Big Sky Anglers Weekly Fishing Report – August 22, 2019

Big Sky Anglers Weekly Fishing Report – August 22, 2019

Summertime flooded over West Yellowstone in all its glory this past week. Afternoons have been nice and warm, and the hopper action continues to amaze us all. Aside from the fishing, we’ve been rather entertained listening to all the local guides bicker over which hopper imitation or color they think is the best. These perfect summer conditions have made a late appearance this year, and may only last a few weeks before we transition into fall, so don’t hesitate to skip work (or quit work)  and take advantage of it. Sunny days are the name of the game, and don’t stay home just because a bit of wind might be in the forecast!

Lastly, keep in mind that warm and dry air are conditions set the stage for dehydration. Even for those who don’t venture far from the vehicle, take the time to pack water and drink enough throughout the day to stay hydrated. Maintaining fluids and nutrition can be the difference maker in comfort level, performance while on the water, and energy levels for tomorrow’s fishing.

Read on to see our take on this week’s fishing, and check out the links below to stay current on area forecasts and flows. Stay tuned as we report each week on hatches, flows, weather, and more. For the most up to date info stop by the shop, give us a call, or drop us a line.

West Yellowstone Forecast

MT Streamflows

ID Streamflows


Henry’s Fork

The terrestrial fishing switch is currently set to the ON position throughout the Ranch. Flying ants are increasing by the day and hoppers are abundant. Look to throw small hoppers, ants, and beetles especially during the breezy afternoons. Observe the wind’s direction, where it is blowing the bugs, and where they are landing on the water. If there are current seams where bugs are consistently landing, fish may be holding in those lanes and looking up. Caddis hatches have also been consistent. CDC Caddis and various emerger patterns in sizes 14-18 have been productive. Spinner falls are still happening here and there, so be on the lookout for PMD and callibaetis spinners on the water.

Don’t overlook other sections on the Upper Henry’s Fork, including the Box Canyon. Rubber legs, red zebra midges, caddis pupa, and mayfly nymphs are generally a solid combination at any point of the year in this section. Larger foam dry flies in the 8 to 12 size range and caddis dries can bring some surface excitement if you get tired of hooking fish underneath.

Yellowstone National Park

Expect vehicular traffic to die down this week with school starting back up in most places. The Northeast Corner remains the most consistent area for fishing in the Park, and for those looking to add a native Yellowstone Cutthroat to their lifetime “catch list”, now is the time. The big furry critters have really been on the move lately, so carry bear spray and maintain proper bear country practices as well as respecting any and all wildlife you might be fortunate enough to experience.

 The Northeast Corner

Dry weather this past week kept the flows and clarity on the Lamar River consistent. Thunderstorms in July and early August caused variation in fishing conditions, but every time the river came back into shape the fish were looking to eat on top!

Slough Creek and Soda Butte are fishing quite well, but the fish may be a little picky. PMD and Epeorious spinner fall could still occur in the morning on sunny days. Crippled PMDs and rusty spinners along with an assortment of hoppers and flying ants, will serve you well.  The biggest challenge will not be finding fish, or avoiding other anglers, but finding sections of creek where the bison herds aren’t setting up shop.  Only in Yellowstone!!

The Yellowstone River

The Upper Yellowstone is showing glimpses of its former glory this summer. There are plenty of fish still remaining in the river, it’s just a matter of finding them, and if technical dry fly antics are your thing, the Stone is the Zone. Looking for heads during morning spinner falls and evening caddis hatches. For those of you that haven’t already guessed, terrestrials such as hoppers and flying ants can be solid options as well.

The Gallatin River

With higher daytime temperatures the Gallatin may turn on earlier in the day than in previous weeks. This river runs colder than most others in the area, yet daytime heat may have been enough to keep it warm enough to fish dry flies before noon. Hopper-dropper rigs off of the banks, seams, and pockets will a solid bet for picking up a few of the Gallatin’s resident chunky, spunky, silver bullet rainbows. Look for PMDs and caddis to make appearance throughout the day, too, depending on weather conditions.

