For the last week, the weather has turned in an instant, from Summer to Fall. In fact, with the Summer and Fall air mixing together, we had a tornado touch down near the Island Park reservior about a week ago. With this welcomed change in the weather, an even more welcomed change has occurred in the fishing. Things have really picked up the last week or so. I will go down the list with an update on the fishing!
Upper Henry’s Fork
The flow in Henry’s Lake Outlet has been reduced to help store irrigation water in Henrys Lake. With low water many of the larger trout drop down into the Upper Henry’s Fork. Large trout are also moving up from Island Park Reservoir. Coffee Pot Rapids below Mack’s Inn and the Henry’s Fork above always produce some very respectable trout in the fall. As long as the weather is cool you should be on the lookout for fish feeding on Baetis mayflies sizes 18-20. Later on use a double nymph system with an indicator. Streamers and buggers also produce. With the cold mornings and evenings, the best fishing is between noon and 5 p.m.
Over the last week, the water level has dropped significantly. It is currently around 300 cfs, and it is expected to drop to 80 cfs towards the first of October. Floating the Box will not only be difficult if not impossible but also unproductive. Over the last couple days, the nymph fishing has been OUTSTANDING! There is good wading access through the 2-1/2 section of the Box Canyon. Smaller nymphs are very productive when the water is low. We recommend size 18 Zebra Nymphs, Flashback Pheasant Tail TB, Cocktail, Two Bit Hooker, and Skinny Nelson. Streamers and buggers are also very productive.
Last Chance / Harriman Park
With the cool air here, the Mahogony Dun's have really slowed down, but the Baetis have really picked up! . You’ll need emergers, cripples and dun imitations. My favorites include Baetis comparadun, Split Flag, Baetis Thorax, Baetis Sparkle Dun, and Dark/Olive Nohackle in size 18 -22. These hatches will intensify as September fades into October. The fish will still take a hopper or ant during the warmer part of the afternoon. The best fishing will be during the early to mid afternoon hours.
Wood Road #16 – Pinehaven
This water receives intense pressure throughout the summer due to easy access, strong hatches and large trout. This combination makes for very challenging angling. Fishing pressure will likely subside during the weeks ahead making Wood Road #16 a good choice for large rising trout. Don’t expect these trout to be any easier to catch. You’ll need the right pattern (same as described for the Ranch) and perfect drag-free presentation, and a good dose of good luck.
With lower stream flows the fast water in the canyon becomes a little more user friendly. Use the same patterns described for the Box Canyon. There is good wading access at Riverside Campground and Hatchery Ford (FS #351.) If you are a little more adventuresome you can hike down into the canyon from some of the trails including Sheep Falls (FS #163) and Wood Road #6 (FS #151). Hopper dropper and Streamer fishing is very productive in this section.
Warm River to Ashton
The section from the Stone Bridge below Warm River downstream to the county boat dock below Highway 20 is one of top choices for our guides and has been fabulous over the last few days! There are plenty of cookie-cutter 10 inch rainbows as well as larger Rainbow and Brown Trout. There is good wading access in the upper and lower stretch. With the brown trout preparing for spawning, streamer fishing is a very good choice to get a big fish here. Cloudy rainy days are very good, and the fishing is best in the early to mid afternoon.
Ashton Dam to St Anthony
Over the last week, this strech has really turned on! It is so nice to have the lower river as a good option! Dry fly fishing should pick up in the mid afternoons on baetis. It is a good bet is to stick with nymphs and streamers, until you see the baetis start to pop in the afternoon. The browns are getting very aggressive, so streamer fishing has been very good as well!
St Anthony to Confluence
This fishery is my favorite on the Henry's Fork, and fall is my favorite time to fish here. I am a streamer junky, and love that explosive hit from a dumpster mouth big brown. You can catch a lot of fish during the mid afternoon on little baetis. If I was fishing, I would throw a streamer. If streamers are not your thing, you can throw a double nymph rig until you see fish rising!
Henry’s Fork Tributaries
As always, Warm River and the Buffalo provide great fishing for small trout throughout the Fall mounths. Both streams are spring creeks that remain cool enough to keep trout active. Lower Fall River was quite low throughout the summer but that has changed. Fall River is an excellent choice for quality fishing with light angling pressure. Most of the water in the lower river flows through private land. Make sure you have permission if you plan to cross private land to get to the river.
The Madison always gets good hatches of Blue Winged Olive mayflies. Look for feeding fish in the slicks. Until the mayflies get going your best bet is to use small nymphs like Zebra, Pheasant Tail, Two Bit Hooker and Electric Caddis. Streamers have also been very productive for larger browns.
Henry’s Lake is on. Best fishing has been in the mid morning to late afternoon. Use a slow sinking or intermediate line with small leeches or wooly buggers. You can also use a high floating dry fly with a small nymph dropper. The same techniques work on the other area lakes. Island Park Reservoir is getting low and the trout are starting to concentrate near the springs.
South Fork of the Snake
The stream flow on the South Fork is below normal for this time of year and it will continue to drop during the days ahead because Palisades Reservoir is only 5% of capacity. The good news is that the water is still clean and clear. It can get dirty fast if we get a lot of rain. There have been good hatches of Mahogany Duns and Pink Alberts in the riffles, but now the main hatch is baetis! Streamer fishing is very good as well as nymphing. I like to use the Olive Matuka, and nothing can really beat the BLING! For nymphs, use small rubberlegs size 10-12, and small pheasant tails size 18-20.
Yellowstone National Park
Notice: Yellowstone and Grand Teton Parks are closed until further notice due to the U. S. Government shutdown!) There isn’t a better time to be in Yellowstone Park than late September and October. The water temperature is cool, the trout are moving, aquatic insects are emerging, and the elk are bugling. Virtually all of the waters within the park are worth fishing. Look for the Firehole to wake up with cooler water temperatures. Trout are beginning to move into the Madison River to make their fall spawning run up the river. Large Cutthroat trout in the Yellowstone River are actively feeding. Some of the best mayfly hatches of the season occur in the Lamar River and Slough Creek.