This will be my last report for a while as I make the transition back to Driggs/Victor and teaching. I'll try to make some appearances here and there but probably won't be able to keep this a weekly thing. It's been fun, and I appreciate all the kind words. Flow out of IP dam is around 1000 cfs. The gauge is reading a bit higher due to aquatic vegetation but should remain consistent the next week or two with only minimal adjustments. Water clarity is excellent throughout the entire system. Here is an interesting read from Rob Van Kirk at the Foundation regarding hatches this summer. And now for the fishing. Things have slowed down around here courtesy of the "Dog Days of Summer". We are still seeing hatches and spinner falls, but the reality is that they are a bit sparser now and the amount of rising fish has become more inconsistent. One day is excellent, the next not so much. I hiked to the bottom of the Islands last week with a couple of friends, and while they found a few rising trout, I ended up just taking the Burkheimer for a long walk. Pretty disappointing to say the least, but hey, it's August, and it was bound to slow down at some point. BUT, with some effort, you can still find fish; we're just not seeing the quantity up and eating that we have all summer. Be prepared for trout to move around on you. Be prepared for trout to switch over to emergers on the lower Ranch. Be prepared for a stealthy approach and long leader tapered down to 5.5x or 6x with the lower water and a summer of high pressure. Be prepared to fish early and late.
Box Canyon: We've had several of the shop staff taking evening spins down the Box running Golden Stones with great success. Hard to believe they're still looking up for the big bugs, but they are (and in good numbers, too). Other than the Golden, it's standard fare running double nymph rigs through the canyon: have small Rubberlegs Stones, PTs, Perdigons, Lightning Bugs, Zebra Midges, Duracells, Crack Backs, etc in #14-20. Make sure to have Caddis, and Rusty and Grey Drake spinners on the bottom end from the cabins to the take out if you're running a float later in the day. Don't expect to have the canyon all to yourself. Right now from the back porch, I can see 18 rigs at the takeout.
Last Chance/Harriman State Park: Tough sledding out there this week for the most part. We still haven't seen many numbers of Honey Ants, but there are a few here and there. It's mostly a Trico, Callibaetis, and PMD game right now with a smattering of Flavs and Grey Drakes still hanging around. There are solid numbers of Caddis around mornings and evenings. We kicked up scores of small Hoppers along Hopper Bank the other morning, so you'll definitely want the Terrestrial box handy. I've still been using a Rusty or Flav spinner #14-16 most mornings and evenings with pretty good success, but as always, have all stages of Mayfly and Caddis patterns with you. After such an amazing Spring and early Summer, it's simply time to temper expectations a bit and keep in mind that this is still some of the most technical water on the planet. Definitely check out the article I mentioned earlier if you're interested in bugs and hatches and biology.
Ashton Area: Repeat here... it's Hopper time off the hill! Warm River to Ashton has been pretty solid with Hopper-dropper set-ups fished tight to the banks or double bead head rigs fished deep. Best to leave the water below Ashton alone for now, but you can find a few fish eating Hoppers. Just please take your time reviving and releasing.
Henry's Lake: It's summertime. Be on the water early. Fish slow and deep around the springs and creek mouths. Leeches, Scuds, Renegades, Mighty Mouse, Damsels, etc will get it done for you. Bobbing Chironomids under an indicator has been a good bet as well. Stick around if a bit of wind chops things up. Ryan had a good afternoon with a client last week when the wind kicked up around Staley Springs, and Tom Watkins had some fun Friday around a couple of creek mouths dragging leeches slow and low. Keep an eye on wind and weather. Some of the afternoon storms have been pretty nasty, and Henry's is no place to play around if storm cells are building up on the Divide.
Madison River/Hebgen Lake: The Maddy is running between 1200 and 1300 cfs and is in great shape. TJ had a few trips up in Montana last week running Hoppers ramp to ramp. Like everywhere right now, fishing will change day to day, and the Madison can be as temperamental as any. Have Terrestrials, PMDs, Caddis, and small attractor patterns. It's standard fare on nymphs and bead heads, and don't be afraid to drop down to sizes #18-20. Hebgen has still been semi-spotty, but with more water coming out of Hebgen and the pool drops, weed beds will start showing with each passing day. We all hope this will really kick off gulper season. Don't get me wrong, there are trout up and tracking, but it just hasn't hit full stride quite yet. Have your Tricos, Callibaetis, and Terrestrials.
Yellowstone Park: Yellowstone River? Check. Northeast Corner? Roger. Upper Gallatin? You betcha. The usual summer haunts are fishing quite well, especially early and late with Terrestrials, Green Drakes, PMDs, and Caddis. Don't forget about the higher lakes and smaller creeks as well. Yellowstone Lake is seeing some Callibaetis fishing, and while it's not quite like Hebgen Lake's gulpers, you can still have a hoot sight fishing for rising trout.
Have a safe and wonderful week out there. The shop is open from 7 am to 8 pm daily. We are still on track for the bar and grill to re-open to the public Thursday the 13th.