We pray for scuzzy weather in the fall, and that’s exactly what we got this week as yet another storm system rolled through with a healthy dose of cold, wet conditions, and great fall fishing in Big Sky Country.
Fall fishing in YNP revolves around hatches of Baetis mayflies and migratory trout, both of which are exceptional when the weather is at its worst. Cold, wet conditions prompt the most concentrated Baetis emergences and stir the need to move in the heart of all migratory trout.
Fishing continues to be great right now on our two local fall favorites, the Firehole and Madison Rivers. A terrific day can be made chasing migratory fish in the mornings and evenings on the Madison, and hunting heads on the Firehole in the afternoons.
Conditions look to return closer to “normal” for mid-October this week with highs getting back into the 50’s by the weekend.
On bright days, streamer fishing, especially for migratory fish, will be more productive during periods of low light levels. That means early in the am, and late in the pm. These are the days to be on the water as early as you can. Brave the cold temps to capitalize on a few hours of fish activity, and then take some time to bask in the sun, and enjoy a late breakfast or early lunch. Alternatively, the last few hours of daylight will also see an increase in activity with fish becoming more comfortable as the sun gets low over the western horizon, and shadows grow long and dark across the water.
While sunny afternoons won’t produce the strong hatches we saw earlier in the week, sparse hatches of fall Baetis mayflies will still occur, and prompt fish to feed. As is always the case at this time of year, keep in mind these fish have been playing the game since June, and are in no mood for sloppy presentations, clumsy approaches, or the wrong pattern. Take your time, plan your approach, and step up to the plate with your best swing.
We’ve reached the point in the fall season where migratory fish will be on the move anywhere they are found in YNP, including fun fall fisheries like the Gardner, Yellowstone, and Lewis-Shoshone channel.
As always, the corner of 39 Madison Ave in West Yellowstone, MT is the best place for up-to-date info on conditions, flies, and tips before you venture into the Park. Be sure to stop by the shop, and give or get a report.