In previous weeks I mentioned there were regular sightings of two grizzlies near Bacon Rind Creek. There has also been a grizzly bear seen near Specimen Creek; so keep an eye out for it. We haven’t heard of recent encounters with these bears but that doesn’t mean they aren’t in the area.

Blue Squiggly lines…

This has become one of the more popular parts of the weekly fishing report. Many of you have come in the shop expressing interest in venturing to one of the countless blue squiggly lines visible on a YNP map.  Exploring the backcountry is a true joy and we are glad to know that others share our passion for it.

This week’s challenge is the “Yellowstone Native Trout Slam.”      To complete the challenge, you must catch all four of the native game fish species listed in the Yellowstone National Park Fishing Regulations –  Yellowstone Cutthroat, Westslope Cutthroat, Mountain Whitefish, and Arctic Grayling. For anglers that catch all four and can provide photo evidence of capture will receive a 15% discount for one purchase in the shop. The fish must be clearly identifiable in the photos, handled properly (keep ‘em wet), and cutthroat rainbow hybrids (aka cuttbows) do not count. All fish must be caught within the Park’s boundary and native fish caught from any legal fishery within the Park count.

For those that take up this challenge, please take extra care of the Park’s native fish species when handling and releasing them.

Madison River

Hoppers, hoppers, hoppers, hoppers, hoppers, and… HOPPERS! It’s literally hopper mayhem on the 50 Mile Riffle.  Sizes vary from small to giant and patterns in all sizes and colors seem to be producing on any given day. There is potential for solid hopper fishing well into September (fingers crossed). Throw your bugs close to the bank or fish them midriver.  The fish are on the hunt.

Flying ant flights have also exploded on the Madison this past week. A small ant fished solo or trailed off of the back of a hopper could be the ticket to board the train. Keep an eye out for the ever-present caddis in the evenings as well.

An upside of a wet/cool summer with limited fires has keep the skies clear and smokeless offering an incredible view of the mountains surrounding the Madison Valley. Few drifts are as scenic as a float on the Madison River.

Hebgen Lake

Gulper enthusiasts rejoice, Callibaetis action has picked up this past week. Warmer temps gave this hatch a major boost and now they seem to be popping regularly. Stillwater anglers have been consistently reporting getting numerous good shots at fish. Stable weather patterns and nighttime lows in the 40s are in the forcast into early next week, so expect the dry fly action to remain consistent or improve.  Gulper fishing is never a slam dunk, though.  Bring your skills and long leaders.  Leaders in the 12’-18’ range are not uncommon amongst regular Hebgen anglers targeting late summer fish on top.

Missouri River

Consistently warm weather is in the forecast and should provide peak conditions for trico action in the mornings. PMDs and callibaetis are still present as well. In the evening, be on the lookout for PEDs (Pale Evening Duns, not the Barry Bonds variation) as trout will key in on those morsels. When rising to mayfly spinners, fish may become selective, and having patterns that imitate exactly the form they are eating is a must. When the dry bite is slow don’t hesitate to nymph small flies deep or strip small streamers in the mornings and evenings.

BSA Guide Greg Falls has openings here and there and few know the Missouri better than he does. Whether you are an experienced fly fisher who wants to learn the Missouri, a traveling angler, or a beginner Greg Falls and our Missouri River guide staff are here to help you fulfill your goals. Call the shop for details!

Big Sky Anglers Weekly Fishing Report – August 15, 2019

Big Sky Anglers Weekly Fishing Report – August 15, 2019

Time has been flying by and we find ourselves in mid-August—Already?! Mother nature has been kind to Yellowstone Country anglers the past few summers in regard to water conditions, and the trend continues. This summer has been marked by chilly mornings, wet afternoons, and lush green hillsides rather than a smoky horizon and statewide “Hoot-Owl” restrictions on many of our main stem rivers. Get out on the water, this isn’t your typical August!

