Summer is here and things are starting to settle into a normal rhythm. Flows region-wide are on the drop and clearing for the most part. The crowds are here en masse as the park service opened the South Loop in Yellowstone last Wednesday, and it looks like most of the North Loop will re-open in the coming weeks. There is no timetable for opening Mammoth to Gardiner to Paradise Valley, but it’s going to be a while before they can get the road repaired. Future weather forecast looks bright, breezy, and warm and flows from IP should hold around the 600 mark for the next few days or so before drafting begins.
Box Canyon (approx 600 cfs): As mentioned, flows should stay around 600 for the next little bit and then look for daily incremental bumps of about 100 cfs to the 1200-1500 cfs range. The Box has been hot and cold this past week, but when it’s on, look for Golden Stones, Caddis, and a few Green Drakes on the surface and the usual run of Rubberlegs and bead heads down deep: Perdigons, Zebra Midges, Caddis Pupae, Lightning Bugs, etc. With the warmer weather, start to expect an increase in pleasure boats and tubes. It’s a little skinny in there at 600 cfs, so just look out for sleeper rocks.
Last Chance Area - Harriman State Park: Hasn’t been red hot, but hasn’t been a bust either. There have been some solid morning and evening spinner falls as well as Caddis and PMDs. We are finally starting to see more and more Green Drakes showing up particularly mid to lower Ranch right now. We just have not seen the full river explosion yet, but it should happen with this warming trend and hopefully Brown Drakes and Flavs will follow suit. There have been a few Brown Drakes spotted on the lower end of Harriman. The river is crowded but manageable especially if you want to take a walk. Have your Ant and Beetle box stocked and ready; it’s been very terrestrial-ish this week with some funky beetles and still some large Carpenter Ants around. Mosquitoes are out, too, so don’t pull a Campbell and forget to lather up the bug dope; I got wrecked the other night at Millionaires.
Slide Area - Warm River to Ashton: Status quo through here as the usual dry-dropper rigs are paying dividends. We’ve had a few guides landing some quality brown trout on Streamers even on bright days, so there’s that. Look for Golden Stones, Caddis, PMDs, Green Drakes, Flavs, and Ants and Beetles. Warm River to Ashton is a great bet if you have beginners or anglers who aren’t trout size specific.
Below Ashton (approx 1650 cfs @ Ashton, 1750 in St Anthony): En fuego! The Lower River is fishing very well right now, and the crowds show it. There have been excellent spinner falls early followed by PMDs, some Green Drakes, Flavs, and Golden Stones; then evening Caddis, Rusty Spinners, and Gray Drakes in the backwater areas. Get those dry flies in tight to the banks, real tight. A Golden Stone dry-dropper rig is a good bet you’re just prospecting and floating. Have your Ants and Beetles. Again, just be prepared for crowded conditions; have your “patience box” ready as well.
Henry’s Lake: Things have slowed considerably on Henry’s as fish are moving to deeper and cooler water. Best bets will be around springs and creek mouths. Have your usual menu of Chironomids, Leeches, Scuds, Renegades, Mighty Mouse, Damsels, etc.
Madison River (825 cfs @ Hebgen, 1410 @ Kirby): The Maddy has dropped considerably the last few days and is starting to shape up – she’s a bit green. I’ve had a bit of intel that there are some Salmonflies starting to show on the lower end toward Ennis, and that the wade stretch has been fishing pretty well with Rubberlegs and bead head droppers. Caddis and PMDs should get cranking up soon.
Yellowstone National Park: The South Loop opened on Wednesday and the Park Service is hoping to open the North Loop in the next couple of weeks. The Madison, Gibbon, and Firehole will be your best options – look for Caddis and PMDs. The park’s stillwaters are a good bet right now as well. The upper Yellowstone opens July 1st this year. Expect high, clear, cold water. Whitefish Ed took a spin in the park yesterday, said the west side of the park looks good, but that Yellowstone Lake is as full as he’s seen it, and the upper river is very high, and he didn’t see much in the way of bugs. So, it might be a couple of weeks before it starts fishing, but I’ll have some news next week, I’m sure.
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