The biggest news out of the Park this last week was the opening of the NE Entrance Road on October 15th. Anglers and regular ol’ tourists alike can now drive the entire length of the Lamar Valley clear through to the gateway communities of Silvergate and Cooke City. Early reports have all come back more-or-less the same: the Lamar and Soda Butte Creek look radically different in some stretches, with their contours and bottoms forever changed from the springtime floods. Mother Nature’s makeover aside, both rivers have been fishing lights-out — those Yellowstone Cutthroat haven’t seen a fly all summer, and have been readily inhaling small hoppers and ants throughout the day. Don’t expect this to last much longer with all the cold, scuzzy weather on the horizon, but do try to catch these two rivers before they close for the season, and make sure to bring a handful of Baetis or bigger generic mayfly patterns (I like the Orange-post Paranymph in #16) in case those clouds roll in!
Fishing elsewhere in the Park remains relatively constant with the weather holding up as it has. Despite the constant sun, it does seem like anglers are catching more of those fall-run browns and rainbows throughout The Madison system — perhaps those stubborn Hebgen trout got tired of waiting for dark, wet days, and decided to push on up. Until these upcoming storms decide to roll through, the key to fishing for the big runners remains getting out early, fishing your streamers while the light is still low, and getting those double-nymph rigs heavy and deep enough.
As with last week, the Firehole river remains a welcome relief from the drudgery of long days spent indicator fishing the Madison. Those itching for dry fly eats will find plenty of risers between Ojo Caliente and Biscuit Basin when things are slow elsewhere: those bright, warm afternoons are primetime on the Firehole, with clouds of White Millers, tan, and small black caddis swarming in droves along the sulfurous banks between 12 and 4pm. With colder and colder overnight temps, the prime window for dry-fly fishing seems to be 15 or so minutes later each day. I’d plan on swinging small pheasant-tail and hare’s ear soft hackles until things really heat up and the fish start rising. My best caddis imitations so far have been the Iron-X caddis in #14 and #16 alongside the CDC Para-Caddis in Tan (Sizes 14 through 18). The river should really start to shine for its last two weeks of fishing with the coming storm-front on the horizon and all the Baetis that will follow. Don’t forget to bring along a heaping serving of Olive Sparkle Duns and Quigley’s Flag Duns.
Swing by the shop before you head into Yellowstone and we’ll be happy to answer any other questions you may have or get you sorted with some of our favorite streamer patterns — and remember, fishing closes on October 31st this year!
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