Sunshine, wind and dry weather are in the forecast for the next several days, it feels more like mid July out there right now and less like mid June. The weekend weather outlook looks to be slightly cooler and Friday shows a chance of clouds and rain. Looking over the flows for SW Montana and Eastern Idaho the past few days, it appears that our run off from snowmelt has peaked. This is early folks and we could use more moisture, that’s for sure. Do us all a little favor, go outside and do a little rain dance to Zeus.
Don’t forget, on June 15, 2021 the Harriman Ranch will open up for fishing!
Big Sky Anglers is OPEN from 7am to 9pm seven days a week. Our fly shop remains a clean and healthy environment for both our customers and staff members. There is a sanitation station at the door complete with hand sanitizer and masks if you don’t have one. All our shop staff will be masked up but they are still smiling underneath. 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,
~ Joe, Justin, Jonathan, and the BSA Crew
HENRY’S FORK – BY JONATHAN HEAMES
Island Park Dam: 375 cfs
Ashton Dam: 1290 cfs
St. Anthony: 1450 cfs
Falls River at Chester: 1360 cfs
The Henry’s Fork has been the focus of many of our guide trips this last week and will continue to be for the coming week as many area waters are still clearing. The relatively low snowpack and precipitation in the region will accommodate other regional watersheds to come into shape by the end of this week, but the “Hank” is in good shape at the moment. Next Tuesday, June 15th, is the annual season opener for the Railroad Ranch section. This year we are in anticipation of a strong showing, we are seeing rising fish from the highway and looking forward to stalking some of them next week!
The Box Canyon has remained low in flow but strong in fishing this last week and we expect this to continue through the next week. Golden stone are still present and will present opportunities from now through the end of the month, with a little luck, into July. Small nymphs are working best with full nymph rigs or dry/dropper rigs. We like the perdition style nymphs, caddis pupa, PTs, and zebra midges this time of year.
Promising conditions for the Ranch opener, lots of pmds around on the upper river, good spinner activity when the wind isn’t blowing too hard, and loads of caddis. Green drakes right around the corner, so come prepared with a good selection of all of it! Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the water levels stay stable for at least the first week!
For those of you who aren’t yet initiated into the opening day ceremonies, know that the Ranch opener attracts people from around the country and around the globe, it is a wonderful gathering of like-minded individuals who choose to pursue wily trout in a world class setting in a style that will be classy as long as trout fishing with flies is a thing. The opener can be a bit busy, but don’t let that distract you from enjoying the company of fellow anglers and experiencing one of the great cultures in the world of fly fishing. Opening week is a great time to walk the Ranch, look for some targets, and enjoy the many personalities that are attracted to this very unique and special place. An aspiring Ranch angler has the opportunity to learn a great deal both by watching and conversing with those who choose to be here on the opening days. One of Flyfishing best parties takes place at the Trouthunter on June 14th, with great music, good fun, and loads of anticipation of a strong opener. If you’re in the area, check it out!
Downstream of the Ranch, the canyon country is fishing well, low flows and the presence of stoneflies both contribute to great fishing conditions through these sections, now is a great time to enjoy the canyon sections above and below Mesa Falls. Dry/Dropper rigs reign supreme at this time.
The lower river has had some good but spotty hatches of green drakes, fairly consistent pmd action, and some solid caddis fishing. Be on the lookout for a grab bag of opportunity this coming week with more drakes in the forecast, flavs, caddis, pmds, golden stones, yellow sallies and olive stones. Be sure to be prepared with emergent patterns for these hatches, and keep plenty of spinners on hand! Low water and warm weather will contribute to a quick finish to this fishery, enjoy it while you can and keep an eye on the weather!
The river is busy but manageable, remember to be courteous to other anglers and try to accommodate others the best you can. Patience is not only a vital tool in fishing, but also in dealing with crowds.
YELLOWSTONE PARK – BY Joe Moore
The west side of YNP is where the action is at for the next few weeks. The Firehole, Gibbon, and Madison are your best options, no doubt about it. All three are flowing at below normal levels with temperatures prime for PMDs and caddis. Bright, warm, sunny weather is generally not favorable for hatches like PMDs, so if you find yourself on the water with nothing rising, go subsurface with nymphs or swing a soft hackle. Getting an early start is always a good idea on the warmer summer like days. A streamer twitched through sexy spots is a great plan to start the day out with; we love the Thin Mint for this.
The waters of the Northeast Corner are still high, but the flows on the Lamar are dropping each day now. With the rain in forecast for the next couple of days it should go up.
The backcountry options are fairly limited in the Park right now due to water conditions, but you are likely to find some decent early season style lake fishing on the numerous stillwaters if you are willing to take a chance. Be sure to always be prepared for inclement weather as well as animal encounters if you go. Fish or hike with a buddy and be sure to all carry and know how to use bear spray.
MADISON RIVER – BY Joe Moore & JUSTIN SPENCE
Flows on Madison are still well below the seasonal norms as the dam operators struggle to get Hebgen Lake up to full pool. The flows could actually drop a bit more, but hopefully we won’t see that. We expect to see releases remain similar for the foreseeable future with any significant increases in flow below Quake being the result of increased runoff from the tribs due to rain. There is still some snow left up in the hills, but not too much.
Below Quake Lake, the Madison has been running green, stonefly green as we like to refer to it. Last week the West Fork got very muddy, but it has cleared up quite a bit. The further down one gets in the system, the more the brown water from the West Fork mixes in. Running down lower on the river is a good idea and nymphing with rubber legs, jigged Hare’s Ears and perdigons is the ticket. The morning river temps have been hovering around 45 degrees, by lunch things have warmed up quite a bit and the fish will get a little more on the bite later in the day. Nymphing will continue to be the tactic that works the best, but fishing a chubby and beadhead in the afternoon will find enough fish to make an interesting day. Salmonflies around Ennis are in the near future.
THE LAKES – BY MATT KLARA & Michael Delfino
Chironomids have been the name of the game for us on both Hebgen and Henry’s over the past week, with pupa imitations taking us the bulk of our fish. Stripping buggers and other smaller attractors has worked “ok” at times as well, but maybe not as well as we’d like. Perhaps we’ve been waking up too late and not taking advantage of lower light periods when larger fish often creep into the shallows for bigger food items. Be prepared to experiment with presentation as well as depth and location as the action may be a fast moving target through the week. Watch out for the winds!
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.