The Elk are bugling and the blue wings are hatching. We have had a couple dustings of snow and it’s safe to say fall is here. Crowds have dwindled down in the Ranch but the fishing has been great. Depending on the day and temps there are still some tricos and the blue wings have been thick depending on the day. There are still fish eating hoppers. I would also be on the lookout for mahoganies.
The flows in the box are 516cfs. Starting to get a little boney but still plenty of water to float it. The Island Park Reservoir is still at 73% of capacity compared to 45% at this time last year. Great news! We should have plenty of water for higher winter flows. The box has been fair. Small beads heads and rubber legs will work. This is a great time to really hit the Box hard with streamers. I personally like zonkers and sculpin patters
Things are heating up on the lower river. Look for mahoganies and blue wings. There is no rush to be on the water. If you don’t get on until 10:00 you will have some great fishing. I would have no-hackles. The blue wings are 18s and 20s. The mahoganies are 16s. Also make sure you have cocktail nymphs in #20-#14s. The zebra midges are also a good idea this time of the year. I would have them in red, olive and black. Number 16,18 and 20. DO NOT forget to have streamers with you. The big browns on the lower river are most likely getting aggressive as there time to spawn nears. If you happen upon a red, let em be. Those are your future brown trout on the Henry’s Fork.
The mutant stones are still on the South Fork and the fish are on them. Fish Mutants in the early mornings and watch for blue wings later in the day. I would also make sure you have plenty of rubber legs. I would also have the standard fair of small beads heads like bullet quills and zebra midges. Congratulations to Mike Bean for the top scoring guide in the One Fly completion.
The Teton has been fishing very well. The hopper dropper technique is still working well. It’s time to start looking around for the fall grey drakes on the Teton as well. One of my favorite things to do on the Teton this time of the year is to fish streamers. A little Kim’s is one of my favorite.
The fishing on the Madison has been nothing short of amazing this summer. The hopper fishing was the best it’s been in recent memory. The colder weather has slowed the hopper bite down a little but all in all the fishing on the Madison continues to be good. Look for mutants and blue wings. The nymphing on the Madison has been good. I would use small rubber legs. Smaller zebra midges, bullet quills and cocktail nymphs will serve you well. As with the lower Henrys Fork it’s time to start stripping streamers on the Madison.
A sure sign that fall is upon us is the yearly Barnes pools dance. It’s here! And step one, two cast and step one, two! I will often sit on the bank and watch the dance. It’s like any other dance. You have your wall flowers that sit on the bank watching the water, wondering what to do next but are too afraid to ask anybody. You have the group that’s been coming to this dance since the day of the dinosaur. You have to watch out for theses fellers if you are new to the dance. While some are polite and easy to talk to others remind me of Biff Tannen from back to the future. These guys are on the lookout for the Marty McFlys. The Marty Mcfly is the poor unsuspecting bastard from anywhere USA that just walks down to the river with a bobber and a San Juan worm steps right out on the river and starts casting. Holy cow!! Biffs will come out of the wood work and they will be on this unsuspecting bastard like white on rice!!! Mcfly! Mcfly! That’s not how we do things here! Get in line or get off the water! Sometimes even the wall flowers join in! While it’s true there is not written law on how to fish the Madison it’s in your best interest to fish these pools the same way everybody else is. Take a couple of cast and take a few steps down. Take another cast. The beauty of it is that if you don’t want to join the conga line there is plenty of river. You will find all kinds of water to fish however you want to. There are starting to be a few fish showing up and the fishing should really start to heat up in the coming months. Look for drakes on slough creek and you might be able to still scratch a few out on the Yellowstone River.