Hi all! This will be my last full report for the summer as I’m taking a couple of weeks of play time before I head back to the classroom. Thanks for all of your positive feedback and comments; it is much appreciated, and I truly enjoy writing up the reports. I'll try to give some updates over the rest of the summer and fall.
We’ve had quite the change in weather and water since the last report. We’ve had some decent rain and much cooler temperatures last week, and the short term forecast looks pretty decent in terms of afternoon temperatures -- upper 70’s and low 80’s is just fine with us. We are still under a burn ban here in Fremont County, and much of Montana and all of Yellowstone remain under “Hoot Owl” restrictions (reel ‘em up after 2pm) despite the wet and cooler weather. Many of the regional rivers are extremely low for this time of year, so I don’t see the restrictions being lifted for quite some time. Make sure you check up on Montana if you’re planning to fish that direction as there are some complete closures as well. Please make sure to land fish quickly and revive them before releasing them. Keep ‘em wet!
Here’s the latest from Jamie at the Henry’s Fork Foundation:
-Stream gage still reads high due to aquatic plant growth in the stream channel, which also tempers any change in river height. The reservoir is approximately 47% full, compared with 65% full on average and 32% full in 2016.
-Recent rain has increased natural streamflow, allowing for recent decreases in reservoir outflow, but areas of extreme drought have expanded substantially over the past few weeks, pushing right up to the northern boundary of the Henry’s Fork watershed.
-Daily high water temps are a few degrees cooler than they were two weeks ago, but turbidity remains well above average at Island Park Dam and slightly above average at Pinehaven.
-Please be aware of water temperatures and fish responsibly. To view real-time water temps for reaches of the Henry's Fork and South Fork, visit henrysfork.org/river-conditions.
BOX CANYON (approx 700 cfs): We’ve seen a significant reduction in flow. We were at 500 for a few days after the rains, but they’ve bumped it back up today (Saturday). 700 cfs is getting pretty skinny for non-experienced boaters, but it can be done and this does make walking the boat much easier. Expect flows to stay in this range the next week or two. Golden Stones are all but gone but still worth a shot in the afternoons; the nymph and streamer bite remains pretty solid. It’s the usual fare: Rubberlegs, Worms, Perdigons, Zebra Midges, Quill Nymphs, Two-Bit Hookers, Hot Spots, Copper Johns, etc. Don’t be afraid to throw streamers early or under clouds and rain. We’ve had some good success stripping and dead drifting Zonkers, Peanut Envys, Box Canyon Bunnies, etc. As always, have your techy dry box handy for flat water stretch above the takeout.
LAST CHANCE - HARRIMAN: The dog days of summer are here. It’s been pretty tough sledding the last couple of weeks. The Flavs and PMDs both have been pretty disappointing this summer, and it’s a bit concerning. There were definitely moments, but all in all, the hatches were pretty weak compared to what we saw last year. There are still small PMDs around, but we are now moving into mostly summertime hatches of Callibaetis and Tricos. Make sure to have your spinners stocked up in varying sizes #16-22. Terrestrial fishing has been pretty solid at times, and we are seeing some Honey Ants, so that’s good news. There’s not much more exciting than an ant fall. Have small black Ants as well. The weeds are nasty, so be careful wading and good luck landing fish - haaaa. 700 cfs also makes the flat water game even tougher, so make sure to have 6x and even a spool of 6.5x when you’re working a hatch or spinnerfall.
ASHTON AREA (approx 1250 cfs @ Ashton, approx 1100 cfs @ St Anthony): Warm River to Ashton remains the most consistent section off of the hill. It’s hopper-dropper time. If you’re not getting many fish to rise to the hopper, run your standard double nymph rig under an indicator. Below Ashton is still pretty warm but fishable. There’s not much going on hatch-wise, but the hopper fishing has been okay. You have to get the hopper tight to the banks and way up under the overhanging trees. A few of us floated Ora to Chester the other day when the weather was cool and while we didn’t land many trout, the ones we did manage to fool were all over 20”.
HENRY’S LAKE: Not much to report here. Tom Watkins has been up to Henry’s a few times in the last couple of weeks and hasn’t had a ton of success. There are a few fish being caught, but don’t expect to knock ‘em dead until the weather cools off this fall. The lake is running about 68 degrees. Fish the creek mouths and the springs and deeper water. Standard stuff for flies: Leeches, Damsels, Chironomids, Renegades, Scuds, etc.
MADISON RIVER (approx 1140 cfs @ the dam, 11290 cfs @ Kirby): HOOT OWL RESTRICTIONS in effect. There are still a few Caddis around as well as Epeorus duns and spinners. It’s definitely Terrestrial time particularly from Lyons Bridge down. Definitely have Cinnamon and Red Ants in your quiver. It’s the usual on nymphs: Perdigons, Krystal Dips, PTs, etc.
Gulpers are going on Hebgen Lake. They’re up and eating Tricos, Callibaetis, and Terrestrials.
YELLOWSTONE PARK: HOOT OWL RESTRICTIONS on all moving water in effect. The Gallatin, Yellowstone, and Northeast Corner will remain your best bets in the coming weeks. Go stocked with PMDs, Drakes, Terrestrials and a variety of attractor patterns and foam in varying sizes. The lakes in the park are not on restrictions, so that’s another option for you after 2 pm.
Stop in if you need anything or just to say hello. New inventory is beginning to arrive for Fall. We're open daily from 7 am - 7 pm. Stay safe and get outside. Peace out, party people! See you next summer!
Larry Keel is coming back to TroutHunter on August 21st. Limited tickets available:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/larry-keel-experience...It’s going to be awesome!