If it is right, it happens. The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away. ~ John Steinbeck
Heavy flows have kept the fishing on the upper river interesting. It pays to move around in the water to find exceptional trout feeding. Take your time and scan any and all likely holding water, you'll be surprised what you find if you cover the deeper water wading as opposed to viewing everything from dry ground. The recent cold snap really cooled things down and should help intensify hatches over the next week before things heat right back up. The Box at current flows is an awesome option if your bound by time, you can blow through the canyon section in a short amount time, catching hot rainbows along the way. The lower river is starting to slow down, but still worth a look early and later in the day, and when the weather turns a tad funky. Here's a detailed breakdown of what's happening from section to section.
BOX CANYON: After holding steady around 1,700cfs, they have finally dropped the flows to below 1600. The water's still seriously trucking right now, so use added caution and slow it down. Nymphing is best with small heavy bead head nymphs representing caddis, pmd and flav imitations. Streamers are a safe bet too, make sure to get them down deep with erratic and evasive action. If enough golden stoneflies hit the water, watch out! This can offer an angler some great and sporty fishing with bigger dry flies getting smashed in fast water by robust rainbows.
RANCH SECTION: The less than desirable flows coupled with consistently strong wind has raised the level of difficulty on this famed stretch of water. Fishing through the wind requires patience and dedication. Rising fish have been few and far between. The dedicated should look for those areas of acceptable depth for the fish to look up that will collect bugs. Pay particular attention to the banks. Pmd's, flavs, caddis and a wide array of different spinners in both size and color. Small ants and beetles. The green drakes are all but over, but you may see a rouge emergence and these patterns may still trick a fish or two on initial drifts. Watch for hoppers to start to play a more important role in the trout diet. Move around and cover water slowly to locate targets. The ranch section has been fickle this year, but there are still good fish to play around with.
RIVERSIDE DOWN TO ASHTON DAM: Dry dropper is the way to go here. On top, try cicadas, golden stones or even a small hopper. Down under, hang a heavy bead head like a PT, zebra midge or caddis pupa. Mix things up regularly for consistent action. Mornings, evenings and cloudier days demand the streamer game and the large alpha trout that swim these waters are suckers for the well presented big fly. Watch for solid dry fly opportunities during pmd and caddis activity. This reach offers float anglers some of the sportiest water on the Fork and always worth a look.
LOWER RIVER: The water is warming up down here. This means slower fishing and weed choked river sections. If ya do go, try big dries fished tight to structure, as well as streamers pulled through the same arenas. This one will pay off in quality, not quantity. Play these trout fast with a quick release to ensure a healthy future fishery.
THE MADISON: The salmonfly hatch has moved in to the upper stretch with golden stones bringing up the rear. Cover all likely holding water to entice these over zealous trout. Drop a rubber leg or heavy bead head nymph to clean up after prospecting solo with the big dry. Good pmd hatches are turning heads and the evening caddis is about as fun as it gets with the long rod. During the cloudy hours, rope up to big nasty articulated streamer and hunt the trophy caliber trout that call this river home.
LAKES: Hebgen is the top choice as far as stillwater options go. Strong callibaetis hatches are bringing great fish to the surface and adding a dropper can be a dangerously deadly approach. Hoppers, beetles and ants will always bring a fat trout up and stripping leeches and stillwater nymphs will take fish during off hatch lulls. Quake is warming up and Henry's is still a little fickle but worth a look around the inlets and springs.
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK: The Northwest corner of the park has been a solid option for those in search of good surface activity as fish enjoy a diet of Green Drakes and PMD's. Get to the gates early to avoid the wildlife inspired traffic jams. The Yellowstone river will be opening July 15th, look for news on this next week.
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