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Fishing Report by Justin Waters

Sep 9, 2012 | Mike Lawson

Upper Henry’s Fork

Kokanee Salmon are still moving upstream from the Island Park Reservoir. Large trout are certain to follow. We’ve had good reports from anglers fishing below the confluence with the Henrys lake outlet. Make sure you are below the outlet and not poaching fish above the legal fishing area.

Box Canyon dropped to 425 cfs but and with the cold weather at night and in the morning the streamer fishing has still been quite good. The best fishing has been with a double nymph system with Zebra Nymphs, Hot Wire Prince, and Flashback Tungsten Pheasant Tails. The Hopper / Droppers are still working in the lower sections of the float. As Mike mentioned in the last fishing report, it seems we find a new favorite hopper pattern every year.

Flat Water

The Ranch is still fishing well, but with the change of flows and the cold nights things are a little tricky. We are still having a lot of success out there with Tricos and Calibaties in the morning hours. We are starting to see Mahogany Duns, Midges, and even a few Blue Wing Olive’s recently. During the warmer times of day a lot of our success can be attributed to Hoppers (Dave’s hopper, Morrish Hopper...), Ants (Henry’s Fork Honey Ant, Hudgen’s Honey Ant...), and Beetles (Foam or Deer Hair). As I mentioned the water levels have been dropped quite a bit, so the weed beds have been exposed and fighting those big tough rainbows out of them has been a challenge. My 6 X tippet has been beaten a lot lately due to fish diving in and out of the weeds.

Riverside to Ashton Reservoir

The Canyon below Riverside Campground down to Upper Measa falls is a gorgeous section of river. The fish very rarely get hit down there and some of them surprise you with lightning fast runs. Granted there is not a lot of rod breaking fish down there, I have seen a few this year. We very rarely get reports from this section because it is not that famous spring creek water like the Ranch. I do know that hoppers, Chubby Chernobyl’s, and bead heads have been working. What I am trying to say is for those fishermen trying to get out and “get away from it all” this stretch is a very good option. It has two things that everyone needs now and again, solitude and good fishing. I do not recommend floating this section, it is very technical, and can be reached by the wade fisherman in multiple places if you just pick up the map. This section sees very little traffic and sinks a few boats every year.

Ashton Tailwater

We have continued to see those cool nights and warm days that cools the river enough to make the trip to the lower river well received. I live below the Ashton dam and do not fish it during the hottest months of the year. I do feel obligated to explain myself here. As fisherman, just because we can catch fish when the water temperature gets high, does not mean we should. If you come in the shop and ask me during that time of year, you have probably heard me use the drag you across the street by your neck and dunk your head underwater to catch your breath analogy. That being said, the water temps have dropped and the fishing has picked up. I was down in St. Anthony wading through the channels down there and had a lot of success with hoppers. I was just going for a good walk and chucking hoppers over any deep holes and twitching them out the tail end of the holes. There is still a good amount of weeds going down the river, but not as bad as it has been.

Madison River

We have been having some spotty success on the Madison, the most success has been nymphing the middle of the river, and throwing sculpin patterns with an upstream presentation. You can still get fish with hoppers (remember those thunder thighs) fished in the middle of the stream, and caddis flies in the evening.

South Fork of the Snake

We are still waiting for the magic to really turn on down on the South Fork, but we have been getting them on Mutant Stones (try the Berrett’s Mutant Stone) under the riffles and along the soft banks. We have been still hitting the riffles with nymphs and the streamer fishing is starting to pick up.

Yellowstone Park

Again with the cold nights and the mildly warm days the river levels have cooled to an acceptable temperature. The Park Service has re-opened the Madison, Firehole, and Gibbon rivers to fishing. The reports from the Yellowstone River have been good enough to inspire folks to head out there, and the reports from the Madison inside the park have been decent as well. The Fall River and Bechlar are both fishing very well inside the park, especially if you are willing to hike 4 or 5 miles. With the Bechlar it has never been more true the further from civilization you get, the better the fishing becomes.


The Warm River and the Buffalo both remain a good option for those looking to catch smaller trout on a smaller spring creek. They both created excellent fisheries for the warm months of the summer, and will continue to improve throughout the fall. The Fall River has really shaped up for wading angler looking to get away from crowds and fish a smaller stream with sometimes surprising sized fish. The water level has dropped making the river much easier to access, wade and fish. The Fall river is still one of those streams that does not get a lot of attention from the masses, but for anglers who are in the know, seems to year in and year out provide a nice change in pace from the sometimes to popular tail waters of the west. It is a place for those classic high floating attractors, with a bead head pheasant tail nymph trailing underneath. It seems to fish well all the way from the Henry’s Fork up through Yellowstone.


Henry’s Lake is fishing well, try a double nymph rig or a small streamer like a crystal bugger slowly stripped in from the mouths of the creeks.

Fly fishing at Island Park has been spotty but things are starting to pick up on the north side of the lake near Trude Bay and Grizzly Springs. A good spot can be where the Henry’s Fork dumps into the reservoir, with all the Kokanee running up the river.

Gulper fishing has been starting to slow down on Hebgen Lake. With the colder mornings and nights the hatch of Calibaties has slow down a bit. Although it has slowed down it is still fishing fairly well, and we have been hooking into some large fish. It is possible to catch trout from shore on the north side of the lake but in most cases you’ll need a float tube, pontoon boat or boat. Best action is to us a dry fly that is easy to see like a Parachute Adams with a size 16 Sawyer PT Nymph as a dropper about 8 inches below the fly.