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Fishing Report

Jul 5, 2012 | Mike Lawson

The prolonged hot dry weather has slowed the fishing on the Henry’s Fork below Ashton. It is always tough when the lower river shuts down. It always produces some of the best fly fishing in the entire region throughout April, May and June. The heat up in July usually shuts this great fishing down until cooler weather prevails. One of the best things about our location in Island Park is that when one good fishing spot starts slowing down, another place gets rolling. Such is the case this year.

Upper Henry’s Fork

Box Canyon continues to produce good nymph fishing throughout the day. Smaller nymphs in size 14 & 16 have been productive including Tungsten Flash Back Pheasant Tail, Red Zebra Nymph, Brown Zebra Nymph, Olive Electric Caddis, and Olive Rick’s Tungsten. Some anglers like to use these smaller nymphs in tandem with Black or Brown Rubberlegs Nymphs in size 8 or 10. We expect the flows to increase out of the dam at Island Park due to higher irrigation demand in the upcoming week.

Michael Keaton admires a nice brown on the Lower Henry's Fork

Michael Keaton admires a nice brown caught last week on the Lower Henry's Fork.

(Photo by Shaun Lawson)

Flat Water

We’ve had some great fishing from Last Chance downstream to Pinehaven since the Ranch opened on June 15th. The Green Drake hatch was strong resulting in some very large Rainbows and a few Franklin Gulls landed. Now that the big drakes are over you’ll find the going a little tougher with these large selective fish. There are good spinner falls of PMDs, Flavs, and a few drakes in the morning hours. You should be prepared with some size 16 PMD and Rusty Spinners as well as some larger patterns to imitate Flavs and drakes. Don’t get too caught up with color. Flav and Green Drake spinners are dark olive brown. Trout are more selective to the profile of the fly on the water than color. My favorite large spinner is the Hudgens Gray Drake Spinner. The body is too light to match the darker Flav and Green Drake but it still works very well. You can use a marker if you want to darken the body.

Evening brings more spinners to the table as well as caddisflies. Use a size 16 Tan EZ Caddis with a size 16 Partridge Caddis Emerger as a dropper. There are still Brown Drakes in the flat water in the middle ranch.

Pale Morning Duns are emerging in the mid morning through the early afternoon. Don’t expect a lot of activity on bright warm days. However, the trout will focus on emergers and cripples in the film if they aren’t eating the duns. Use a size 16 PMD or Limestone Cripple. Quigley’s PMD Film Critic has also been productive. The larger Flav mayflies are coming off later in the afternoon. All of these hatches are explained in the hatch chart on our web site along with patterns to match them. We encourage you to utilize the information there for detailed information.

Riverside to Ashton Reservoir

The canyon water from Riverside Campground downstream to the confluence with Warm River is very similar to the water in the Box Canyon. Use the same patterns and techniques we recommend for Box Canyon. The great canyon of the Henry’s Fork is a great place to get out of the heat if you don’t mind doing a little hiking.

Warm River to Ashton normally produces consistent fishing for smaller trout and Whitefish through the season. It is a great float for both novice and experienced anglers. There is also good wading access. You can use a tandem nymph rig with an indicator or a dry fly like a Chubby Chernobyl with a nymph dropper. Even though most of the trout are small it is not uncommon to get ripped up by a large Brown Trout.

Ashton Tailwater

It was fun while it lasted but the good fishing everyone enjoyed has hit the skids. You can still scratch some big trout on nymphs or Golden Stone imitations during the day but the best fishing has been in the evening hours. The Chester backwaters and the Fun Farm have continued to produce good dry fly fishing with caddis and spinners in the evening hours.

Madison River

The Salmonfly hatch has been one of the best we’ve seen in years. We expect the hot fishing to continue after the big stone flies are gone. The trout population is very strong with good numbers of hot Rainbows and strong Browns. Use size 8 or 10 Chubby Chernobyl or Henry’s Fork Foam Golden Stone with a Zebra Nymph as a dropper. There are strong caddis hatches in the evening hours and PMDs during the day. We expect the good fishing on the Madison to continue for the next several weeks.

South Fork of the Snake

The dry fly fishing has been slow to develop even though the surface has been covered with PMDs, Green Drakes, Yellow Sallies, Golden Stones and Salmonflies. However nymph fishing has been very good. With so much food available the trout have had little reason to start eating on the surface but that will change soon. The trout we’ve been catching are fat, strong and healthy. The next two weeks should produce very good dry fly fishing on the South Fork.

Yellowstone Park

The good days of dry fly fishing on the Firehole and Madison are gone. It will be September before the water temperatures lower enough for the trout to start feeding comfortably. Right now the Gallatin River has been producing some of the best fishing in the park. We expect some of the water in the northeastern part of the park including Slough Creek, Soda Butte Creek and the Lamar River to fish well in the coming days.


Warm River and the Buffalo River have been fishing very well. It’s hard beat a Parachute Adams, Renegade, or Prince Nymph for brookies and small rainbows on both streams. The salmonflies have come and gone on Fall River but the fishing has been very good with attractor dry flies with bead head nymph droppers.


Henry’s Lake has fished well if you know where to look. The fish are scattered. We’ve had some good reports of damsel activity near the stump hole, Targhee Creek, and Duck Creek. In addition to damsel pattersn try leeches and Schiess Mitey Mite with a type 3 full sinking line.

Gulpers have started on Hebgen Lake. Use a size 14 Parachute Adams, Adams Parawulff, or Callibaetis Thorax with a size 14 Pheasant Tail Nymph or Skinny Nelson as a dropper.