The past few days has brought drier weather as it hasn’t rained… as much. The terrestrial action is rolling across the region, bringing “fair” to “excellent” results for those who venture to the stream bank. Caddis remains a constant and Epeorus Mayfly hatches have lingered due to cool and wet conditions. On heavily pressured streams don’t be afraid to downsize to smaller flies. Even with favorable conditions it’s still fly fishing in August. The “A” in August means bring you’re “A Game” because the fishing can be challenging at times.

Fall fishing is right around the corner, which for many fly fishers is primetime for Southwest Montana and YNP fisheries. The tourist crowd will die down post-Labor Day opening up the roads from the intense traffic seen in the summer. This Fall stop by the shop early in the morning for any gear and/or tackle needs. Fish hard during the day, come back by the shop in the evening to swap stories, and top it off with a pizza at Wild West while watching Post-Season Baseball—which will hopefullyinclude the St. Louis Cardinals making a run at their 12th World Series Title. It’s been a stellar season thus far and much more is still to come. Stay tuned!

Read on to see our take on this week’s fishing, and check out the links below to stay current on area forecasts and flows. Stay tuned as we report each week on hatches, flows, weather, and more. For the most up to date info stop by the shop, give us a call, or drop us a line.

Stay tuned as we report each week on hatches, flows, weather, and more. For the most up to date info stop by the shop, give us a call, or drop us a line.

West Yellowstone Forecast

MT Streamflows

ID Streamflows


Henry’s Fork

It’s time for hoppers and flying ants on the Railroad Ranch. Breezy days will help blow hoppers onto the water inspiring the fish to lookup. Take the time to watch how the wind is blowing them onto the water and where they are landing. The fish will move into these lanes if they are actively on the hopper bite. Keep an eye on them when they land on the water, an aggressive splash may follow.

Honey ants should be showing up at any time. Flying-ant patterns are a must-have when venturing to this section. Keep an assortment of caddis and PMDs on hand as there are still multiple windows throughout the day a hatch could go off. Anglers have been reporting consistent caddis hatches busting off regularly in the evenings.

Flows coming out of Island Park Reservoir have remained constant around 1,000 cfs. Box Canyon remains a staple andrumor has it that fish will still take goldenstone patterns. Rubber legs, zebra midges, caddis pupa, and heavy weighted mayfly nymphs remain as reliable options for subsurface flies.

Yellowstone National Park

For those who are making the trip into the Park, consider going through the gate prior to 7:30 am to avoid traffic. Once the daily crowd hits animal jams and slowing moving lines of cars will rule the roadways. After Labor Day passes the roadways will start to clear up, making a trip through the Park less of a hassle.

Northeast Corner

The Lamar was running “chocolate” for much of the past week as a result of rainfall. It doesn’t take much to muddy-up this river making it unfishable as a result. Check the weather forecast daily as conditions can and will change at any time. Hopper-dropper rigs can offer steady action throughout the day basically everywhere in YNP (and outside of the Park, for that matter). Slough Creek will generally run clear, even if the Lamar and Soda Butte are off color and high.

PMDs have been present in the morning and they’ve proven to be willing to rise to eat a well-presented terrestrial pattern throughout mid-day (shocker).

If the fish seemed to be tucked to the bottom and unwilling to move up to eat flashy and/or white streamers have proven to be effective. Remember to pack bear spray and respect the wildlife.

Yellowstone River

The flows continue to drop naturally as the river exits Yellowstone Lake and enters Hayden Valley. Generally, this is the month where fish start to exit the river and move back into the lake. With this being a highwater year more fish may linger in the stream longer than normal. Look for caddis, PMDs, and terrestrials. The fish are a little trickier than they were a month ago during the opener so don’t be surprised if enticing a larger cutthroat proves to be a challenge.

Gallatin River

The Gallatin has really come into stride this week. It has been running fairly clear this past week as there hasn’t been as much rain to turn it off color. Hoppers, flying ants, PMDs, and Caddis are all available food sources currently. The Gallatin generally fishes better later in the day after water temperatures have warmed up a bit. The chilly water in the morning generally makes the fish a little lethargic during the day. The standard warning of bears and moose chilling in the willows remains in place. Carry bear spray, make noise, and if possible, bring a fishing buddy to cover your bases. There have been regular sightings of two grizzlies near Bacon Rind Creek throughout the last couple of weeks.

