Report 6/07/21

Greeting friends! Here we go again. Summer is in full swing: the rivers are busy, the shop and restaurant are bustling, and we’ve been seeing mid-80 temperatures this week (which is waaaaaaaay too early).

Here’s the newest email from Jamie at The Henry’s Fork Foundation: “Outflow from Island Park Dam is being increased to ~475 cfs this morning. Outflow has been adjusted over the past five days in response to rapidly changing inflow, in order to keep the reservoir full until draft is needed to meet irrigation demand. Keeping the reservoir full is crucial, especially in this drought year, and as we know, benefits water quality and winter flows over and above what we could expect otherwise.

Currently, streamflow in the Henry’s Fork upstream of Chester Dam is essentially equal to its natural flow, low as that may be.

Incremental increases in outflow may be needed this week to meet irrigation demand on the lower Henry’s Fork, but delivery to the Teton River through the Crosscut Canal is 1-2 weeks out. Expect conditions to continue to evolve rapidly over the next week. Things may look pretty reasonable this week, but natural inflow to the reservoir is so low that the reservoir will begin dropping soon.

Regarding drought, the watershed’s remaining snowpack (SWE) today is an average of 4″ across all Sno-Tel sites; what it would normally be on June 18th.”

Snowpack was well below normal last winter, and we’re having a dry Spring like much of the West. I don’t remember it ever being this warm at the beginning of June. It’s usually cool and rainy. The forecast looks a bit better as daytime highs should peak in the low 70’s. Needless to say, we need moisture, but remain optimistic moving forward. It will be imperative this summer to be flexible and willing to adjust as conditions change.

BOX CANYON (approx 500 cfs): The Box is fishing very well, but keep an eye out for rocks with these lower flows if you’re floating. It’s very doable in a hardboat, just pay attention. There are still some Salmonflies around, but we are transitioning to mainly Golden Stones and Caddis. Have your Rubberlegs and a variety of bead heads to fish tandem under an indicator or larger dry fly — try Perdigons, PTs, MicroMays, Caddis Pupae, Zebra Midges, Two-Bits, Copper Johns, etc. Don’t be afraid to mix in some streamers as well, and have your technical dry fly box for the last stretch at the cabins.

LAST CHANCE AREA: I’m staring out the window at windy conditions, but the birds are working like crazy on March Brown Spinners. It really hasn’t been lights out here in Last Chance yet, but we are catching some fish. The trout are in very good shape this year. Chunky. More and more birds are showing up, and as annoying as they are, it’s usually a pretty good indicator that the bugs are coming. We are still seeing some March Brown activity and decent Caddis hatches. There has been a smattering of PMDs around which will only get better in the coming days. Have your Ants and Beetles handy. I should probably have a much better report next go ‘round as the upper river here starts to fire up. Harriman State Park opens to fishing June 15th. Friends of Harriman are celebrating 100 years of the Ranch Bridge and the new bridge on the 15th as well.

ASHTON AREA (approx 1400 cfs @ Ashton, approx 2000 cfs @ St Anthony): Salmonflies have come and gone, but the Golden Stones are in full effect right now. We are seeing excellent PMD and Caddis activity as well as a smattering of Flavs. Still waiting on the Green Drakes, but they should be showing up any day now. The dry-dropper game has been strong when the fish aren’t up consistently. Be prepared for crowds, especially on the weekends.

HENRY’S LAKE: We are getting good reports out of Henry’s. I haven’t been up there yet myself, but the general consensus was opening weekend was pretty solid at the usual spots around The Cliffs, Stayley’s, Targhee, and off of the boat ramps. It’s the usual on flies: Leeches, Scuds, Renegades, Damsels, Mighty Mouse, Callibaetis Nymphs, etc.

MADISON RIVER (1190 cfs @ the dam, 2039 @ Kirby): The Maddy is running a bit off color right now, but don’t let that stop you. River left below the West Fork will be the dirtiest, but it is by no means blown out. In fact, I think it fishes best with some green to it. There are some Caddis around, but you’ll do best fishing dry-dropper rigs with the standard array of Stonefly and Mayfly nymphs, as well as Caddis Pupae.

YELLOWSTONE PARK: Short and sweet here. You’ll be limited to The Firehole, Madison, and Gibbon on the west side of the park. There are Caddis and PMD’s around. Swinging soft hackles can be very productive when the trout aren’t looking up.

Stop in if you need anything or just to say hello. We’re open daily from 7 am – 8 pm. Like I said, next week’s report should be full of hatch information as I anticipate Flavs, Green Drakes, and PMDs to be in full swing on the lower river and working their way up here to the caldera. Stay safe and get outside!