It’s been a fun week on the park waters close to West Yellowstone. Fishing on the Park stretch of the Madison River for fall run fish out of Hebgen Lake picked up nicely this week with good reports of lake fish being caught throughout the system by those throwing, nymphs, streamers, and soft hackles alike.
Likewise, the Firehole River saw great hatches of fall Baetis mayflies with good numbers of rising fish in the afternoons.
Conditions couldn’t have been better the last few days for this fishing with heavy cloud cover, cool temps, and rain falling. As conditions brighten up and dry out over the coming days expect to see the migratory fish in the system begin to hunker down during the bright mid-day hours, and restrict the bulk of their movement and activity to the low-light hours in the am, and pm. The savvy fall angler would be wise to do the same.
Cold overnight temps will likely produce a thick blanket of fog over the river in the morning hours providing a convenient false-overcast, and keeping fish comfortable, and hopefully aggressive, until the suns burns through. Conversely, as soon as that evening shade casts across the river expect to see another strong chance to entice a big brown or rainbow with a stripped streamer or swung fly.
Blue-Bird afternoons are a great time to head up to the Firehole, Gibbon, or Gallatin Rivers and search for rising fish, or prospect with small nymphs. Sunny skies will produce sparse Baetis mayfly hatches at best, but many times it only takes a few bugs to get the fish looking up. This is also a great time to cover water with a small flying ant pattern, especially along certain deep, undercut banks known to harbor large brown trout.
As we enter the prime weeks of fall fishing in the Park, it’s worth mentioning that the Madison is far from the only river in YNP with brown trout that begin to get aggressive, and migrate in anticipation of the fall spawn. We don’t need to list all of the great spots here and blow up anyone’s hard-earned secrets, but this is a great time to do your research, put in some leg work, and go explore the park. There’s more than a few over-looked gems in there!
The countdown is on! Get in there and take advantage of some fall fishing while you can. October 31 is the last day of the season.