The Island Park reservoir is at 46% of capacity. This is more water than I thought there would be in there by this time. We have been blessed by some good rain fall and, in my mind, things are looking up. The flows have been fluctuating a bit and are currently 741 cfs out of Island Park Reservoir. There is a ton of salad in the river but still fish are rising. I have seen trico’s in the morning and a few honey ants. While the whole river does not have rising fish you can find them if you’re looking in the right places. Hoppers continue to work in the ranch.
The fishing in the box did slow down for a bit this last week. I am guessing the slower fishing is a direct result of the flows moving up and down. It looks like things have stabilized and the fishing should also start to improve. The usual beads will do the trick. We have had some good days using #16 olive mic drops and tungsten pmds.
I would say the Warm River to Ashton stretch is the star of the lower river. The river is relatively clear of vegetation and fish are looking up! Hoppers are working great! There is some caddis around as well. The weekends have been crazy with recreational floaters so bring some patients with you. If the fishing slows down as it does in the middle of the day watching the multitudes of floaters go by can be entertaining and sometimes the scenery can be really good and sometimes not so good. Dry dropping is productive through-out the day and bobber fishing in the deeper water can be really good mid-day.
The Southfork has come down a little. At 13,700 cfs it may be time for some early morning trips. The mutant stones should be starting any minute. The Hopper fishing has been fair and as always nymph fishing has been good. I am not sure what the future flows on the South Fork will be. The reservoir is 39% of capacity and looking down stream American falls has been holding steady at 15% of capacity. Personally, I like the South Fork around 10,000cfs.
Upper Madison: Keep in mind of the Hoot Owl restrictions going on right now through this section and many other rivers in Montana, which means fishing is closed from 2PM until midnight each day. Despite the fishing being shut down early, the river continues to fish well. Not much left for hatches, but keep an eye out for a few caddis and mayfly spinners hanging around early. Hoppers, ants, and beetles have had some fish looking up the past few days, and a hopper dropper setup isn’t a bad option right now. Nymphing a two-fly set up will be your best bet if you are looking for numbers. Perigons, stoneflies, and smaller mayfly/caddis/attractor patterns have been good as of late.
Remember hoot owl hours in the park. Be sure to off the water by 2:00 pm. The Yellowstone River is still pretty good. I would make sure to have some pmds and hoppers. You may still find some flaves around as well. I really like swinging streamers this time of the year. Make sure you have some beetles and some caddis handy as well. I would avoid the Madison and the Firehole completely because of water temps.