Happy Fourth! Hard to believe it’s already July. Conditions have changed quite a bit since the last report. The river has come up and fishing has slowed down up here in the Last Chance area. It’s been pretty tough sledding the last week or so with pockets of hatches and rising fish. I was out and about yesterday and last night and didn’t find much action, but had a great time catching up with some old friends. There was some decent Green Drake fishing early but was short-lived. The flow came up to about 1500 cfs this past week, as predicted, but has remained steady for a few days, so hopefully it will remain consistent and not get much higher with irrigation demand down the hill. Fingers crossed. The clarity is a bit off with the higher water, but it’s still fishable. In addition, the crowds have really thinned out the last couple of days after seeing record numbers of anglers here on the upper stretch after the Harriman opener.
The weather pattern has been a bit crazy, but we are still getting some afternoon storms most days. It’s not supposed to be quite as hot over the weekend, but could see potential record heat in the near future. It’s getting on that time when fishing is best early and late, leaving the mid-afternoon stretch for some A/C, a cold one, and a nap. Please remember that Fremont County is under a burn ban, so no fireworks of any kind this weekend. Stay safe out there!
LAST CHANCE - HARRIMAN: It’s been a little finicky out there the last few days. For the most part, hatches have been inconsistent, sparse, or short-lived, and the water is high. We are on the tail end of Green Drakes and are waiting for the Flavs and PMDs to really get cranking. I was out Brown Draking a few nights ago, and while there are still some around, it’s about done as well. We are seeing good hatches of Caddis and Yellow Sallies as well as some Grey Drakes; it’s just a matter if the fish are interested or not. Mornings and evenings have been best with decent Flav activity late afternoons, particularly when we have some weather roll through. As always, have those Ants and Beetles handy, and I wouldn’t leave the house without size 14 Rusty Spinners -- if I could only have one fly right now, that’d be it. This is also the time of year to move around if you aren’t finding fish. These flows have the fish dispersed and carefully walking and paying attention can reward you with bank feeders.
ASHTON AREA (approx 2400 cfs @ Ashton, approx 950 cfs @ St Anthony): One bonus to the higher flows is that it’s keeping water temperatures a bit cooler, so the lower river remains an option, especially early and late. There have been good Rusty and Flav spinner falls in the mornings, and we are still running Golden Stones in the afternoons. The dry-dropper game remains good using the standard fare of bead heads and small Rubberlegs. Fishing has been a bit inconsistent on the lower but, again, it’s still fishing for another week or so before water temperatures will shut it down; it’s pushing 68-70 degrees.
HENRY’S LAKE: I had some friends roll up to Henry’s a few days ago, and unfortunately it sounds like it’s getting pretty tough. Word at the boat ramp from other anglers was the same with a few fish caught all day. It’s definitely time to start focusing on the springs and deeper water. I prefer slow stripping smaller flies like Scuds, Damsel Nymphs, Renegades, Thin Mints, and Mighty Mouse this time of the year, but I would definitely have a selection of Leeches as well.
MADISON RIVER (approx 1090 cfs @ the dam, 1350 cfs @ Kirby): Salmonflies are scattered throughout the wade stretch and between the lakes. We’ve had a few boats over there the last week or so, and it’s been a bit spotty in the float stretch from Lyons down. I like running a Golden Stone and Caddis double dry rig this time of the year. There are excellent hatches of Caddis as well as PMDs. A variety of small attactrator patterns should be in the arsenal as well. It’s standard stuff for nymphs and droppers.