Blue Squiggly Lines…

By August most of the mainstem rivers and well-known fisheries have seen countless fly anglers. We are fortunate to have these places to fish that can support mass numbers sport fishermen and women. But it isn’t the worst idea in the world to get off the beaten path and find new waters. I won’t provide specific names or locations in this report for such an endeavor. Check out last week’s report for my challenge in finding new park waters to fish. Half the fun of getting outside is the adventure and thrill of experiencing new place.

For anyone that takes up this challenge: please take extra care of these fisheries and treat them with respect. Let’s keep these wild and unique places wild and unique!

Madison River

Last week I compared Madison River to LeBron James. In continuing the sports analogy trend, this week the Madison River fished like Tim Tebow played for the Denver Broncos in 2011. Not good early but fantastic later in the day when the “game” is on the line, or more simply inconsistent. When the hopper fishing turns on the action is consistent for a handful of windows throughout the day. The fish have become finicky and it’s not uncommon for them to conduct a congressional-like investigation before a commitment to eat or refuse a fly.

Caddis hatches are still a regular occurrence. Stonefly patterns can still provide a solid option to tie on and are perfect to be paired with a heavy tungsten nymph in a dry-dropped system. Don’t be afraid to branch out to new spots on this river. The wade fishing access is excellent even throughout the seemingly flatter water of the float section. They call it the “50 Mile Riffle” for a reason!

Hebgen Lake

It’s mid-August and that means it’s prime Gulper time! The weather forecast is looking less unsettled in the coming week. That should improve what has already been good gulpering. Bear in mind that cool mornings will delay callibaetis mating flights and subsequent spinner falls. So, keep an eye on the thermometer, and don’t get too excited until the mercury hits 60 degrees.

Missouri River

The peak of the Trico hatch was the beginning of the month, but spinner fall can still be available in the morning. Action has slowed down a bit this week which isn’t uncommon. The next few weeks the game is terrestrials (surprise!) and attractor patterns. Old school dry fly anglers can breakout their Royal Wulffs, Stimulators, and Parachute Adams. Currently the upper river is providing more consistent fishing than the lower, however that should change in the upcoming weeks. Also, BSA guide Greg Falls has openings and help take a trip on the Mo to a whole new level.

Big Sky Anglers Weekly Fishing Report – July 11, 2019

Big Sky Anglers Weekly Fishing Report – July 11, 2019

Despite wetter and cooler than average weather fishing and hatches have finally started to really crank here in Big Sky Country.

We saw another week of Gore-Tex weather. Afternoon and evening storms have been the norm, and temps continue to run below average. Forecasts are calling for warmer weather in the upcoming week. Though, as Rob Van Kirk from the Henry’s Fork Foundation points out in his daily water supply email, “above-average temperatures have been in the forecast for weeks now and have yet to materialize for more than a few days at a time”.

Snowpack in the area has diminished in all but the highest portion of the high country. Runoff is behind us in most of the area except for the high elevation fisheries in Yellowstone Park.

We had a great 4th of July weekend complete with fireworks, parades, and salmonflies. Thanks to everyone who stopped by the shop to say Hi and chat about fishing in Big Sky Country and beyond.

There’s been a tremendous amount of interest in our Patagonia hosted trips and customized itineraries. We love sitting down with folks in the “Destination Lounge” at BSA to discuss options, and plan adventures to Argentina. Swing by sometime if you’re in town and want to chat about fishing in Argentine Patagonia.

Stay tuned as we report each week on hatches, flows, weather, and more. For the most up to date info stop by the shop, give us a call, or drop us a line.

West Yellowstone Forecast

MT Streamflows

ID Streamflows


Henry’s Fork

As we roll into mid-July, and the heart of our summer season, prime dry fly fishing carries on throughout the flat water sections of the Railroad Ranch. All but a few stray Green and Brown Drakes have finished, but what remains is a consistent rotation of PMD and Flav duns and spinners along with caddis.

