We started out with a very good snowpack in January and it has dwindled down to 70% and still dwindling. The spring has been warmer, drier and earlier than normal. Hopefully we can get some moisture in the weeks ahead to help catch back up. The good news is that the storage in the reservoirs is almost 100% which means there should be adequate water this season but if things don’t change, we’ll go into the winter with empty reservoirs.
The good news about all of this is that the fishing has been fantastic. I went to the Eastern Idaho Fly Tying Expo on Saturday. This year I didn’t do any seminars, programs or fly tying. I took a year off so I could see and visit with old friends. One friend who exhibited was artist and sculptor, Dave Allred. In our early years we stocked a lot of his fine sculpture in our store. He dropped out of the game for personal reasons for a while but we’re excited that he’s back and better than ever. We’re also excited that we will again have his work available for sale in our shop. The downside of taking the time to visit the Expo is that I missed getting out on the river. The Mother’s Day Caddis is going full bore. If you’ve never fished this fantastic hatch, this is the year!
Upper Henry’s Fork
The section from the confluence of Henry’s Lake Outlet below Big Springs downstream to Highway 20 at Mack’s Inn has been fishing well with nymphs as well as some midge action on top. The snow is almost all gone in this section. It is definitely worth checking out. Look for BWOs and midges on the surface. Streamers and nymphs will also score in the deeper runs.
This section has been very productive the past few weeks with nymphs and streamers, but there are also fish eating Baetis and Midges on top. The best BWO activity occurs during cloudy weather. If the forecast is right it will happen later in the week. I’m sure it will happen because I’m planning on going turkey hunting and it always rains or snows when I go turkey hunting. The flies I would have at your disposal are, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Cocktail Nymphs, Bruised Baetis, Tungsten Zebra Midges (Rust, Olive), Mike’s Inverted Matuka, BH Mini Leech, Viz-A-Dun BWO and a Griffiths Gnat.
Last Chance / Harriman Park
The water from the boundary of the Harriman Park downstream to Pinehaven is closed to fishing until June 15, 2014. Keep an eye on the weather and if it is not too cold you can find great dry fly fishing. Not many people are fishing the last Chance area stretch to the log jam, but on cloudy days bring your favorite midge pattern and don’t be surprised if there are some Baetis on the water also.
Wood Road #16 – Pinehaven
Fishing is closed from the south boundary of the Harriman East State Park downstream to Riverside Campground until the opening of general fishing season on May 23, 2015.
Access to the Henry’s Fork canyon from Riverside downstream to the confluence at Warm River is not available unless you have a snowmobile. Even then, hiking down to the water in deep snow is very hazardous and not recommended. There is a good snowmobile trail from Bear Gulch up to Mesa Falls that provides awesome winter scenery and is worth the trip even if you don’t fish.
Warm River to Ashton
We have been receiving great reports of Caddis coming off below the confluence of Warm River downstream to the boat ramp. Use size 16 Olive E-Z Caddis with an Olive Partridge Caddis Emerger. Nymphs have been working the best in the deep pockets and cuts. Just upstream from the HWY 20 bridge there have been a lot of happy trout fishing eating Midges and Baetis on top. Flies I would have, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Zebra Midges, Tungsten Baetis and Tungsten Electric Caddis for nymphs, for dries Thorax Baetis, Viz-a- Dun BWO and Griffiths Gnat. Don’t forget to swing small leeches and streamers on cloudy days.
Ashton Dam to St Anthony
The tailwater section from the Ashton Dam downstream to the Vernon Bridge is closed for fishing until May 23, 2015. All boat ramps are open below Vernon Bridge. We have enjoyed very good dry fly action on the flats and slicks between Vernon Bridge and the Fun Farm back water. Massive caddisfly hatches have been coming off in this section along with some good Baetis action. Fishing has been very good with nymphs, streamers and dries. Nymph the deep slots with Pat’s Rubber Legs, Egg Patterns, Tungsten Zebra Midges and the Tungsten Micro May.
St Anthony to Confluence
The water in St. Anthony is open and is providing good nymph and streamer fishing. The water is often off-color due to runoff coming in from Fall River. If the weather cools down the water will clear up enough to provide good fishing.
Henry’s Fork Tributaries
Fall River has started to see the beginnings of runoff with the warm days that we have been having this past week. Don’t write this freestone river off as it can be very productive this time of year before the runoff. Nymph the deep pockets with rubber legs, zebra midges and pheasant tails. Swinging small leech patterns can also be effective. Warm River above the HWY 47 Bridge can be very good for dry fly fishing on those cloudy days. There is a short section from the bridge downstream to the posted boundary near the Parker Cabin that is closed year around. Fishing the Buffalo River near Pond’s Lodge can be another option.
The fishing season on the Madison is a little complex so we highly recommend you check carefully with the Montana fishing regulations for more detailed information. The section from Hebgen Lake Dam to Quake Lake is open year round. The stretch from the Quake Lake Outlet to McAtee Bridge is closed to fishing from March 1 until the third Saturday in May. The Madison is open to fishing year round from McAtee Bridge downstream to the Ennis Bridge. The fishing season is closed to fishing from March 1 until the third Saturday in May from the Ennis Bridge downstream to Ennis Lake. Fishing can be very good in this section between the lakes. We like zebra nymphs, Tungsten Pheasant Tail, Skinny Nelson and a variety of other small bead head nymphs. You can also find success by swinging a stream through the deeper runs. This water can be very crowded, especially on weekends.
Unless you like to fish through the ice wait until the ice goes out in late April or May.
South Fork of the Snake
There are a number of very good options on the South Fork during the early spring months. For wading anglers we recommend you concentrate your efforts near the Heise Bridge or downstream at Twin Bridges. The upper river is also good from the Palisades Dam downstream to the Spring Creek Bridge above the South Fork Lodge. Access can be difficult but if you can find good water you’re likely to find good fishing with nymphs or streamers. Midge fishing can also be very productive. Best fishing occurs on mild overcast days.
As long as the water is not too dirty the Upper Teton has been fishing well. There have been good hatches of BWOs. However, some of the tributary streams from the Teton Range have been putting enough dirty water into this spring creek to make water clarity an issue. From the old dam downstream the Teton has been producing some very large trout on streamers. On the right day you might also find them feeding on the surface when Baetis mayflies are on the water.
Yellowstone National Park- CLOSED UNTIL MAY 23, 2015