Hello from West Yellowstone, Montana
– The Trout Capital of the World –
The big news this week is that YNP opened back up yesterday, June 22nd at 8am. Not all Yellowstone gates are opening this year, but the West Gate, South Gate and East Gate are now up and running. The South Loop is open and the North Loop will hopefully open up here in the next couple of weeks. Lamar Valley will be closed for the season as far as we understand. The road will be closed from Roosevelt heading east. The road from Gardiner, MT to Mammoth will not open this year as YNP will be rerouting the road and the construction will last all summer. Our thoughts continue to be with all of those effected by this 1000 year flood event.
Summer showed up this week with highs in the 70’s up here in the Caldera and 80’s in Ashton along the banks of the Henry’s Fork. It’s actually pretty darn nice to see the sun shine and have things dry out a little bit!
This past week has found us guiding and fishing the Henry’s Fork from top to bottom. Flows on the Madison remain high, and but are dropping down each day. Some days we have been the hammer and some days we have been the nail. Overall, the fishing has been pretty good, especially considering the chaos of the last week. Take care and fish on,
Take care and fish on,~ the BSA Crew
Warm weather is predicted (highs in the upper 70s) through the weekend, with minimal chance of precipitation, but some southerly wind (golden stones like southerly winds). Warmer through the early part of next week with highs in the mid 70’s, again with minimal chance of precipitation. We could definitely use a spell of nice, moderate temps and dry conditions after the soaking we’ve been taking. As always, we are in the mountains, so be prepared with layers, rain gear, puffy coats, sun hats, and shorts.
Henry’s Fork River by Jonathan Heames
Henry’s Fork Streamflows
Island Park Reservoir: 655 cfs
Ashton Dam: 1720 cfs
St. Anthony: 1820 cfs
Fall River: 1110 cfs
The Henry’s Fork has come around nicely this past week with some terrific hatches from top to bottom. River-wide clarity has improved quite a bit from the past three weeks and flows have been dropping to very nice levels for fishing conditions. Just about any part of the long blue line on the map that is labeled “Henry’s Fork of the Snake River” should hold good opportunities this coming week.
Box Canyon: Fishing has been good in the Box as of late, with flows dropping and an increase in bug activity. Nymph fishing reigns supreme in here, but there are some dry fly opportunities with golden stones, caddis, flavs and PMDs for anglers that prefer their activity on the surface. For nymphs, be sure to have both fast-sinking and slow-sinking imitations of those same insects. Perdigons from 12-16 and the Hungarian Partridge Caddis Pupa in a 14 are solid bets as are pheasant tail nymphs 12-16. Red and brown zebra midges should be on hand for early mornings or bright afternoons. Don’t be shy about ditching the indicator for a dry fly if the weather is fair.
Railroad Ranch: The Ranch has had a good opening week, overall. Plenty of stories of anglers finding a few fish here and there, and others of anglers who found exceptional fishing. Conditions have steadily improved this week and are in prime shape for the week to come. PMDs, flavs, caddis, and green drakes are all on the menu, be sure to be equipped with spinner/spent imitations and emerger patterns for each of them. There is not a better place to take your fly rod for a beautiful walk than along the Henry’s Fork in Harriman State Park right now, exciting fishing and incredible scenery await those willing to stretch their legs. Don’t forget a water bottle, snack and your 5X!
Canyon Country: The canyons of the Henry’s Fork will provide anglers who have some skill on the oars and who are looking for a little solitude a great day’s fishing. Good action on dry/dropper rigs with some shots at some quality -sized trout in a spectacular wilderness setting is a fine summary of the fishing opportunities down here. We generally favor a high visibility golden stone imitation with a stonefly nymph or a fast-sinking and slightly oversized mayfly nymph or caddis pupa beneath.
Warm River to Ashton: This section of river will see some of its highest use in the weeks to come, but not before giving anglers this week to see some of the quality trout fishing that it has to offer. Good hatches of PMDs, caddis, flavs, and some green drakes make for opportunities on the surface that are hard to come by later in the year down here. Nymph selections should mirror those hatches as well, with some stoneflies sprinkled in there.
Below Ashton Reservoir: There are miles and miles of river downstream from the Ashton Dam to its confluence with the main Snake that are worth exploring and should have good fishing opportunities this week. PMDs are hatching, flavs are starting to make a steady appearance, and green drakes are around for a short window each day. Caddis are thick at times in both 16 and 18 sizes. Golden stones are present throughout the river, some days more so than others. This is dry fly season down here, ditch the nymphs when you can and pay attention to the insects you see throughout the day!
Madison River by Joe Moore
This past week has found us avoiding the Madison due to high flows and muddy water. Jonathan checked the Slide section on Tuesday and found about a foot of visibility. Things are starting to look up down there but he river below the West Fork is still dark and off color. Flows are now dropping below Hebgen each day at this on Wednesday, the flow registered at 1860 CFS.
Cabin Creek continues to belch out some muddy water and Beaver Creek is starting to turn green. Quake Lake is olive/brown and hopefully this trends more towards green in the coming week.
The Wade Stretch will have some fishing in the soft pockets along the bank with rubber legs, pheasants tails, caddis larve and of course the San Juan Worm. Don’t for get your split shot! If floating from Raynold’s Pass to Pine Butte you better know how to handle a boat, a raft is a better choice right now than a drift boat.
The float stretch is still off limits for the time being, with flows making the bridges between Lyon and Palisades impassible. In addition, some of the access sites have been closed down to Ennis due to high water. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO FLOAT THE UPPER MADISON FROM LYONS TO PALISADES AT THIS TIME.
Yellowstone National Park by Steve Hoovler
The West, South, and East entrances to Yellowstone opened yesterday (6/22) at 8:00 am. YNP has enacted an “Alternating License Plate System. That system means vehicles with license plates ending in an odd number will be able to enter the park on odd days of the month, while even numbers (including zero) will be granted access on even days of the month, according to the service.
That means we once again have access to the Firehole, Gibbon, and Madison Rivers on the west side of the Park. Flows on all three rivers are dropping back towards normal levels after last week’s unprecedented rainfall, and are very fishable.
Expect to see PMD spinners and egg-laying caddis on the warm, calm mornings and evenings forecasted for this upcoming week, as well as PMD emergences between 11:00am and 1:00pm.
The Yellowstone River in the Caldera Stretch opens for the season on July 1 this year. Traditionally, this has been a July 15 opener, and we are all anxious to see what the river has in store for us this year. Flows remain high, but we will keep an eye on conditions as opening day gets closer. Stay tuned!
For the most up-to-date road conditions in the park, please refer to Yellowstone’s media channels.
The Lakes by Matt Klara
Weather and water conditions have improved or at least stabilized in the last week, and with more dry warmer conditions in the forecast, expect the stillwater conditions to continue to improve, with insect activity increasing.
Inflows are now tracking with outflows from Hebgen and the reservoir level remains at or very near full pool. The grayling arm remains very muddy at the time of writing, but the main body of the lake is clear and very fishable. If you do decide to venture out onto Hebgen in a motorized craft, be aware that there are many pieces of floating debris (logs, trees, etc) throughout the lake.
Henry’s remains a good bet in coming days, along with other smaller regional stillwaters. Smaller and shallower stillwaters will warm faster and have more aquatic vegetation growth at this time. Prepare yourself in case of callibaetis and early damsels.
Chironomids remain the key insect food source, with fish also responding to leech and bugger type patterns. Experiment with presentation depth and speed before you give up on a favorite fly. Watch the weather and wind. As things warm up this coming week bug activity, particularly in the shallows should continue to increase.
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