It's been a wild weather week here on the caldera. Started out sunny and warm with highs near 80, and it's currently 40 degrees and raining at high noon. It does NOT feel like July out there, but it looks like we should get back to normal later this week and that summer is finally going to arrive. We're all kind of ready for wet-wading season to kick in. Fishing has been solid throughout the system with good to spectacular hatches depending on the day and section. Nasty weather Sunday brought us an incredible Green Drake emergence about 4pm out behind the lodge; it was one of those hatches that only comes along every so often. It's been several years since I've seen seasoned guides and staff staring at the river in awe like yesterday afternoon. The crowds have thinned out a bit throughout the whole river as other watersheds are dropping and clearing up.
The wet weather, while chilly, has been great for area reservoirs and flows. Here is statement from Jamie at The Henry's Fork Foundation regarding future outflow from IP Reservoir: "Without the current rain, draft of Island Park Reservoir to meet irrigation demand would have been needed tomorrow (and had already been pushed back to this week thanks to previous rain), but current rain will hold off that need until this weekend or early next week. Once again we're seeing the power of some well-timed spring and summer rains to take good or bad snowpack and base flows and make a big difference. With rain expected to continue through Wednesday, the reservoir will reach full pool again in the next day or two, at which time outflow will be increased again to match inflow and hold the reservoir at full pool until draft is needed." Also, if you've been around the last week or so, you probably noticed some dirty water on the upper end and through Harriman. Island Park Reservoir was turning over (odd for this time of year) causing the turbidity, so we're all good; things have cleaned up the last day or two.
Box Canyon: The Box is fishing very well. We've had some excellent days with Golden Stones when the sun's out. Keep an eye out for Green and Grey Drakes, particularly on the lower end just above the takeout. As always, a variety of small beadheads -- PT's, Perdigon Nymphs, Hot Spots, Zebra Midges, etc -- will do the trick in tandem or dropped behind a small Rubberleg Stone (coffee and gold has been a good choice) or a Golden Stone dry. A couple of the shop staff did a "Streamer Run" the other evening and did very well with Box Canyon Bunnies, Meat Whistles, Tips Up, etc.
Ashton Area: Grey Drakes have been buzzing on the lower river especially around the Chester and Fun Farm Backwaters. The fishing is still good Warm River to Ashton, Ora to Chester, and below Chester. Golden Stones have been quite productive, and there are still a few Green Drakes around as well as Flavs and PMDs and Caddis. Morning and evening spinnerfalls have been solid. Don't be afraid to drop a small beadhead off of the Golden Stone if necessary. The crowds have thinned out quite a bit down low, but don't expect to have the water all to yourself. We will start keeping an eye on water temperatures below Ashton in the coming weeks as summer really kicks into gear.
Madison River: Flows at Kirby are around 1200 cfs and crystal clear. It's always a treat when "The Maddy" is clear for the Big Bugs (Salmonflies) which are around McAtee Bridge in decent numbers. We should really see them explode later this week when the temperatures warm back into the upper 70s. There are Caddis and PMDs around, and have a steady supply of standard beadheads on hand.
Yellowstone Park: Sorry to sound like a broken record, but it's still primarily a Gardner, Madison, and Gibbon affair. The Firehole will be a day to day option depending on water temperatures in the coming days. Have PMDs and Caddis in all stages and general attractor patterns. The Northeast Corner and Gallatin River are shaping up and not too far out; they're fishable but high and cold. The Yellowstone River from Chittenden to Fishing Bridge opens July 15th. Fishing the Yellowstone below Chittenden Bridge should start offering up Salmonflies in the near future. Make sure to carry your bear spray when hiking and fishing in the park and surrounding areas; there have been several attacks and sightings already this year in the Greater Yellowstone area.