"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
The entire Island Park and surrounding area is ablaze with fall colors and the mid September fishing has already proved impressive. Crisp mornings leading into pleasant afternoons make for some of the most comfortable fishing of the year, in mural worthy settings. More frequent storm cycles have without doubt kicked the fishing up a notch and dedicated anglers who tough it out and weather the storms will typically find great angling results. Trout, and the bugs they pursue, prefer the foulest of weather this time of year. An extra layer, gloves and a good rain jacket packed along will pay off big time when the skies turn funky. Winter is imminent, forcing the trout to eat double time to prepare for the colder months ahead. The brown trout are particularly frisky as their fall spawning ritual approaches making for some of the hardest most visual streamer attacks of the season. Few things are more exhilarating for a fly angler than trout hunting in the low clear waters of fall. The color explosion of big well fed September trout against a dazzling backdrop is hard to beat. Get here now to experience the worlds greatest fishery in all of its late season glory.
Here's what's going on in and around Henry's Fork country:
BOX CANYON: 175cfs! WHOA! That's skinny! Plan to bang a few rocks if you choose to float the hard boat. It's a great flow if you plan to walk wade. The lower flows will group the trout into deeper comfort water and in slots between those stout box canyon boulders. Fish small #16-#22 bead head patterns in red, olive, brown and black. A smaller black rubber leg with a darker leech pattern behind will get attention. Quick accurate streamer retrieves will move some beastly trout for sure. As always, on the lower end, keep your eyes peeled for trout rising to baetis, mahoganies and midge patterns.
THE RANCH: It's skinny and weedy out there, but the fish are feeding in true fall fashion. Strong baetis, mahogany and even a few leftover tricos are keeping the trout looking up. The terrestrial option is dwindling, but still a confident approach on warmer afternoons with a little wind. The crowds are thinning out, making this a great time of year to re-visit some of your favorite Harriman haunts with little to no competition. Play those fish fast and try to keep 'em out of the weeds.
WARM RIVER TO ASHTON: The fishing down here has been great all season and there's no sign of anything slowing down. The lower flows really show the great definition and trout holding lies this reach has to offer. Hopper dropper rigs are top producers, but streamers are beginning to play a more paramount role as the big browns are getting hangry, mean and territorial. Watch for trout sipping baetis in the slower scum lines and eddys.
LOWER RIVER: The flows from Ashton reservoir are down to +/- 750cfs. The lower river sections are really starting to fire up. Good baetis and midge hatches are once again making the dry fly hunt and stalk game a workable approach. The trout are responding to well presented streamer patterns with ferocious and violent enthusiasm. Hopper dropper rigs and short leash nymph set ups are turning plenty of trout and a leech pattern fished as deep as possible might rightly get stuck to a large fishes face.
HENRY'S LAKE: Cooler temperatures and receding weed obstacles have made this great lake a solid option for a days fishing. Leeches, buggers, scuds and even larger streamer patterns retrieved at varied speeds will entice these obese fish. Chironomids and other small bead head flies dropped under a high floating dry or indicator can be highly productive at times. Stripping a mouse over a hole in the weeds just might trigger a big boy in for the kill. This one will only get better as we move deeper in to the fall season.
THE MADISON: Nymphing is the way to go, but the dry fly fishing is starting to warm back up. Carry a good selection of baetis and midge life cycle patterns and you'll do fine. Hammer the banks and deep slots with big articulated streamers, those big Madison trout rarely shy away from a well placed big meal. Fall on the Madison is absolutely beautiful!
YNP: The Hebgen browns are moving up into the Madison and throngs of Rainbows and fisherman are hot on their tails. Get there early for some fantastic fishing and to avoid the crowds. Further in the park the Madison and Firehole are offering good BWO fishing. The NE corner is still fishing well, but plan accordingly, as heavy rains can turn the Lamar and Soda Butte creek muddy and un-fishable for a spell. The Yellowstone is still worth a look on warmer days. Bring your terrestrials.
Come on up and let the TroutHunter shop staff pick out some flies and point you toward some great fall fishing then stop back in for a bite to eat and a tasty beverage. See ya soon!