We were treated to terrific conditions this year on opening weekend in the Park. Water conditions on our perennial favorite, the Firehole River were ideal, and weather conditions were a perfect mix of sun, clouds, and storms.
Daily storms prompted afternoon mayfly hatches on the Firehole bringing fish to the surface for our first Park dry fly sessions of the season. When fish weren’t found rising, they were more than willing to take a swung soft hackle or small streamer. Baetis and PMD mayflies have been the main players, though isolated hatches of Flavs (Drunella flavilinea) have also been reported.
Flavs are not a common, or well-known hatch on the Firehole. These stout, size 14, olive mayflies are far more prevalent and renowned on the nearby Henry’s Fork. They hatch in isolated micro-climates along the Firehole, and are a treat to encounter. Like their much larger and more celebrated cousins, the Green Drake, Flavs are clumsy emergers, struggling to free themselves from nymphal shucks at the surface, creating easy targets for rising trout.
Conditions look to remain ideal for afternoon emergencies of Baetis, PMD, and the odd Flav mayfly in the coming week. Water temps are still cold in the mornings. So don’t expect to see many of these duns on the water before 1:00pm.
Other than the Firehole, the Madison River in YNP provided fun fishing this week for those looking to throw some streamers, or nymph fish with large stonefly patterns. Flows should remain bank-full with a strong tea color, and we expect this fishing to hold up. Keep an eye out for the first Salmonflies of the season on the Madison in the Park in the next week or so.
Ice-out has recently happened on many of the Park’s lakes, and it's a great time to find fish cruising in shallow water that would otherwise be in the depths of the lake. The next few weeks are a fun time to fish lakes like Lewis, Shoshone, or Yellowstone with leeches and buggers on a floating or intermediate line. Remember that early season conditions still exist on many of our favorite trails, and you may encounter some mud or even snow. As always, you will want to be bear aware, and carry Bear Spray anytime you head into the park, especially in the backcountry.