Autumn fishing remains good but, as has been the case over the past month, the action is really on the lower river from Wilson Bridge down to South Park. There is still some production on the upper river, but you really have to work for them.
Banks, submerged structure, and eddies are the places to target in the morning hours with small to moderately sized attractors and dropper nymphs (18 to 30 inches will suffice). This water continues to produce later in the day, but after 11am things really start to happen in riffles, seams, and confluence points. Hit these with the same dry-droppers as well as tandem dry rigs composed of either moderately sized attractors and mayfly adult imitations or mayfly adult/emerger combos. The slower inside turns of seams and riffles (the shallow stuff) are holding a fair amount of larger surface feeding cutthroats.
Streamers are still producing on floating lines and intermediate sinking tips, especially in the mid-day hours between 10:30am and 3pm. Fish moderate sized baitfish imitations and use slower retrieves early, then speed it up in the afternoon. You will see lots of chasers and short strikes. Watch them commit, then set it. And don’t be afraid to stop the retrieve and drop the fly back to them if they short strike.
Dry Flies – Stimulators, Winged Peanuts, Chubby Chernobyls, Will’s Winged Chernobyls, Fat Alberts, Tent-Wing Caddis, Kingfisher’s Godlike Caddis, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Mahoganies, and BWOs, Furimsky’s BDE, Comparaduns, Carlson’s Purple Haze and Copper Haze, Marabou Cripples, Booty’s BWO and Mahogany Emerger, Snowshoe Emergers, and Film Critics.
Streamers – Kreelux, Chickletts, Sparkle Minnows, J.J. Specials, Polar Minnows, Krystal Buggers, Keller’s Boat Launch Creep, and Sparkle Leeches.
Nymphs – Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Robins, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Psycho Princes, Wiese’s Lucent Prince, and Copper Johns in red.
Flows from Palisades Reservoir continue to drop and currently stand at 3000cfs. Good fishing continues on the South Fork, particularly on the upper reach in Swan Valley and the lower reaches below Wolf Eddy (as has been the case over the past couple of weeks). Morning hours are producing with #10 attractors and droppers. Fish are eating on the surface in bits and pieces, but nymphs are really bringing in the fish. The best nymphs have been Lightening Bugs and olive zebra midges. Other nymphs are producing fine, yet not like these two are. Target riffles tail and seams.
The afternoon will have more trout feeding on the surface in riffles and side channels. BWOs are dominating the scene at this time of the day, with mahogany duns showing up during wetter, cooler periods. These, smaller, more imitative patterns are also working in riffle tailouts and pools in the afternoon.
Streamers are producing best on the lower Canyon and on the lower South Fork from Byington down to Menan. Both large and moderate patterns are equally effective. Banks and structure are obvious targets, but flats and riffle pool are actually producing better. A wide range of lines are working, including everything from floating and intermediate lines to intermediate and 3ips tips.
Dry Flies – Barrett’s Ant, Circus Peanuts, Will’s Winged Chernobyls, Chubby Chernobyls, Stimulators, PMXs, Parachute Extended Body BWOs and Mahoganies, Parachute Adams, Comparaduns, Booty’s BWO and Mahogany Emergers, Quigley Cripples, and Film Critics.
Streamers – Galloup’s Boogeyman, Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Silvey Sculpins, Keller’s Nightmare, SRA Double Bunnies, J.J. Speicals, Kreelux, Sparkle Minnows, Polar Minnows, and Kiwi Muddlers.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Zebra Midges, Ice Cream Cone Midges, and San Juan Worms.
Yellowstone National Park
Lewis Lake – This might be the place to be through the end of October. More browns are moving into the channel and many more lake trout are on the flats. The lower Channel continues to be where we are finding most of the browns. Target them with #8 to #12 nymphs and moderately sized streamers using slow retrieves. Swarms of lake trout are being found on flats with three to six feet of depth. Streamers are working best with slow retrieves as well. Smaller #12 to #16 are working with brutally slow retrieves or fished suspended with an indicator.
Yellowstone Lake – Very good fishing in the West Thumb. Lake trout and cutthroats are feeding in shallow water – two to four feet of depth. Deeper drop-offs are also producing, but this is occurring in the morning hours and slows down significantly in the afternoon. Small to moderately sized streamers and #10 to #16 nymphs are working best. See Lewis Lake comments above for presentation suggestions.
Snake River/Lewis River – The Snake/Lewis area has been fishing pretty good over the past month but is getting better (as it usually does) as we get deeper into October. Cutthroats are hungry for a variety of dry flies and lightly weighted nymphs. Streamers are working well for both browns and cutthroats. Mornings start slow, but the afternoons can explode with activity.