Lakes Report - June 27, 2024

Lakes Report - June 27, 2024
It's been nearly a month since the last lake report, primarily because the fishing patterns have remained fairly consistent until recently, when true, summer like weather and water conditions have started to shift the when, why, and how or the local stillwater fishing scene.
First and foremost, we are seeing warming water temps and increased aquatic vegetation growth on Hebgen and other MT lakes. Callibaetis mayflies are finally starting to steal some of the entomological thunder from the diminutive dipterans known as chironomids.  Callibaetis are fantastic bugs to the stillwater angler because they present some additional angling and presentation techniques that chironomids don't offer.  On the subsurface end of things, Callibaetis nymphs are a much zippier insect, especially during emergence periods, than the chironomids.  You can still suspend a Callibaetis nymph under a bobber, but fishing them retrieved slowly or not that slowly on a floating line with long leader, a full sinking intermediate line, or one of the awesome Superflo Intermediate Sink Tip lines from Airflow will result in some exciting and potentially tippet splitting grabs.  At or on the surface, Callibaetis offer some great opportunities for spot and stalk type "Gulper" fishing when the trout are keyed in on emerging Callibaetis as they split from their nymphal shucks, Callibaetis duns, or Callibaetis spinners when they return to the water after mating.
We haven't seen much in the way of damselfy emergences on Hebgen or Henrys quite yet, but we have seen them on lower elevation/shallower waters, so get ready for that fun to begin.  Even when damsels aren't actively hatching, a damselfy nymph imitation or an impressionistic pattern like a small Xmas Tree Bugger, or Stillwater Nymph will usually bring some grabs at this time of year.
Start looking for caddis to be moving around on stillwaters where they are present in good numbers.
With water temps getting into the sweet spot for fish activity, if there are no bugs showing, it's definitely going to be worth fishing any of the classic stillwater big fish bugs.  Rickerds Seal Buggers, mohair leeches, and smaller attractors like the Henry's Lake Renegade and Mity Mouse can get it done even when fish aren't looking for a specific meal.
One final reminder:  We use Hebgen as a baseline for our stillwater reports simply because it is so close to the shop.  But there are lots of stillwater fisheries in our area.  The main thing to consider on the other lakes and ponds is their elevation and depth characteristics.  Higher elevation lakes or lakes that hold a lot of deep water will be well behind in the annual bug and fish activity cycles, while lower elevation and/or shallower water bodies will often be well ahead!   So, a deep, high elevation lake like Yellowstone Lake, is typically a bit behind the Hebgen schedule, whereas a shallow, weedy, mid elevation lake may already be turning out damsels and dragons and leaning toward the mid summer mid day doldrums.

Big Sky Country

lakes

Stillwater opportunities in our area are considered by many to be as exciting and diverse as the moving water angling!

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