Report 7/20/20

1680 cfs. Yes, 1680. There’s a lot of water moving out back at this writing. We should only have a few days left at this level, and it’s anticipated that this will be max outflow for the remainder of the summer. We should start seeing incremental drops in flow in the next week or so — fingers crossed. Water clarity has been varying from day to day, but has not put off the fishing. The upper reaches of the Henry’s Fork continues to be very good, particularly with the amount of water we’re seeing. Wading is a bit sporty right now in spots, so just take your time and don’t push your wading comfort zone; there are plenty of big fish on the banks throughout Last Chance and Harriman State Park. Don’t forget to check out the Neowise Comet in the Northwest sky just off the Big Dipper starting about 10:30 pm. It has been pretty spectacular to say the least.

Photo: @wildflyproductions w/ Coleson Adams

Box Canyon: “Old Reliable” is still hanging tough! We’ve had several trips running the Box in the last week with clients catching and releasing excellent numbers of trout. It’s mostly a nymph game with small beadheads producing best. Have Perdigons, Crack Backs, Hot Spots, Zebra Midges, etc in #14-20. Mid-Canyon try small Stonefly nymphs with the beadheads off the back. There have been good hatches of Grey Drakes near the bottom end, so be sure to have Grey Drake spinners once you hit the cabins. (REPEAT from last week) Floating the Box is a bit more difficult than usual right now but still very doable if you have experience on the oars. Careful in The Pumphouse Run and just be vigilant. Watch anchoring in heavy current, and in fact, you’re better off pulling over to the bank to land fish or re-rig lost flies.
Last Chance/Harriman State Park: Spinners, spinners, and more spinners. Morning and evening spinnerfalls continue to be excellent most days. Coach Franke had a banner day below Bonefish a couple of mornings ago with five solid hookups in a couple of hours. I’ve been out most mornings or evenings over the last week and have found targets every outing from Last Chance down to the Wood Road. Those Wood Road monsters are as tough as ever, so make sure you’re stocked with PMD emergers if you head down that direction. Hatches have been a bit funky, surprising given the numbers of spinners, but we are seeing PMDs #16-20, lots of Caddis in the evenings in varying sizes and colors, Flavs #14-16, and Callibaetis #14-16 have started. You’ll want Rusty Spinners #14-20, PMD Spinners #16-20, Grey Drake Spinners #12, and Flav Spinners #14-16. Don’t forget your Terrestrial box as well. As I mentioned earlier, make sure to really pay attention to the banks as you’re walking. Those big fish are tough to spot when they’re sipping spinners and will often not move much water. If you happen to land a nice 18″ buck out behind the shop with a #14 Flav Para-Spinner in its mouth, please return to me; it was my last one and broke off right at the net. 🙂
Ashton Area: The warming trend continues to affect the stretches below Ashton. Mornings have been fair to good, but the bite has really dropped off after lunch. It’s getting on “Hopper Time” down in the valley. Please take extra care in reviving fish right now. With the warmer water, you’ll need to spend some time making sure the fish has fully recovered before release. Warm River to Ashton is its usual summer self. Look for Caddis in the evenings and Hoppers and Golden Stones throughout the day. Dry-dropper rigs have been effective up tight to the banks.
Henry’s Lake: Pete and Repeat here. Henry’s is getting a bit tougher now that summer is in swing. Be on the water early around the springs and creek mouths, or off deeper weed beds in 12-14+ feet of water. Fish your flies as slow as possible using the line twist method retrieval. It’s the usual on flies: Leeches, Scuds, Renegades, Damsels, Mighty Mouse, Callibaetis Nymphs, etc.
Madison River: Flows out of Hebgen remain pretty low (975 cfs) for this time of year, but she’s running clear and cool. There have been excellent hatches of Caddis, PMDs, and Flavs. It never hurts to have some Golden Stones with you as well as small attractor patterns. Look for rising fish in the slicks mornings and evenings as the spinners drop and Caddis lay eggs. Hebgen Lake is just getting better and better. The Gulpers are starting to track more consistently eating Callibaetis duns and spinners. Have PTs, Turkey Tails, and other Callibaetis nymph imitations at the ready for the dry-dropper game if necessary.
Yellowstone Park: The Yellowstone River opener has come and gone with its usual fanfare. Several members of the TroutHunter team have made the trek from Last Chance and have come back grinning ear to ear. Green and Grey Drake Spinners were the ticket for most. You will also see PMDs, Caddis, and Golden Stones. Other than the Yellowstone proper, I’d be focusing on the upper Gallatin, Slough Creek, the Lamar, the Gardner, and any other little trickle that tickles your fancy. All of the smaller water in the area is in great shape. YNPS has reported below average visitor entrances thus far, and the guys coming back have said crowds on the water are not bad at all. So there’s that.
Stop in and say hi! If you’re not in the area, keep an eye on the online store. We’ve got new stuff arriving this week (hopefully), and I’ll do my best to try to get some photos of the new hats up as well. Have a great week out there and stay safe.