Report 7/7/20

Summer has arrived here in Island Park — finally. While the cooler temps and clouds were great for fishing, it’s been nice to see the sun. (We’ll probably be praying for clouds and rain in a week or two). With that said, fishing continues to be very good. To date, hatches have been excellent and much improved over the last year or two. I think we are really starting to see the benefits of good winter flows, and the fish are very healthy and feisty. I had a 16″ rainbow take me well into my backing twice the other night in Millionaire’s Pool. Make sure to check all of your knot connections, especially the ones we tend to forget about and that your backing hasn’t spun and wrapped up on itself.

Flows out of Island Park Reservoir are 850 cfs at this writing plus an additional 100 cfs from the Buffalo. We should start seeing incremental increases over the coming weeks as irrigation demands down in the valley call for more water. We are very hopeful that max outflows will top out at 1200 cfs which is still very fishable. IP reservoir finally turned over and we are seeing crystal clear water throughout the entire system. Weekdays will see less traffic in the area and on the water; 4th of July weekend was pretty crazy around these parts as many folks have decided to hop in the “Family Truckster” and tour the country for a few weeks this summer with overseas travel restrictions in place. The weather pattern for the next week looks warm and sunny and windy in the afternoons. Keep an eye out for isolated afternoon and evening storms, as we’ve had some pretty nasty thunder-bumpers roll through the area. On the flip side, the IP sunsets have been spectacular.

Box Canyon: The Box continues to be consistent. We are seeing excellent numbers of 14-18″ “footballs” being caught with a few 18+” fish thrown into the mix as well. Darby had a 40-fish day with clients last week. Double nymph rigs have been the ticket using a small Rubberleg Stone (#8-10) up front and dropping PT’s, Perdigon Nymphs, MicroMays, Lightning Bugs, etc in sizes 14-20 behind the Stone. Don’t be afraid to fish a tandem small bead rig especially just below the dam. Some of the boys did a “dry or die” run yesterday afternoon and caught several fish on the Golden Stone and saw some Green Drake Spinners on the lower end around the cabins. As always, Streamers early, late, or under clouds can be a hoot and a great way to try to tag into some of the larger resident Box Canyon brutes.

Last Chance/Harriman State Park: At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, “The Ranch” has been awesome! PMDs, Flavs, and Caddis will continue to be the mainstay in hatches, but we are still seeing a smattering of Green Drakes mid-morning and a few Brown Drakes in the slower siltier sections just before dark. While both of these hatches are certainly on the wane, don’t put the Drake box away quite yet. Make sure to have all stages of insects in the arsenal. The morning and evening spinner falls have been outstanding. Seriously. Not lying. I promise. The PMDs are #16-20, Flavs #14-16, and Caddis are varying in sizes and colors from tan to olive to black in #16-20. As temperatures warm, be on the water looking for spinners before 8 am. With the bump in flow last week, we are seeing big fish taking up their usual haunts along the banks sipping spinners. Don’t forget your Ants and Beetles and maybe a small Hopper.

Ashton Area: The lower river below Ashton is starting to slow down a bit with the warmer weather. You can still find fish early and late and mid day on the Golden Stone but don’t look for big numbers of rising fish. Warm River to Ashton will remain consistent in the coming weeks. Have Golden Stones, Caddis, PMDs, and small attractor patterns. Drop a bead off of a Golden if needed.

Henry’s Lake: Still getting good reports out of Henry’s. Be on the water early, and start focusing on creek mouths and springs. Leeches deep and Damsels over weed beds have been good. I prefer to start slow-stripping small flies this time of year. I really like a tandem set up of a small Thin Mint ahead of a small Renegade around the springs. Have PTs, Scuds, and a variety of Chironomids, and other “lakey” type flies in the box, and don’t be afraid to change size and color early and often until you find the right combination and depth; I’ve been hearing 8-12 feet of water.

Madison River: The Big Bugs are out in the upper reaches around Palisades and will continue to move up-river a couple of miles a day with this nice weather. There are some Golden Stones out and excellent hatches of PMDs and Caddis. I’ve always had good luck dropping a Caddis off the back of a Salmonfly or Golden during the main hatch. Have a nice selection of small attractor patterns in sizes 16-18. Flows at Kirby are 1250 cfs, clear, and stable.

Yellowstone Park: More and more YNP water is clearing up and dropping into shape. It’s time to put the Firehole aside until Fall because of high water temps. The upper Gallatin has been good, and we should start seeing Salmonflies, PMDs, Caddis, and Green Drakes. The Northeast Corner is there, but stop in West Yellowstone for an up-to-date report on water conditions on The Lamar and Soda Butte; they’ve been muddy at times due to afternoon storms. Slough Creek is usually more resistant and less temperamental to rain: have PMDs, Caddis, and Drakes on hand, as well as Terrestrials. The flatwater of the upper Yellowstone from Chittenden to Fishing Bridge opens July 15th.

Most systems are in great shape. It’s time to get out and do some exploring and break out the 2 or 3 weight for some “creekin” if you’re looking to get off of the bigger water and away from the crowds. Pull out a map and throw a dart and just go! Make sure you have your bear spray at the ready. There was another attack up in the Centennial Valley last week. Have an awesome week out there. I hope to have continued great news about the fishing in next week’s report.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *