The weather has been cold and wet for most of the month but the forecast for the upcoming week is favorable. There is a lot of snow in the high country so if the temperatures warm up you can expect some high, cold dirty water. This should pay great dividends later in the summer. This might result in a decent Gray Drake hatch later in June. It’s a tough call as to when to expect the Salmonfly hatch. We usually start seeing the big bugs below Ashton and below the confluence with Warm River about May 20th. I’m going out on a limb and calling for a later start this year. May 25th is more realistic. The water temperature usually needs to be above 56° F before things start to happen. We shall see.
Upper Henry’s Fork
The Outlet to Henry’s Lake is still running at winter flows, so the fish have not started to congregate below the dam yet. The section from the confluence of Henry’s Lake Outlet below Big Springs downstream to Highway 20 at Mack’s Inn has been fishing well with nymphs as well as some good BWO action on top.
The flow is normal for this time of year at 937 cfs from the dam. It is difficult to wade at this flow but the flow has been steady for the past week or so. Your best option for fishing this section right now is by boat and the ramp is now accessible. The flies I would have at your disposal are: Pat’s Rubber Legs, Cocktail Nymphs, Bruised Baetis, DBL Tungsten Worm in colors Red and Wine, Brown or Olive Zebra Nymph, and Tungsten P. T. Nymph. Streamers can also be productive. Use Mike’s Inverted Matuka and BH Mini Leech.
Last Chance / Harriman Park
The water from the upper boundary of the Harriman Park downstream to Riverside Campground is closed to fishing until June 15, 2014. However, the stretch through Last Chance is open year round. The water through Last Chance is high, so be careful wading. There have been some decent hatches of Western March Browns, BWOs and caddis. Check out our hatch chart for recommended patterns. Leech patterns and dry dropper fishing is going to be the most effective way to catch fish right now.
Wood Road #16 – Pinehaven
Fishing is closed from the upper boundary of the Harriman East State Park downstream to Riverside Campground until the opening of general fishing season on May 24, 2014.
Access is pretty tough downstream from Riverside Campground. Our recommendation is to give the canyon section another week or so when the Salmonflies start moving up. The access roads are not in great shape. If you are adventurous you can hike to the river at Hatchery Ford and Sheep Falls.
Warm River to Ashton
There is some dirty water coming in from Warm River and Robinson Creek, so fishing the Henry’s Fork side will provide more consistent fishing. With the water coming up the fish are holding tight to the bank. Fishing with a dry dropper against the bank can be very effective. Try using a size 6 Chubby Chernobyl with a Pat’s Rubberlegs as a dropper.
Ashton Dam to St Anthony
The tailwater section from the Ashton Dam downstream to the Vernon Bridge is closed to fishing until May 24, 2014. Vernon to Chester is fishing well with nymphs and dry droppers against the back. Chubby Chernobyl, Pat’s Rubberlegs, DBL Tungsten Worm, Tungsten Salvation, and Tungsten Prince have been the go to flies in this section. Fall River is very high and muddy, so Chester to the confluence is not really an option at this time. I would wait a couple of weeks for the flows to stabilize before fishing this section. Please be aware that the Del Rio Access will be closed until November because a new bridge is being built.
Fall River, Warm River and Robinson Creek are experiencing runoff right now, so I would wait to fish them for a couple of weeks until the flows stabilize. There is a short section on Warm River from the bridge downstream to the posted boundary near the Parker Cabin that is closed year round. Fishing the Buffalo River near Pond’s Lodge can be another option.
The fishing season on the Madison is a little complex, so we highly recommend you check carefully with the Montana fishing regulations for more detailed information. The section from Hebgen Lake Dam to Quake Lake is open year round. The stretch from the Quake Lake to McAtee Bridge is closed to fishing from March 1 until the third Saturday in May. The Madison is open to fishing year round from McAtee Bridge downstream to the Ennis Bridge. The fishing season is closed to fishing from March 1 until the third Saturday in May from the Ennis Bridge downstream to Ennis Lake. Fishing can be very good in this section between the lakes. We like zebra nymphs, Tungsten Pheasant Tail, Skinny Nelson and a variety of other small bead head nymphs. You can also find success by swinging a stream through the deeper runs.
Most of the lakes are still ice covered at this time with the exception of Wade Lake. With the warmer spring weather, it won’t be long until the ice is gone. Please note that Henry’s Lake is closed to fishing until the Memorial weekend.
South Fork of the Snake
The flows on the South Fork have been running high. The most effective way to fish is going to be with streamers and nymphs against the bank. The flies to have are: Sculpzilla’s, Mike’s Inverted Matuka, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Tungsten Salvation Nymphs, and Tungsten G-String Worms. Expect the flows to stay high for the next couple of weeks.
Yellowstone National Park- CLOSED UNTIL MAY 24, 2014