Warm calm mornings up in the Caldera will produce good spinner falls of Flavs and PMD’s, as well as egg laying caddis. As the day progresses into late morning and early afternoon, expect to see an emergence of PMD’s. If the skies darken late in the afternoon, which has been a daily occurrence lately, look for a good hatch of Flavs. Spinners and caddis will return in the evening and last into the darkness, provided that the storms pass and a warm calm evening ensues.

Flows in the Box Canyon have held relatively steady around 700cfs this week, and are predicted to bump up slightly as early as this weekend, by 100-150 cfs to accommodate irrigation demands in the lower watershed. This is an annual occurrence on the Henry’s Fork, but below average temps and persistent precipitation have delayed the need for increased diversion so far this season.

Fishing in the Box remains consistent with small bead head nymphs. The last of the Golden Stone activity for the watershed will still bring a few opportunistic rainbows to the surface. Some years this stonefly hatch will trickle off in the Box Canyon through July and into the beginning of August. Cool, wet weather prolongs the activity, and this could be one of those years where we see over a month of good Golden Stone fishing in the Box.

Yellowstone National Park

As we approach mid-July we will begin to see the start of the prime time season in Yellowstone Park. Things are still running a bit behind what we have seen over the last decade, but they are right on track compared to the “Good Ol’ Days” of the late-90’s.

The upper Yellowstone River, above Chittenden Bridge, opens to fishing on Monday July 15. Over the past several years we have seen this infamous fishery slowly begin to rebound after Cutthroat populations plummeted in the early 2000’s. Each year we have seen more and more fish, and last season was the first in nearly 20 years that fishable numbers of Cutts in the 12-16” range were found. We are all anxious to see what the Yellowstone River has in store for us this season. Weather and water conditions are reminiscent of the late 90’s. Hopefully the fishing will be too.

Flows below Yellowstone Lake are still running high at 4500cfs, but water clarity is good. This is a big flow for the Yellowstone River, and, although the water looks tranquil in places, it is a powerfully formidable force. Exercise extreme caution when you are wading the river for the next few weeks.

A few PMD’s and caddis have been spotted on the river around Cascade Picnic area already, and salmonflies have started at LeHardy Rapids. Green Drakes are on the horizon here. So, stay tuned for more reports from this storied fishery.

Salmonflies are crawling around the lower canyon stretches of the Yellowstone River as well. Again, flows are dangerously high here, but there is no need to wade much in these waters as most of the best fishing will be in the pockets right along the bank.

Elsewhere in the park, we are watching intently as the Northeast corner fisheries like Slough Creek, the Lamar River, and Soda Butte Creek come into shape and begin fishing well. PMD’s and caddis are present on all three of these perennial favorites, as are mosquitoes and biting flies. So, be sure to cover up as much exposed skin as possible and bring your best bug spray or lotion. A few Gray Drake spinners have been spotted on Slough Cr. Look for these big bugs (size #12) to bring picky Cutts to the surface for the next week to ten days on Slough.

The Gallatin River inside YNP is spitting and sputtering along like an old lawnmower trying to start. Water temps remain cooler than optimal here, and we really need a few warm days to jumpstart the bug activity, and the fishing. Keep an eye on the forecast, though, because this stretch of river is ready to pop with Caddis, PMD’s, Green Drakes, Golden Stones, and Salmonflies.

Madison River

July is go time on the Fifty Mile Riffle, and the river is alive with hatches these days. Warm, sunny conditions will prompt excellent Stonefly and Caddis activity. The Big Bugs have made their way up through the walk-wade waters around Raynold’s Pass and Three Dollar Bridge. Caddis activity has been breathtaking at times with monstrous swarms of adults flying amongst the streamside willows.

We’ve seen far more than our fair share of stormy weather in the Madison Valley this week, and that has squashed ambitions of evening caddis and afternoon stonefly forays. In the spirit of making lemonade out of lemons, though, stormy conditions have generated some impressive emergences of PMD, Epeorus, Flav, and Green Drake mayflies. These mayfly emergences are localized throughout the Madison Valley. Some sections of the river have good populations of specific mayflies and other do not.

