The most consistent action has been occurring on the mid and lower reaches from Moose down to Sheep Gulch, although, as on all our water currently, weather conditions means decent to good days most outings with an occasional great day every now and then. Autumn hatches are not off the charts but still a decent number of inermis PMDs and BWOs out (all this will change when we get cooler wetter weather in this week). Still, moderately sized attractors are producing as well on the surface as anything else. Banks with slow to moderate currents, eddies, and side channels are good targets throughout the day. Riffles and confluences turn on in the afternoon. The most consistent surface action is occurring from around1pm until 5pm.
Dry-dropper rigs are the most productive way to go when employing nymphs. Ledge rock pools, eddies, and submerged structure are key targets from South Park down to Sheep Gulch. Riffles, seams, confluences, eddies, and side channels should be your focus from Moose down to South Park.
Streamer fishing can be good some days but is still inconsistent with the lack of cloud cover and precipitation. Active water is variable as well with banks, structure, and troughs being the hot water some days and riffles, seams, and eddies being the place to be on others. And at times, there is variability between morning and afternoon. The takeaway – target it all. Both moderately sized and larger baitfish imitations are working equally well. Go with floating lines or sinking tips in the INT to 4ips.
Dry flies – Mary Kays, Circus Peanuts, Purple Bruces, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, BWOs, and Mahogany Duns, Parachute Adams, Parachute Hares Ears, Purple Hazes, Copper Hazes, Parawulffs, Booty’s Drake Emerger, Quigley Cripples, Booty’s DL Cripple, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Duracells, Hustler CDC Lights, Pheasant Tails, Hares Ear Nymphs, Mopscicles, Chamois Caddis, Copper Johns in Copper, Psycho Princes, Lightening Bugs, Military Mayflies, and Perdigons.
Streamers – Silvey Sculpins, Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Strolis’ Headbanger Sculpin, Rustic Trombones, Mojo Minnows, SRA Double Bunnies, Booty Call Minnows, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, and Kreelux.
Autumn fishing is in full swing now on the South Fork. Current weather conditions means you have to work for your fish most days, but concentration can pay off in spades. Micro caddis, October caddis, mahogany duns, infrequen PMDs, and BWOs are emerging on the different reaches during the right conditions. Larger attractor patterns are working as good as anything else and are being taken on the surface by opportunistic feeding trout in bits and pieces. There is decent action on smaller mayfly/caddis/midge imitations in slower water types along banks, the inside turn of riffles, and in eddies and side channels. Keep in mind that “decent” is relative to other surface action.
Nymph rigs – primarily dry-droppers and short double rigs – are producing almost from the get-go and continue to work until around 3pm before action slows. Go with semi-long tippet/leader lengths around four to six feet throughout the day, keeping in mind that going shorter – two to three feet – can work better from around 11:30am until 2pm most days. Target most prime holding waters throughout the day but concentrate on riffles, troughs, eddies and side channels during the sweet spot from 11am to 3pm.
Streamers are working OK but not quite as should be expected for this time of year (blame the weather). Nonetheless, decent action can come on moderately sized imitations fished on sinking tips in the INT to 3ips range. Target riffles and troughs along with current peeling off of submerged structure and bank points. Expect a lot of follows and chases in slower water.
Dry flies – Snake River Water Walkers, Circus Peanuts, Mary Kays, Stimulators, Goddard Caddis, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, BWOs, and Mahogany Duns, Booty’s DL Cripple, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Duracells, Keller’s Peach Fuzz, Mellow Yellows, Chamois Caddis, Lightening Bugs, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Devil Jigs, and Perdigons.
Streamers – Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow, Goldilocks, Geisha Girls, Rustic Trombones, Galloup’s Mini Dungeons, Arum’s Lil’ Kims, Warriors, Chicklets, and Kreelux.
Continuing to fish well on all reaches with intermittent emergences of PMDs and chironomids most days as well as a few October caddis at times. At the same time, expect some slower days here and there. Higher gradient reaches are fishing better than lower gradient sections expect on those days with cloud cover (which have been few are far between). Dropper nymphs are picking up a few fish in the morning. After 11:30 PM, action on nymphs and surface flies turn on until around 3pm, after which there is a noticeable slowdown. Target seams, eddies, and riffles primarily no matter when or what rigging you are fishing.
Dry flies – Micro Peanuts, Micro Winged Chernobyls, Stimulators, Tent-Wing Caddis, Parachute Extended Body PMDs and Mahogany Duns, Parachute Adams, Snowshoe Duns, Royal Wulffs, Ausable Wulffs, Booty’s DL Cripple, Cole’s Split-Wing Cripple,Film Critics, Parachute Midges, CDC Midges Emergers, and Pheasant Tail Emergers.
Nymphs – Micro Mopscicles, Chamois Caddis, Duracalls, Flashback Pheasant Tail, Pyscho Princes, Robins, Rainbow Warriors, Lightening Bugs, Egan’s Dart, Howell’s Shuck It, Zebra Midges, Brassies, and Perdigons.
Yellowstone National Park
Madison River – Still decent fishing from top to bottom. Streamers are producing on all reaches while nymphs are performing well from Riverside up to the confluence. Go lightly weighted and short with all your riggings, although obviously deeper runs along under cutbanks can produce with deeper and heavier riggings.
Firehole River – Dry fly activity is best during tight windows from around 11am until 2pm, extending to 3pm on cooler days. Midges and BWOs are to name of the game for the most part. Adult imitations and their nymphal counterparts are getting the job done primarily in riffles and seams. Caddis larva imitations will work in the same water. Small baitfish imitations are producing very well when fished along under cutbanks on the upper reaches from Midway geyser up to Biscuit Basin.
Yellowstone Lake – Not big on numbers most days but certainly big on size. Baitfish, damsel, and dragon fly imitations, along with suspended leech and chironomid imitations, are working well and getting into 18-plus inch cutthroats primarily. Don’t be surprised if you cross the 20” mark a few times. Drop-offs and flat edges are producing better than flats themselves. The most consistent action is occurring in the two to four foot range in the water column.
Lewis Lake – Good number of brown trout both above and below the lake but with the lack of cloud cover and wind it takes a lot of patience to get into a couple (and its still a lot of fun seeing all of these fish. Fishing for staging and running browns in the lake and at the inlet/outlet offer a bit more consistency, yet still there is a of looks and follows with current conditions. Lake trout have been on the flats primarily on the north side of the lake and to the northeast around Mack Point.