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Fishing Report

Jul 30, 2012 | Mike Lawson

The weather has been sunny and warm, and as a result the bright days have kicked on the terrestrial fishing throughout the area. Flies continue to hatch throughout the Last Chance area and the Harriman Ranch, but great action on hoppers, ants, and beetles is starting to take place. With the Ranch being not so crowded, this is a great time to use a large dry to entice some of the largest fish in the river.

Upper Henry’s Fork

The flow out of Box Canyon has bumped up to around 1,400 CFS which is good for the fish, but tough on the wade fisherman. The best way to fish this section right now is from a boat. The Canyon has been excellent with great action on big Golden Stoneflies. Using dry-dropper rigs right now is very productive and the larger fish will come up to hit those big dry flies. Nymph fishing also remains very good as it always does. Small nymphs such as zebra midges, pheasant tails, and lightning bugs work well.

Flat Water

The Ranch has been spotty. There is a little bit of everything coming off including PMDs, Flavs, Callibaetis spinners,  and caddis. During the middle of day hoppers, ants, and beetles have been most productive. Don’t hesitate to blind cast these patterns along the banks as you may be surprised at how effective they can be. As for the evening hours, caddis have been the main story with good numbers of PMD spinners in the mix. 

Riverside to Ashton Reservoir

The canyon water from Riverside Campground downstream to the confluence with Warm River essentially gets very little attention during mid-summer. The water is very similar to Box Canyon. Use the same patterns and techniques we recommend for Box Canyon. Now that the flows are high the fishing likely isn’t worth the effort unless your main objective is to get away from everybody. If you want to hike down into the canyon you likely won’t have any company.

The Warm River to Ashton float has been very productive with hoppers and large attractor dry flies. Fishing a dry-dropper rig is probably the best method right now using small beadhead nymphs dropped about two feet under a big dry. Fishing around and near the numerous boulders through this section can produce some large fish.

Ashton Tailwater

The river from Ashton downstream to the Fun Farm is not on our “hot list” right now for that exact's too hot. Let's leave those ifhs alone until the fall months.

Madison River

The Madison river is fishing great right now and the initial crowds that were chasing the Salmonfly hatch are far gone, that’s not to say that there won’t be plenty of fishing partners available. Golden Stones, Caddis, PMD and Flav patterns have been taking lots of nice fish. Throwing attractor patterns with a small nymph dropped underneath remains best. Productive nymphs have been caddis larva, zebra midges, small rubberlegs, and pheasant tails.

South Fork of the Snake

Dry fly fishing has really picked up, especially from the Cottonwood (Fullmer) access downstream to Byington. Golden Stones are around and throwing other large attractor flies such as hoppers and Parawulffs at the banks will bring up some nice fish. Smaller stoneflies like Yellow Sallies have been very active in the riffles. There are also good hatches of Pale Morning Duns, Pink Alberts and Caddisflies. Cripples and emergers are most effective on trout feeding selectively in the riffles. I like to use an emerger or No-Hackle as a dropper 8 – 10 inches below a parachute or high riding dry fly. Small nymphs are also productive when dropped below a dry fly. Larger Chubby Chernobyl patterns with a Zebra Nymph of Rubberlegs droppers are very effective on the banks and drop offs. The water is quite high and floating can be very treacherous. Unless you are an expert on the oars, leave the rowing to the experts.

Yellowstone Park

The best fishing within close range of Henry’s Fork Anglers is the Gallatin River and tributaries both within and outside of the boundaries of the Park. The water level has dropped enough to nymph fishing very productive in the pockets and deep runs. Attractors have been providing good dry fly action. The Lamar Valley area of the park has begun to fish well with Slough Creek being one of the best options. Also the Lamar river and Soda Butte Creek are starting to shape up and fishing well with attractor dries and beadhead droppers. Hoppers and Beetles are a must have when fishing this area of the park. The large Cutthroats will slam a well presented dry fly.


As always, Warm River and the Buffalo provide great fishing for small trout throughout the heat of the summer. Both streams are spring creeks that remain cool enough to keep trout active. The Fall river has been a great alternative for the adventurous angler. There lots of fish eating and the water level is perfect for wade fishing. Using small attractor dry flies and beadhead droppers will work just fine, but don’t go too light on your tippet as there are some surprisingly large trout in this tributary of the Henry’s Fork.


Henry’s Lake is really starting to pick up. The warm weather has started to concentrate fish near the mouths of some of the springs and creeks. Targhee Creek has seen the most activity. Anglers have also been catching trout near Hope Creek near the cliffs, Staley Springs and in some of the deeper springs like the Blue Roof Hole out in the lake. Most places you do not even need a sinking line to catch lots of fish the most productive flies have been crystal buggers, black leeches, scuds, and olive damselfly nymphs.

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. Look for this fishing to improve as the reservoir level drops to meet downstream irrigation demand.

Gulper fishing has been productive on Hebgen Lake. Best action is during calm mornings when large trout cruise the surface feeding on Callibaetis mayflies. 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.