Warm, calm mornings following periods of stormy weather can yield good spinner falls of the mayflies that hatched the previous day.

If the forecast finally plays out as advertised, and conditions warm up and settle down a bit, look to see the dry fly fishing become more consistent with fish looking for Caddis, Salmonflies, and Golden Stones throughout the day.

Hebgen Lake

Yet another week of unsettled weather has proven difficult for consistent action on Hebgen. The first brood of Callibaetis mayflies has been emerging for a few weeks, and the rare moments of warm, calm weather have generated some fun, although brief, sessions of gulpering.

The Chironomid and Leech game remains strong even through inclement weather. Experimenting with depth is still the key to success, especially in the arms and south side bays where weed growth has begun.

Missouri River

Joe is up on the MO this week and sent in this quick dispatch…

“I’m writing this from the river while posted up on a some sneaky fish.These ones seem to be eating spinners, which is generally the case when the hatch is light. It’s amazing how the fish get smarter the longer we sit here. A properly placed  single dry fly with a reach cast will fool them but the catch is one must do this the very first time.

Two days ago the flow went from just over 5000cfs to 5730cfs. While the fish are fat and happy, the bugs seem to be thrown off a little bit by the jump in flows. There are still bigger PMDs coming off but they are getting smaller from time to time. Yesterday in the upper river the PMD hatch didn’t really get going until almost 4pm. caddis played a big part of our day as we got most of our fish on the comparabuzz and they were hatching as soon as we splashed the boat.

We are about to pull the hook and find some fresh fish. Until next time…”

Gallatin River

In spite of all the stormy afternoons lately, the water conditions on the Gallatin are stabilizing and dropping, making for some great fishing throughout the canyon waters and upstream past Big Sky.

Salmonflies and Golden Stones are active throughout the river, and with warmer weather we should see fish looking harder for the Big Bugs.

PMD’s and Caddis are also active here and there along the Gallatin. Blind fishing size #14-16 attractors is a fun way to bring a few fish to the surface during the warmest part of the day and into the evening.

Big Sky Anglers Weekly Fishing Report – July 4, 2019

Big Sky Anglers Weekly Fishing Report – July 4, 2019

Happy Fourth of July from Big Sky Country!

The Summer season is in full swing here in West Yellowstone, though cool, wet weather still has it feeling like springtime. Daytime temps have been consistently below average, and you can count on one hand the number of days that we have seen in the past month that didn’t require Gore-Tex at some point.

Relatively chilly conditions preserved our snowpack through June, but our two closest Snotel stations, Black Bear and Carrot Basin have both finally reached zero. Snowpack remains strong in the high country in Yellowstone park and in the Tetons though, and snowmelt will influence streamflows here for several more weeks.

We celebrated the Third Anniversary of our Grand Opening last Saturday with a wonderful party, and fun filled day of events. It was great to see so many of our close friends and family, and welcome so many new customers. Thanks for helping us celebrate our third season at 39 Madison Ave. We couldn’t do it without you!

There is some truly exciting fishing happening throughout Big Sky Country this week. Read on to see our take on this week’s fishing, and check out the links below to stay current on area forecasts and flows.

Stay tuned as we report each week on hatches, flows, weather, and more. For the most up to date info stop by the shop, give us a call, or drop us a line.

West Yellowstone Forecast

MT Streamflows

ID Streamflows


Henry’s Fork

The Henry’s Fork is one of those places that will get under you skin. The hatches, the fish, the landscapes, the people; they are all addictive. The past two weeks have illustrated that more than any other in recent years, and next week looks to be more of the same.

The Lower River continues to turn out a seemingly endless supply of mayflies. Just when we think the Green Drakes have wrapped up for the season, another wave of giant green sailboats appears, and fish feed on them as if it were the first emergence of the year. Gray Drake Spinners continue to crank on the Lower River when conditions permit, as do Flavs, PMD’s, Caddis, and Golden Stones.

