Speaking for myself I must say that I have been enjoying some of the best Fall fishing of recent memory on the "Railroad Ranch” section of the Henry’s Fork. It all started several weeks ago with the arrival of the Mahogany hatches. I have heard a few knowledgeable Ranch fishermen state that they felt the Mahogany hatch was sub-par this year. I can’t agree with that. I think it has been at the very least a pretty good hatch and it has provided me with several very enjoyable and successful days of fishing over the past few weeks. If I were to say anything negative about the hatch it would be that it may have ended a bit prematurely because of the below average temperatures we have been experiencing over the past week. Now, let’s talk about the baetis hatches. I hate, with a capital H, using this term to describe anything pertaining to fly fishing but I must say that I have found myself in the middle of what could best be described as "Epic” baetis hatches on a number of occasions over the past month. It took the fish a few days to get onto the bugs but when they did they have been all over them like white on rice. Fall baetis fishing is not easy on an old man who at this age struggles mightily to thread 6X tippets through the eye of size #20 to #24 flies but it seems to me that every fish on the "Ranch” is looking for these bugs and I have seen fish from eight inches to twenty plus inches aggressively feeding on these small/tiny insects. Over the years many fishermen have asked me why a large fish would pursue an insect of such minute size and the answer I give them is that it is the sheer numbers of these bugs present on the water that gets the fish’s attention. In addition to the great fall hatches I have been witnessing I must mention that every day that I have been out on the water I have been very encouraged with the numbers of fish I see feeding. With over 80% of capacity in the Island Park Reservoir we should expect very favorable winter flows out of the dam which should help tremendously with winter survival and therefore more and healthier fish for the coming years.
Box Canyon: The "Box” has been fishing fairly well with some nice sized fish being taken up near the dam with streamers. Down through the canyon fishermen are reporting good catches of medium sized fish with small beadhead nymphs and rubber legs. There has been some pretty good dry fly action at the bottom end of the canyon through Last Chance Run courtesy of some very strong baetis hatches.
The Ranch: This section of the Henry’s Fork has been producing some wonderful fishing due to some very strong baetis hatches. There are still a few Mahogany’s around and the fish will take a well presented size #16 or #18 dun imitation. Everyone who has ventured out on the "Ranch” waters over the past few weeks comments on how many fish they are encountering and how strong and healthy the fish are. This bodes well for the future.
Warm River to Ashton: This section of the river has been producing some very nice fishing mainly on streamers and nymphs. There has been a little dry fly action due to some good baetis hatches. You can still fish a dry dropper rig down here on bright sunny days.
Ashton to Saint Anthony and below: This section of the river was producing some big browns on streamers a week or so back but seems to have slowed down lately. Should get back on track any day.
Madison River (Montana): There has been some incredible dry fly fishing going on around Slide Inn, Raynolds Pass and West Fork areas due to some, here is that word again, "Epic” baetis hatches.
Madison River (YNP): There are some nice rainbows and browns making their way into the river from Hebgen Lake right now. Fish early and late to get the really big ones.
Firehole River (YNP): Great baetis and white miller hatches going on producing some fine dry fly and soft hackle fishing.
We have some great sales going on in the flyshop and the lodge and bar & grill close on Monday the 23rd. If you can make it down in the meantime, I highly recommend it!