out there with this high pressure. The river is weedy but manageable, dealing with the weeds on your tackle is something that should be worked out early in the day to avoid midday frustration.

Box Canyon: The Box continues to provide anglers with a satisfying day of trout fishing in a beautiful setting. Low flows in the Box mean that “3 hour run” through the canyon will be a difficult thing to manage, better to plan on being in there for 4-5 hours and spending your time where it counts. She’s a bit more bumpy and slow moving than in the past month. Indicator nymphing rigs still reign supreme, but streamers and dry/droppers are worth the effort as well. PTs #14-18, perdigons (Jakes Soft Hackle, Olive Hot Spot, Spanish Bullet, Bullet Quill #16-18), #8-10 rubberlegs, Zebra Midges in red, brown and black #14-20. For streamers, we like Zonkers #6-8, Black and Olive Bouface Leeches #6 and 10, BFEs in Black, Olive and White will all do the trick.

Railroad Ranch: The Ranch fished well this week and there is still opportunity throughout the State Park for those who are looking for it, even in the sunshine. Sparse mahogany hatches trickle throughout the day but provide excellent target fishing for observant anglers. Small spinners are still present in the mornings and throughout the day, and the afternoon hours are still producing some terrestrial action. The sunny weather this week has us thinking hoppers, beetles and ants but mahoganies are likely to keep playing the larger role. Ranch-bound anglers will do well to keep a variety of spinner patterns #16-20, several profiles of mahogany adults, floating nymphs or unweighted PTs #14-16, baetis adults and emergers #16-20, ants #14-18, beetles #10-14, and some of your favorite hopper patterns.

Canyon Country: The canyon sections of the Fork are still producing fun days of trout fishing and plenty of solitude. Dry/dropper rigs and streamers are our first choices.

Warm River to Ashton: These beautiful October days are enjoyable on just about any piece of water, and this section doesn’t disappoint. Good action on nymphs, decent dry/dropper fishing, and streamer fishing that is worth the effort are all found in here at the moment. Browns are on the move and show up in full fall coloring when found in your net.

Below Ashton Reservoir: There is game to be found from the Ashton Dam all the way to the confluence with the Snake. Low water conditions require the ability to switch from dry/dropper rigs to indicator rigs depending on the depth of the water you’re fishing. Streamer fishing with smaller flies on a floating line is a good bet any day with cloud cover and on sunny days until noon or in the evenings. Sink tips are effective as well in areas of depth. Dry fly fishing can be good where you can find spinners in the morning or baetis in the afternoons, cloudy weather will help enormously, so keep an eye on the forecast. We plan on employing all three methods of fishing in a day down here to find success.

Have fun out there!

Madison River by Dinah DiMeolo

Fall is officially in full swing as daylight hours continue to diminish and weather continues to get colder & wetter. Sooner or later, we’ll start running into some snow squalls while out on the water, so enjoy this transitional weather before you lose feeling of your toes in your wading boots. This past week we’ve seen a lot of overcast weather making for great fall fishing on the Madison (or in the wise words of Steve Hoovler, our beloved ~scuzzy~ weather). Flows continue to drop incrementally as we’re down 20 CFS from last week. Low flows this time of year can minimize the number of spots fish will hold in, so definitely be working hard to cover water with these types of conditions.

In terms of bug life, Blue Wing Olives are still hatching in the late mornings and making for some good dry-fly fishing on both the wade and float stretches. Cold mornings may cause a slight delay in hatch timing, so no sweat to be out on the water super early if you’re looking to exclusively fish to risers. Try tying on a BWO Sparkle Dunn or Film Critic BWO (#16-20) to feed sipping fish. Contrary to fishing dries, the streamer bite is heating up earlier in the mornings and trickling off come mid-morning. Streamers would still definitely be your best approach at catching sizeable fish this time of year if you’re looking for quality over quantity. Black & Olive Boufaces, BFE’s and Mini Dungeons (Olive & Black) have and always will be some great streamers to throw on the edge of drop-offs and through deep holes to try to pull out some great fall fish.

In summary, if you’re looking for a solid day’s plan of fishing on the Madison- expect to throw streamers until the morning heats up around 10 or 11. Re-rig to fish to risers once BWO’s start coming off. Cast at sipping fish if you see risers, or if all else fails- drop a Pat’s Rubber Legs & Pheasant Tail Soft Hackle under an indicator during the “in-between” phases of the day.

Yellowstone National Park by Patrick Johnson

I’ve tried ringing the big man upstairs several times over the last few days to request some more cloud cover and precipitation, all to no avail. His deafening silence has left me contemplating Nietzche under these bluebird skies and wondering if we’ll ever get just a bit more of that cherished “fall fishing” weather before the park closes. We had a few good days of the “scuzz” last week, and I hope you all took advantage of it! For the time being, the 10-day forecast is calling for more days of sun and dropping overnight temps.

For all you streamer and nymph enthusiasts still looking for those elusive “fall-run” browns on The Madison, Firehole, and Gibbon rivers, my principal advice remains getting on the water early before the sun is too high overhead. I may sound like a broken record, but getting down deep and fast is still the major key to success this time of year (more so than “matching the hatch”). For nymphs I’ve been fishing a heavy tungsten rubber legs stonefly down to a tungsten soft hackle in #16 (any of the Duracell variations we have in the shop will do just fine) or the classic Red Copper John.

If you’re seeking a different game, the Firehole above the falls has been a blast recently — it can be a tricky, technical fishery this time of year, but a 12 inch brown on the dry has never felt so rewarding. Swinging small soft hackles remains a deadly option for the novice angler, but the White Miller Caddis hatch has been epic for those looking to improve their technical dry fly game. The bugs remain in droves starting around 10:30 and linger well into the late afternoon. I’ve found that the Iron-X Caddis in a #16 and #18 to be the most effective imitation, though any small, white/grey caddis-like pattern like the Adams Parawulff will also do the trick. Keep your eyes peeled for Baetis, too, should the clouds decide to roll in. There’s no better time to lengthen your leader, practice those reach casts, and go fish among the bison and geyser basins.

Outside of this western-half of the park, Slough Creek and the Yellowstone River remain solid options for any angler willing to drive the distance and hike a bit on their hunt for fish. While small streamers and nymph rigs will often be the ticket on these rivers, any fortuitous late-afternoon cloud cover could mean some great hatches of Drake Mackerels and Baetis. We have also heard reports recently of some eager cutthroat smashing hoppers on these bright days here and there — it may be worth it to take that puck of Pink Thunder Thighs out of deep storage and give it a gamble.

As always, stop by the shop or give us a ring before venturing into the Park and we’ll be more than happy to point you in the right direction.

Stay up to date on YNP roads below


River Flows and the Weather Forecast
Below are links to the flows in Montana and Idaho as well as. This time of the year flows and the weather are changing daily, if not by the hour. Click the links below for the most up to date information.
Montana River Flows
Idaho River Flows
West Yellowstone Weather Forecast