Big Sky Anglers Weekly Fishing Report – 9/29/2022

by | Sep 29, 2022

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

A quick shot of weather came through last Thursday and we had our first real snow of the season. While it didn’t last long, the mountains were blanketed with snow hinting that Winter is looming. Things warmed up quite a bit this past week and the snow pretty much melted off the southern exposures in short order. Fortunately, we have another dose of weather coming this weekend and life around here is looking pretty darn fishy!

New this year in YNP is the end of the season closure, which was released back in the early Spring. 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 9 pm seven days a week.

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 
This weekend looks to be pretty darn fish out there folks. As you can see, a new cold front is coming through the Hebgen Basin this weekend. Hopefully your waders don’t leak and don’t forget that rain jacket! There is a slight warm up for next week with highs in the mid 60s. The morning temps will be chilly, you can bet on that.

Henry’s Fork River by Jonathan Heames

Island Park Dam: 375 cfs

Ashton Dam: 929 cfs

St. Anthony: 778 cfs

Fall River: 349 cfs

It’s been a fine September week on the Henry’s Fork, with a great outlook for the week to come. Flows remain just below 400 cfs out of Island Park Dam, and we should see a decrease through this week as movement of water for irrigation purposes continues to slow. It looks as though we’ll have some cloud cover this coming week and winds are forecasted to remain low. 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 has been fishing well this week and there is opportunity throughout the State Park for those who are looking for it. Sparse mahogany hatches trickle throughout the day but provide excellent target fishing for observant anglers. Trout are somewhat concentrated, so discerning whether you are fishing to a moving target or several sparsely rising trout in the same area can be an important step in finding success out there. Small spinners are still present in the mornings and throughout the day, and the afternoon hours are still producing some terrestrial action. Weather this week may bring about a few more baetis but temps still looking pretty fair, 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, but are not the sections to be stuck in during a bout of foul weather, so keep an eye on the forecast if you’re heading down here. Dry/dropper rigs and streamers are our first choices.

Warm River to Ashton: These beautiful September 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 fishing continues to develop as we reach the end of the month and see chilly October mornings on the horizon. Water temps are starting to stay steady between the 55-60 degree mark, and flows are running approximately 970 CFS at Varney, 790 at Kirby, and 730 CFS below Hebgen. Cooler weather is bound to roll in as we enter the new month, but we are enjoying the last few warm afternoons before hatches start to become more inconsistent and fizzle out. Warmer weather this past week has started to make BWO hatches a bit more dependable, making for some great sight nymphing opportunities. Juju Baetis continue to be one of the most productive patterns in my box for imitating BWO’s (#16-18), but Cocktail Nymphs & CDC Pheasant Tails (#14-18) are close runner ups in catching a fish’s attention this time of year.

Aside from Baetis and a few Caddis you may see around the water these days, streamers are still top contenders for the title of most valuable fall fly. We’re still seeing some larger fish make their way down from the lakes and they are not shy to eat a streamer. Cloudier, drearier days will certainly be better for fishing bigger flies like a BFE, Bouface or Sculpzilla, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a chance to throw streamers on nicer days too. Have a plan of attack prior to hitting the water in the mornings, and if you anticipate swinging streamers, definitely do it earlier in the day before the sun starts to glare on the water. Cloudier afternoons may lengthen that window of opportunity, but you may want to re-rig mid afternoon once the day carries on if you start to see more bug action. Additionally, don’t skimp out on evening fishing if you’re worn out come lunchtime- there’s still plenty of fish active later in the day once the sun starts to go down. Regardless of where and when you’re fishing these days, remember to always be respectful of the fish you do end up hooking into and be sure to properly handle them once landed. Some of the browns in the Madison these days have had a long journey to make it into our nets!

Yellowstone National Park by Steve Hoovler

scuzz {skuhz}


  1. something regarded as disgusting, sordid, or disreputable
  2. cloudy, cool, wet (rainy or snowy) weather, ideal conditions for fall fishing in Big Sky Country


  1. scuzzy

indian summer {ugh}


  1. period of beautiful, unseasonably warm, dry weather that sometimes occurs in autumn in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, temporarily crushing the hopes and dreams of fall, fly-toting anglers in Big Sky Country.

It’s been a stunning week of Indian Summer in the high country of Yellowstone Park, and while we generally wish for scuzzy weather in the fall, it’s hard to complain about 70-degree afternoons, bright blue skies with white puffy clouds, and amber-lit hillsides.

More seasonal weather is on the way, and a decent chance of scuzz is in the forecast through the weekend. It’s no news that our fall fishing highlights in Big Sky Country revolve around streamer fishing for migratory fish, and fall hatches of Mayflies, both of which are supremely better when we are fortunate enough to see scuzzy weather.

With a good chance of clouds and precipitation possible over the next several days, expect to see good emergences of Baetis mayflies throughout the area. Hatches could begin as early as 11:00 am on warmer days, and as late as 3:00-4:00 pm on colder, wetter days. The Firehole, Gibbon, Madison, and Yellowstone Rivers are all good places to see Baetis hatches, and fish looking up. Keep in mind that our fall Baetis are the smallest of the season at a whopping size 20-22, and at the end of a long season, fish are at their most selective. So, bring your A-game, and expect to make long casts and delicate dry fly presentations.

Add Slough Creek to the list of great spots to test your dry fly presentation prowess in the coming week. Baetis and Timpanoga mayflies will emerge in the afternoons, and the large Cutthroat Trout that call Slough Creek home will be more than happy to rise slowly and inspect your imitations. When the pattern and the presentation are perfect, they might even yawn that big mouth open and eat your fly. FYI…if Timpanoga is unfamiliar, it’s a close cousin to the Green Drake, and commonly called a Drake Mackerel around Big Sky Country. Check out an article HERE to sort out the Green Drakes.

Streamer enthusiasts will delight in the upcoming forecast, and fishing conditions – fingers crossed that the scuzzy weather materializes. All of the variables that we hope for are lining up to put migratory fish on the move, and resident fish in the mood. The usual haunts along the Madison, Gibbon, and Firehole Rivers will be in play, but it’s also a good time to explore the lower Yellowstone, Gardner, and Snake rivers with a streamer.

This is a great time of year to break up your fishing day with an early morning streamer session on one river or section, an afternoon dry fly session on another, and an evening streamer jaunt on a third. Don’t be afraid to get out and explore. We have some great conditions, and fun fishing ahead.

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