Report 7/27/20

From Jamie at HFF: “Outflow from Island Park Dam is being decreased this morning (7/27) in two, ~100 cfs increments to a new estimated outflow of ~1,150 cfs. The stream gage is still reading a bit high due to aquatic vegetation in the stream channel.
Outflow will likely be reduced further this week as irrigation demand drops. The reservoir is 76% full, compared with 73% full on average. The upper Snake Reservoir system is 80% full, compared with 68% full on average.”
So that’s good news for us, as it will certainly make wading and getting around much easier. I don’t think it hurts anyone’s feelings around here if we stay in the 1000 cfs range for a bit. Let’s hope it helps with water quality as well. Things have still been a bit turbid coming out of the dam. The dry fly fishing continues to be quite good most mornings and evenings with solid spinner falls of Grey Drakes, Flavs, PMDs, Tricos, and Callibaetis, as well as great Caddis hatches. We had a good laugh at a friend who I’ll just call “Jeff Roberts” trying to play the system. He was fishing the upper Ranch one morning below the Log Jam and the spinners petered out on him, so he decided to get in his rig and drive to Millionaires to catch the leftovers drifting down river. Needless to say… the bugs were mush by then and no fish up. Good thought, poor ending.
Box Canyon: The Box is still fishing well and is a great bet during the afternoon when the dry fly fishing turns off on the flat water. Trout are still eating the occasional Golden Stone on top and you definitely want to have your spinners handy on the bottom end just above the take out. Small bead heads like PT’s, MicroMays, French Jigs, Zebra Midges, Crack Backs, and Hot Spots continue to be the most productive nymphs if you’re looking for numbers. We’re supposed to get a bit of weather the next couple of days, so have the streamer rod at the ready loaded with Zonkers, Gaff’s Box Canyon Bunny, Peanut Envy, etc. Floating should be much easier with the water drop, but don’t take it for granted and stay vigilant on the oars.
Last Chance/Harriman State Park: I feel like I’m starting to sound like a “Homer” here, but the Ranch continues to be solid even when flows were pushing 1800 cfs. We’ve been finding excellent fish throughout the Ranch up and eating spinners, Caddis, PMDs, Callibaetis, Tricos, and Ants and Beetles. The Howry boys had a couple of excellent mornings walking in from the Mailbox finding fish on Callibaetis spinners until mid day. I’m not going to say every morning and evening has been “awesome”, but it’s certainly worth a look at your favorite spots top to bottom. Even a fish or two in the Ranch is nothing to be disappointed with. We haven’t seen much in the way Honey Ants quite yet, but it’s an any-day-now proposition, so make sure your terrestrial box is loaded and ready. Weekday crowds have been minimal, and there’s plenty of open water; no need to crowd fellow anglers out there. Oh, the stories…
Ashton Area: Warm River to Ashton is your best bet off of the hill. A Golden Stone or Hopper with small bead heads dropped off of the back or a tandem rig of Stonefly/bead head has been most productive. There are still PMDs and Caddis around. This is another good spot to try a streamer in search of the bigger fish in this section. Below Ashton is really best left alone until the weather and water temps cool in the Fall. If you really must, try to fish early in the day and take care in reviving landed fish.
Henry’s Lake: Pete and Re-Repeat here. Henry’s is a bit tougher now that summer is in full swing. Be on the water early around the springs and creek mouths, or off deeper weed beds in 12+ 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/Hebgen Lake: Flows around Kirby remain around 1200 cfs. The fishing has been a bit tougher the past week or so with the heat and bright sun, but there are fish to be had with some hard work. Caddis remain strong and Epeorus (like a Flav) have shown in decent numbers as well. Smaller bead heads (much like the ones used in the Box) will be your best bet mid-day. We’ve gotten some good reports on the Hebgen Lake Gulpers. Tricos and Callibaetis in all stages will do the trick if you find fish tracking; never hurts to have some larger Caddis and Terrestrials as well. I’m hoping to get over there on my next days off for some fun and a first-hand report.
Yellowstone Park: Park waters are in great shape and, as always, check in West Yellowstone before a trip up to Soda Butte and Lamar for current weather and water conditions. It doesn’t take much rain to blow them out for a day or two. The Yellowstone and Gallatin Rivers have been good to excellent the last week or so. If you’re heading into the park, have an assortment of PMDs, Caddis, Green Drakes, Grey Drakes, Golden Stones, and Terrestrials on hand. Make sure to have bug spray as well; the biting flies are out!
Stop in if you need anything. We’re open daily from 7 am – 8 pm. And for the love of all that’s holy, please drive safely and slow down. We’ve had two fatality accidents in the last week alone. Stay safe and get outside!


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