Report September 14, 2018

Last post I reported that I left the area not in search of better fishing but cleaner air. This time I must confess that I abandoned the area in search of less demanding fishing. After a day of having my butt handed to me on a silver platter by some very selective, snooty Railroad Ranch rainbows I needed an ego booster. So, I loaded up the old Ford pick up and headed over to the northeast corner of Yellowstone National Park where I fished the Lamar River. I had heard that fishermen were having some good luck fishing the late season drake hatch that occurs every year about this time on the Lamar, Soda Butte and Slough Creek. I am pleased to report that my wife and I did enjoy some nice success over on the Lamar. We caught a number of beautiful Yellowstone Cutthroats, all between 15 and 20 inches, but not on Drake Mackeral imitations. There was a nice hatch of drakes but the fish didn’t seem to pay any attention to them. We caught fish on ants, small hoppers, PMD Sparkle Dun’s and a secret fly that Pennsylvania fly tier Henry Ramsey sends to me. Henry is a great fly pattern innovator and superb fly tier. He does a little CDC Yellow Sally pattern that has become a staple in my fly box. Of course I use it during yellow sally hatches but I also use it as a searching pattern on area waters throughout the summer. And, during the summer and early fall, I never give up on a stubborn fish without putting one of these flies over them. Now, for the rest of the story! I was intently, no, very intently, working a very nice selectively feeding cutty at the tail end of a pool. Suddenly there was a tremendous commotion on the water right at the spot were my fish had been rising. It sounded like someone had dropped a 50 pound cannon ball into the water from twenty feet above me. It took me several seconds to gather my senses and to realize what was happening right before my eyes and only a short cast in front of me. It was an Osprey that had come in from behind me and tried to take that fish I was working. This was the fourth time in the past few years that I have been startled completely out of my wits by a hunting Osprey. I am now convinced that these birds have figured out that where there are fishermen in the water there are fish to be had and they are not afraid to come in for the capture. P.S.! That Osprey was unsuccessful in his attempt but in two of the three previous encounters the offending birds were very successful.
Box Canyon: The “Box” continues to provide anglers with solid fishing. For the most part it’s nymph fishing with small rubber legs (size #10 and #12) and beadhead trailers (size #16 and #18). Or, just a couple of small beadheads dead drifted under your favorite indicator rig. I have had reports of anglers experiencing some success with streamers but overall the streamer fishing could best be described as inconsistent.
Last Chance/Railroad Ranch/Wood Road: I am combining these three sections for this report because I feel that the fishing in all three is similar. We are in what I like to call a period of transition. The summer hatches are either over or quickly winding down and the fall hatches are just starting or are just about to start. This is always a tough time of year for fly shop staff because they can’t simply take visiting fishermen over to the fly bins and suggest one or possibly two patterns to cover their day of fishing. Right now in order to be properly prepared for success on the above mentioned sections of the Henry’s Fork a fisherman should have a few patterns of each of the following: tricos (spinners and adults), callibaetis (spinners and adults), ants (honey and black), beetles (in various sizes), hoppers (flesh and tan colored bodies in sizes #8 thru #12), PMD’s (in sizes #20 & #22), baetis (in sizes #20 thru #24) and mahoganies. At this time of year there are a few of a lot of different insects on the water but not a lot of any one or two insects.
Warm River to Ashton: This section of the Henry’s Fork has produced some very nice fishing for good numbers of small to medium sized rainbows, browns and whitefish. Pick your own poison. Dry flies, nymphs and streamers are all producing good results. At this point in the season I like to fish dry dropper rigs. Try a tan or pink colored M’s Hopper with a Hot Spot Tactical Nymph, tungsten Flashback Pheasant, Silver Lightning Bug or copper Riffle Nymph. I also like to fish double dry fly rigs. Try a purple Chubby or black Ninja Cicada with a black or honey colored TH Zelon Ant as a trailer. I have also had some success dead drifting a tan Zirdle and then slowly stripping the fly back at the end of the drift.
Ora to Chester and Chester to the Fun Farm: These two sections of the river have been producing some very good fishing with hoppers. With shorter days and cooler nights the water temps have dropped and the fish have been active during the afternoons. The streamer fishing is just now starting to pick up.
Other area waters: Madison River (Montana): Fishing on the Madison has been productive with both dry flies and nymphs. Streamers are starting to produce some nice brown trout down below Varney.
Madison River (YNP): Fish are starting to run up into this section of the Madison from Hebgen Lake. I have had reports of fish being caught from the Park boundary all the way up to Madison Junction.
Lamar, Soda Butte and Slough Creek: These northeast corner of YNP fisheries are producing excellent dry fly fishing for some very healthy and incredibly beautiful Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout.