Flows from Jackson Lake Dam increased to 5,000 and the lake went into turnover on June 6th, turning the tailwater reach off-color. As a result, fishing requires a bit more concentration below the dam. Fish have acclimated to the higher flows and this part of the river is starting to clear to its pre-June 2nd levels. Fishing is still best with double nymph rigs fished along seams, eddies, and deep riffles. The lower reach below Cattlemans is producing with streamers fished along banks and structure. Expect fishing to continue to improve over the next week. Remember that this reach generally fishes better at higher flows from the dam than it does at lower flows.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Legs, San Juan Worms, Pink Jiggalos, Batmen.
Streamers – Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Chicklets, SRA Bunnies, and Sundell’s Night Fire.
Yellowstone National Park
Firehole River – the Firehole has received a bit more attention compared to what it did opening weekend, but it is still fishing well just about everywhere. Water temps have been pretty steady in the low to mid-50s. It is mostly nymphing, but there has been some decent days with surface action on caddis and yellow sallie imitations. Most riffles are producing, as are seams and ledge rock pools. Wherever you are fishing nymphs or are on the surface, let your pattern swing at the end of a drift, a tactic that is getting solid action throughout much of the day.
Yellowstone Lake – A bit more inconsistent than what we were experiencing since the lake opened on Memorial Day Weekend, but the West Thumb is still fishing very well here early in the season and producing with smaller baitfish imitations, as well as midge larva, scuds and damsel imitations. The best action starts around 9am and can last deep into the afternoon and early afternoon hours. Slow hand-twist retrieves with midge and scud imitations on floating lines have been producing best. Baitfish imitations should be fished with moderate speed retrieves on floating, hover, and intermediate sinking lines. Target flats that are four to eight feet deep, although don’t ignore those that are shallower or deeper.
Lewis Lake – Ice is completely off and Lewis Lake is open. We have had the typical “good” to “really” good” early days over the past week. Some days might be a little slower, but those days would at least be classified as decent by most fly fishers.
Flats are fishing OK but the real action has been on drop-offs, especially those with some depth. Hit these with small baitfish imitations in the #10 to #8 range on 3ips to 6ips tips or six to ten feet of T-8 to T-11. Retrieval speeds should be slow to moderate (go with slow by default). Most fish seem to be taking in the six to nine feet depth of the water column.
Nymphs are worth fishing in the same water types as baitfish imitations. Chironomid and scud patterns are working best. These can be fished with intermittent movement from time to time, but letting them free dangle is producing better. Takes have been slow and nippy, so be on the ball with your hook sets.
Still fishing very well, although we are noticing that action has best from early morning until about 3pm, when action slows considerably. The reservoir is still high, so there is a lot of submerged structure to target. One big difference from a couple of weeks ago is that fishing has been more productive in deeper portions of the water column. 4ips down to 10 feet of T-11 is getting the best action. Perform fairly slow retrieves with frequent pauses after every three or for strips. Popper action is happening, but mostly in the morning hours and slows considerably after noon.
Streamers – Clouser Minnows, Kreelux, Lite Brite Zonkers, Chicklets, Lantham’s Crawdad, and Stalcup’s Baby Dad.
Surface Patterns – Pencil Poppers, EP Poppers, and Hair Frogs.