Big Sky Country Lakes Report - September 8, 2022
We’ve been seeing some great fishing on Hebgen Lake lately. Callibaetis hatches have been strong, with good spinner falls, and finally the trout are in “gulper” mode, patterning their rises. When the trout are putting only two and three rises together in sequence and then disappearing, we are still dropping a nymph below a dry fly or stripping a nymph across the target zone. When they are linking up their rises and staying near the surface, it’s time to go to a spinner pattern, they’ll often shun the nymph at this point of the hatch, usually around late morning or early afternoon.
As this summer weather continues, the lakes in this region will continue to fish well with callibaetis, damselflies, and terrestrial patterns. We are now expeiencing more consistent flying honey ants (#14) on the water as well. Any time you find these guys, there are trout eating them, so don’t be caught without the right fly!
If you find yourself out there with no surface activity, remember that it’s hard to go wrong with a chironomid and a general nymph fished static, or a slow stripped leech or callibaetis nymph.
The backcountry and higher elevation alpine lakes are very much still in play, though some of the aquatic insect activity is really beginning to drop off. Once that happens, look for terrestrials during the warmest parts of the day and otherwise fish subsurface with leeches, scuds, and dragonfly nymphs that have multi-year life cycles and will trigger a trout’s urge to feed. Up in the alpine, September means that winter is coming.
Regardless of where you are fishing, be aware of water temps. Lake fish are particularly susceptible to C&R mortality if temps climb and dissolved oxygen levels drop.