Up in the caldera, the flat water around Last Chance and the railroad Ranch has come alive with Green Drakes, Brown Drakes, Caddis, and PMD’s. We’ve seen more than our fair share of stormy weather lately, but when nicer conditions prevail, it’s been a procession of bugs from morning through night. Morning spinner falls of PMD’s will give way to emerging PMD’s and Green Drakes followed by a brief break in the late afternoon to have a quick bite to eat and prepare for the evening spinner falls of PMD’s and Brown Drakes.

The Box Canyon stands resolute as a stalwart ambassador of our sport, churning out one great day of fishing after another for wild rainbow trout. The Box may be one of the best places in the world to hone your skills as a technical nymph fisherman. However, there are some gratifying dry fly games playing out here these days as well. Golden Stones continue to trickle off in sections of the canyon keeping fish of all size classes on the lookout for a well presented Golden imitation. The flat water reaches of the lower canyon also have some exciting dry fly opportunities right now with strong PMD and Caddis activity along with Green Drakes.

Yellowstone National Park

We’re getting closer and closer with each passing week to seeing more of the Park waters come into shape and begin fishing well. However, we’re still not there on many of the perennial favorites like The Lamar River, Slough Creek, and Soda Butte. Keep an eye on the flows, and give us a ring in the shop for the most recent reports about stream conditions and hatches in the park. We should start seeing a lot of new options opening up in the next week to ten days.

In the meantime, the benefits of a strong snowpack and cool, wet spring continue to play out on the Madison and Firehole. It’s a rare year that fishing carries on into July on the Firehole, but water temps in the upper river are still cool, and we are still seeing strong hatches of Caddis, and PMD’s.

Conditions on the Gallatin in the Park are shaping up quickly. Water temps are still icy, but the clarity is good and some caddis activity has begun. Watch for the big stoneflies to make their way up into these waters over the next week to ten days.

Madison River

Fishing the Madison recently has been like taking a trip in a drift boat time machine back to the 90’s. It’s July 4th and the river is still a tiny bit green, it’s cold and wet, the salmonflies are barely up to Ruby Creek, multiple people have been seen in neoprene waders, and I swear I heard Even Flow blasting from a car stereo at McAtee today.  

Flows are great, clarity is great, the big bugs are on the move, but cool, stormy weather has made for some inconsistent action. Fishing on the Fifty Mile Riffle excels at this time of year with warm, sunny, windy weather as the fishing generally revolves around an immense population of fair weather loving caddis and stoneflies.                     The stormy weather of late has not been optimum for stoneflies and caddis, but it has produced some vigorous emergences of mayflies like PMD’s and Epeorus.

Warmer, more conducive weather is in the forecast for next week. By the time you are reading our next report, the big bugs should be up in the walk wade waters around Three Dollar Bridge, and we should be seeing strong evening emergences of Hydropsyche Caddis.

Hebgen Lake

Stormy weather always makes the lake difficult, but when conditions have permitted, the fishing has been excellent. It’s time to start fishing Callibaetis nymph imitations in addition to your standard Chironomid and leech games. Warm calm evenings will also yield the first caddis hatches of the season and some fun dry fly fishing right before dark.

Missouri River

The Missouri River in late June and early July is a dry fly paradise, no doubt about it.  PMDs have been the name of the game and the hatch has been prolific to say the least.  Duns, cripples and spinners will all play their part throughout the day.  We find that a well placed rusty spinner fools just about any fish on the Missouri this time of the year.  Caddis are starting to come into play more and more and tricos will be on the menu in the next few weeks, if not sooner.  The past ten days or so have been some of the best dry fly fishing anywhere in the West; it even rivals the Henry’s Fork at times for the spot and stalk game which we all love to play.

Flows are sitting at 4800cfs and river temps are topping out at 60.5 degrees; things are just right on the Mighty Mo’ and should continue to be for quite some time.  Joe will be up there all of next week and Jonathan will show up the following week.

Gallatin River

It’s salmonfly season on the Gallatin as well, and stormy weather is a factor here too. Not only do storms delay the hatch on the Gallatin, but they can bump flows and muddy the water to boot.

As weather conditions stabilize (fingers crossed) over the next week, expect to see good Salmonfly and Golden Stone fishing throughout the canyon and around Big Sky.

