Greetings all! Happy to be back in IP! I hope you all had a wonderful winter. Spring has definitely sprung here on the caldera, and the flowers are really starting to show up. We had a very cool wet Spring, a couple of warm days this week, and another cooling, wet trend for the weekend and early next week. Don’t put the winter sweaters and jackets away quite yet. Short and sweet report out of the gate here as the fishing is really just getting going.
Box Canyon (approx 750 cfs): Outflow will fluctuate based on inflow as IP Reservoir is packed, but flows should remain pretty consistent the next few weeks before irrigation demand downriver is called for. The Box has been solid the last week. We’ve seen Golden Stones around as well as some prolific Caddis hatches. You’ll definitely want to have the big bugs in your flybox. As always, the nymph-bite has been most consistent with standard fare: have Rubberlegs, Worms, PTs, Shop-Vacs, Zebra Midges, Perdigons, Copper Johns, etc. I wouldn’t hesitate to run some streamers as well, especially with the clouds and weather moving in for the next few days.
Last Chance Area: We’re still in a bit of transition behind the shop here. Water temps are still on the cool side, but there have been a few fish up and eating Caddis, the occasional March Brown, and BWO. We’re hoping to start seeing some PMDs up here soon as we’ve seen good emergences and spinner falls at WR16. Hatches are a little behind the last few years’ dates. There are Golden Stones at Riverside and down in the canyon below Mesa Falls. Don’t forget that Harriman State Park doesn’t open for fishing until the 15th – fingers crossed for productive flows and Drakes!
Warm River to Ashton: Tandem nymph rigs have been the best producer, but there are Golden Stones, PMDs, and Caddis. We should start seeing Green Drakes and Flavs soon. You can certainly run dry-dropper rigs as well. Chucking Streamers is always an option on this scenic stretch.
Below Ashton (approx 1700 cfs @ Ashton, 2700 in St Anthony): We are finally starting to see good hatches of PMDs and Caddis, but the dry fly game remains a bit inconsistent. We should begin seeing Green Drakes, Gray Drakes, and Flavs soon, so make sure to stop by the shop and stock up on flies. You can certainly run the dry-dropper game as well. It’s very busy down there; please use common sense when floating and wading, and please take care of fish on release.
Henry’s Lake: After a smoking hot start, Henry’s has slowed a bit, but still worth a visit. Keep an eye on the afternoon storms as things can escalate quickly on the water. Have Leeches, Chironomids, Renegades, Thin Mints, and the usual lake food.
Madison River (524 cfs @ Hebgen, 1220 @ Kirby): She’s pretty mucked up right now, especially below the West Fork river left, but folks are catching some fish with Rubberlegs and droppers, and Streamers.
Yellowstone National Park: Best to focus on the Firehole, Gibbon and Madison. Have PMDs and Caddis. It’s worth fishing Yellowstone’s excellent stillwaters this time of the year. The upper Yellowstone River opens July 1st this year, not the 15th.
From Jamie at HFF:
“With heavier rain than forecast earlier this week and more expected, the need for reservoir draft will be pushed at least until next week. Hopefully. outflow will remain at ~725 cfs through the Ranch opener without any major flow changes, unless rain forecast for Sunday comes in much higher than expected. At current outflow of about 725 cfs, the reservoir will drop over the next three days. However, upcoming rain will increase the reservoir level on Sunday and Monday. The current management strategy for Island Park is to keep outflow about where it is now, which will let the reservoir drop a little during dry periods and fill a little during wet periods. If all goes as planned, these small gains and losses will average out and keep the reservoir within one-half percent of full over the next 7-10 days without any need for outflow changes. Based on current weather forecasts, the most likely deviation from this plan would be a need to increase outflow on Monday if precipitation comes in heavier than expected. There is currently no indication that outflow will need to be decreased any time soon.
If the ideal scenario comes to be, it will have required a lot of luck and no small effort by HFF and partners. We beat the odds as predictions gave us a 50% chance of needing draft by June 6 and last year, draft was needed on June 10. Mean date of first draft is June 23.
More information on the water situation:
- The spring of 2022 is among the coldest in the past three decades. Mean temperature since April 1 is in the bottom 10th percentile of all years since 1989.
- In terms of drought indicators, the one-year accumulated moisture availability (precipitation minus evapotranspiration) has improved from a little over 6 inches below average to less than 4 inches below average just in the past 10 days. So, while still pretty far below average, a 2.5-inch net gain is substantial and represents a short-term improvement in the drought. In the longer term, the three-year average precipitation is still around 11% below average, where it was in early March, indicating persistence of long-term drought.”
One last thing: note that if you plan on attending the annual HFF Days on June 18th, the big tent will be set up near Vernon Bridge and not in its usual spot at the top of the Ranch.
We are open daily 7am - 9pm. Stop by and say hello and check out the new ‘22 gear.