It sounds like the Ranch opener was a great success this year. The weather cooperated and from what I hear there were plenty of targets. As a matter of fact I have yet to hear a single rant, grumble or bitch regarding the fishing in the Ranch! I will admit I have not been spending much time with the ranch pelicans. The ones I have come across seem very happy. This is great news in my humble opinion. Pmds and March browns are plentiful and there are also good numbers of caddis. I would say it’s day by day with the weather being a major factor. I would have rusty spinners size 16 and 14. Hemingway caddis size 14. Tilt wing pmd size 16 and last chance cripple March Brown size 14. Don’t forget to have some renegades and beetles are also a good idea. I think this summer on the ranch is going to be one to remember.
Flows out of Island Park Reservoir continue to decrease. As of today 794 cfs. Fish are looking up in the box. Dry dropper rigs will do the trick from the top all the way down. Fish a #8 Henry’s Fork foam stone gold with a #8 black rubber legs dropped about three feet down. A Duracell #14 or #16 will also work as a dropper. A #16 bullet quill is also a great idea. Don’t forget zebra midges. Red, brown and olive in #16 are always winners.
The lower river seems to be the place to be. You can pick your poison from Warm River all the way down to Saint Anthony and on down. Fish are eating pmds, golden stones, green drakes and caddis. I have heard whispers of gray drakes on the lower as well. I am guessing weather might be a factor this coming weekend. Heavy winds and thunder storms are forecast. I even heard we may see snow in Island Park. This is great news because the 8 feet of snow we got this past winter was not nearly enough! If you plan on hitting the lower river go well armed. Foam golden stones, extended body green drakes and Hudgens’s Drake spinner. I would have #12 tungsten pheasant tails and #6 and #8 rubber legs as well. Don’t forget pmds as well. The caddis have been as thick as can be on the lower river in the evenings. Mike’s caddis emerger and spent partridge caddis have been very effective.
While everybody from here to there is grumbling about how busy the Henry’s Fork is, the South Fork continues to sneak under the radar. Flows have fluctuated a little but have held steady at 14,000. Clairity is good and fish are looking up. The Yellow sallies are starting to emerge on the banks of the South Fork and the word on the streets of Swan Valley is fish are eating stimulators on the surface. That means salmon flies and golden stones are right around the corner. As of this writing the banks on the South Fork are not red hot just yet. Focus efforts in the riffles and soft inside corners. Go with the usual collection of bead heads and rubber legs. Be prepared with foam stones #4 and #6. Both golden and salmon flies are a good idea. Tan #16 stimlators should also do the trick on the South Fork. If you want to escape the masses the South Fork is a good bet.
Teton remains high and off color. Last week’s tragedy is a reminder to all of us who fish our area waters to use caution and respect the power of moving water. Our hearts and prayers go out to family who lost their son on the Teton last week.
The wade section of the Madison is the place to be. I would stock up on some nymphs. Bruised bwo nymphs and San Juan nymphs. A #16 electric caddis nymph will also get some attention. It sounds like the float section is starting to come together as well. I would use caution if floating Lyon’s to Palisades. Being pinned on a bridge would ruin your day for sure. Streamers on the float section will serve you well.
The Fire Hole, Madison and Gibbon continue to fish well in the park. Fly patterns have not changed much. I would add #6 foam stones in the salmon fly color. The Gallatin in the park is still high and a little green but fishable. I would give the north end of the park another week.