Big Sky Anglers Weekly Fishing Report – June 27, 2019

Big Sky Anglers Weekly Fishing Report – June 27, 2019

This is an exciting week in Big Sky Country. Drakes are rolling on the Railroad Ranch. Salmonflies are beginning on the Madison. And, our 3rd Annual Grand Opening Party is this Saturday.

We haven’t had a single day without some sort of moisture since our last report, and temps remain on the cool side of average. We saw snow on the first day of summer with some locations in the upper elevations picking up 6-8”. However, if the forecast is to be believed, this may finally be the first week of consistently nice weather this season. Highs in the 70’s with very slim chances of precip are predicted through the week.

Cool temps and wet weather kept snow melt below average this past week. The Black Bear Snotel site, south of West Yellowstone, still reads 30 inches of snow remaining on ground. Carrot Basin Snotel, in the southern Madison Range, has dwindled down to 6” of snow. Warm weather this week should accelerate the snow melt again, and bring runoff closer to it’s finale.

If you’re in the area this Saturday, June 29th, swing by the shop and help us celebrate our 3rd Annual Grand Opening. We have a fun filled day planned with special guests, industry sales reps, a casting competition, and special sales. Check out our recent blog post for more info. We hope to see everybody there!

https://bigskyanglers.com/big-sky-anglers-3rd-annual-grand-opening-celebration/

Read on to see our take on this week’s fishing, and check out the links below to stay current on area forecasts and flows.

Stay tuned as we report each week on hatches, flows, weather, and more. For the most up to date info stop by the shop, give us a call, or drop us a line.

West Yellowstone Forecast

MT Streamflows

ID Streamflows


Henry’s Fork

If you have been lucky enough to fish the Henry’s Fork over the past week you know it doesn’t get much better than the dry fly fishing we have seen there. Green Drakes, Gray Drakes, Flavs, PMD’s, Caddis, and Golden Stoneflies have brought an epic number of fish to the surface on the lower river.

The Green Drake hatches on the lower river have been especially prolific, and fish have fed especially hard on the big, clumsy duns and emergers.

Green Drakes are also rolling up in the caldera from Wood Road through the Ranch to Last Chance. With warm weather in the forecast, look for Brown Drakes to make an appearance in the evenings this week as well.

Warm River to Ashton has seen more sparse hatches of Green Drakes. Though, the fishing remains consistent, as always, with nymphs and a few Golden Stones.

Golden Stones are also producing some fun fishing in the Box Canyon, both with dry flies and nymph imitations. Flows in the Box have been steady around 700cfs, but they were bumped slightly yesterday to 775cfs to maintain Island Park Reservoir level at full pond until water is needed for irrigation demand downstream.

Yellowstone National Park

Yep, you guessed it; the Firehole, Madison, and Gibbon Rivers are all still the best bets for fishing in the Park. As the weather gets nicer this week, you can expect to see the best dry fly fishing in the mornings and evenings with rusty and olive spinners, and caddis.

This will also be a good week to check out Yellowstone Lake. Warmer weather may produce some calm mornings, and the first Callibaetis Spinner falls of the season. If the bugs don’t materialize and fish aren’t rising, try stripping black leeches from the shore around places like Gull Point for cruising Cutthroats.

Madison River

We’ve been waiting patiently, and it’s finally go time on the Madison. With snowpack dwindling in the Madison Range, runoff is nearly complete, and the river is in prime shape for Salmonflies. The big bugs have been spotted in fair numbers throughout the lower valley. With warmer weather in the forecast, we expect to see them pop and begin making their way upstream over the next few days.

In addition to stoneflies look for caddis to provide some good dry fly fishing as the water warms this week too.

Hebgen Lake

Unsettled weather has yielded some unreliable fishing on Hebgen over the last week. Cool weather disrupted the daily routine of Chironomid emergences, and daily storms made the lake an inhospitable place to fish. Change is coming, though. And, the red hot Chironomid action should return as soon as conditions warm back up. In the meantime stick to stripped leeches and buggers, and keep experimenting with depths until you find where they’re hanging out.