Greetings from Island Park. Hard to believe it’s already mid-July, and honestly, it’s fishing and feeling like mid-summer. Things have slowed down around here, especially during midday heat. We’ve been getting some afternoon storms which have briefly cooled it down, but afternoon temps are in the upper 80s up here and low 90s down the hill. Long term forecast looks hot and dry with variable chances of afternoon storms. Flow out of IP Reservoir is hovering around 1500 cfs and will hopefully remain at that mark and not increase much more. The main issue with summer draft right now is turbidity and not flow; it’s fairly dirty coming out of the tube and unfortunately will probably remain so. BUT… we are scratching out some fish even as conditions are starting to get tough.
Short and sweet this week…
Box Canyon (approx 1500 cfs): Another mixed bag of reports from the old Box Canyon. There are Golden Stones throughout and Gray Drake Spinners on the lower end.
Down deep is usual fare. Have your Rubberlegs and standard beads: Zebra Midges, Crackbacks, Perdigons and other tactical jig nymphs, Copper Johns, Lightning Bugs, etc. Don’t be afraid of the high cloudy water, but be careful rowing at these flows if you’re unfamiliar with the water.
Last Chance - Harriman State Park: One word. Funky. With the increase in flows and turbidity, The Ranch has slowed down considerably this week. That said, folks are finding windows of rising fish, but it’s just been crazy spotty. Word from yesterday was mid-Ranch was excellent from 2-5. Yep, 2-5. Just when it shouldn’t be all that great. That’s the way it’s rolling right now. I’ve been finding some fish after work just before dark on the banks eating Flav and Gray Drake Spinners. Have PMDs #16-20, Flavs #14-16, Caddis #16-20, Rusty Spinners #14-20, and Ants and Beetles (should start seeing some Hoppers soon). There are still a few Brown and Green Drakes around surprisingly, so have a couple in your box just in case, but that window is closing. It’s transition time, so be on the lookout for Tricos and Callibaetis and Honey Ants in the near future. At these flows, I can’t stress enough how important it is to slowly walk the banks, especially in spots with minimal foot traffic or you’re the first one through an area. It’s Banker’s Hours big time.
Edit: Yesterday (Sunday) we had some cloud cover all day, and fishing in The Ranch was “excellent”, “best day of the summer” material. So there’s that.
Slide - Warm River to Ashton: A solid bet right now. Golden Stones, Terrestrials, small attractor patterns. The dry-dropper game has been pretty solid. Guides are moving some nice fish on streamers as well.
Below Ashton (approx 2200 cfs @ Ashton, 1100 in St Anthony): It’s really starting to slow down off the hill due to high water temperatures. It’s just not the best option right now more for the fish than the fisherman. Mornings and evenings are your best bets if you must. Please take care to rest and revive and release.
Henry’s Lake: Meh. As always this time of the year, look to the creeks and springs. Balance Leeches, Renegades, Scuds, Damsels, etc slow-stripped deep or bob Chironomids under an indicator.
Madison River (975 cfs @ Hebgen, 1240 @ Kirby): Salmonflies are working their way through Raynolds Pass and between the lakes. Look for GoldenStones, Caddis, PMDs, and Epeorus (kind of like a Flav). Excellent reports continue to roll in from guides and anglers. Expect high traffic and crowds.
Yellowstone National Park: The upper Yellowstone has dropped and is fishing pretty well – look for Stoneflies, PMDs, and Drakes. The upper Gallatin is a great bet right now as well. Same bugs. The West side of the park is not your best option due to warmer water temperatures, but you can certainly try the Madison and Gibbon early. Look for PMDs and Caddis and maybe a hopper or two. Don’t forget about Yellowstone Lake and other backcountry lakes as well as the multitude of small creeks, trickles, puddles, and ponds in the park. Make sure to have bug dope; it’s horsefly time. Mammoth to Gardiner and the Northeast Entrance remain closed.
Here’s a link to Idaho Teacup Reservoir Levels if you’re interested.
Stop in and say hello. We’re here from 7am to 8pm. Have a wonderful week. I hope to have a bit more of an uplifting report next week. :)