Over the past ten days or so I have not had to leave the area to find good fishing. The fishing right out my backdoor has been excellent courtesy of a consistent/predictable and strong PMD hatch. Why it took so long for the PMD’s to get going no one seems to know. With the arrival of the PMD’s have come very good numbers of nice big Henry’s Fork rainbows. Where these big rainbows were hiding for the first four or five weeks of the season is another mystery. Maybe they were just waiting for the PMD’s to start in earnest. The PMD’s have been called the super hatch of western rivers and this could not have been more apparent than over the past ten days on the Railroad Ranch section of the Henry’s Fork. We are also experiencing a very good trico hatch, there are still a few flav’s around, some callibaetis, lots of caddis and a few ants and hoppers are starting to get on the water. All of this insect activity has caught the attention of the fish thus providing Ranch fishermen with countless opportunities. I don’t have any stories to tell except that you can go out there and find fish that seem impossible to catch. Just the other day four of our guys from the fly shop found a fish that all four took turns trying to catch. They each spent around fifteen minuets working that fish. They changed flies, they changed tippet size and they changed their approach/position and not one of them could get that fish to eat. All the while this guy kept feeding like it was his last chance to eat for the rest of the season. On the other hand, we have had reports of and experienced ourselves, finding good fish feeding aggressively that would take a nicely presented fly with reckless abandon. All and all it has been a great ten days of fishing on the Railroad Ranch.
Box Canyon: The “Box” continues to produce good fishing although over the past week the bigger fish seem to have taken a bit of a vacation. The numbers of fish being caught are still good but the average size of the fish is down a little.
Last Chance Area: The fishing on this section of the river has been nothing less than phenomenal due to excellent PMD and caddis hatches. There are still a few flav’s around, a decent trico presence and the fish are starting to look for hoppers. I have enjoyed some success fishing a Splitsville Rusty Spinner a size #14 for the flav and a size #18 for the PMD. During the PMD hatch I have had better luck using HOH Short Wing Emergers and Last Chance Cripples, Barr’s CDC PMD Emerger and PMD Split Case nymphs. I have not been able to find an adult pattern that interests these fish. I believe they are keyed in on the nymphs, emergers and spinners much more than the adults. My go to caddis pattern is the HOH Fertile Caddis and I like a size #18 Renegade for a trico imitation.
The “Ranch”: I can’t report that fishing in the “Ranch” has been phenomenal but it has been very good compared to what it had been prior to the past ten days. The PMD’s have been hatching all up and down this section of the river providing anglers with ample opportunities to test their skills on fish of all sizes. In addition to the PMD’s there are trico’s, callibaetis, still a few flav’s, caddis and in the past few days black ants, honey ants and hoppers all to be found on this part of the river. In addition to the fly patterns mentioned above I would have some HOH Partridge Callibaetis Spinners, HOH CDC PMD Biot Duns, small black ants, size #16 Honey Ants and a pink bodied M’s Hopper size #12 or #14.
Wood Road 16 / Pinehaven: Pretty much the same report as the “Ranch” section.
Warm River to Ashton: After a slow week of fishing the week before this section of the river picked up quite nicely over the past three or four days. Dry dropper fishing using your favorite Chubby Chernobyl or a Panty Dropper Hopper on top with a Tungsten Jigged Pheasant Tail, Tungsten Sunkist, Tungsten Split Case PMD or BH Silver Lightning Bug underneath should produce plenty of action.
Ora to Chester: There has been some decent fishing on this section of the river with streamers early in the morning and hoppers in the afternoon.
Chester to the Fun Farm and the river below: Bright sunny days and high day time temperatures make this a poor choice for a place to fish.
Other area waters: The Madison (Montana): With water releases no longer coming off the top of the lake water temperatures have stayed down and fishing continues to be solid from the Slide Inn area all the way down to Ennis Lake. Tip of the week for those fishing the Madison. Fish Spruce Moth imitations anywhere there are pine trees along or near the banks.
Hebgen Lake (Montana): The callibaetis have started to hatch with some regularity and in the past couple of days ants are getting on the water and the fish are all over them.
YNP (Yellowstone National Park): Excellent fishing opportunities exist on the Gallatin, Yellowstone, Slough Creek, Lamar and Soda Butte Creek in the park.