Yellowstone is Open! And the South Fork is Fishing Solid
The tailwater reach from Jackson Lake Dam down to Pacific Creek remains the only realistic place to fish while the rest of the river remains in runoff (should be this way for several more weeks). Flows currently stand at 3,000cfs and the lake it in turnover which has resulted in less visibility. Nevertheless, there can still be decent action below the surface.
Double nymph rigs are working best on the section from the dam down to Cattlemens. Go somewhat deep – 7 to 9 feet of leader from trailing fly to line or indicator and target eddies and eddy current margins, side channel confluences, and riffles. There is starting to be some good action below Cattlemans with doule nymph rigs that are light to moderately weighted and leader lengths in the five to six foot range from trailer to line/suspension device. Target deeply submerged structure and troughs that are well off of banks.
Streamers are working everywhere and really hit their stride on the lower stretch below Cattlemens. Target banks and structure primarily. Eddies are worth hitting as well. Fish moderate to large patterns on floating, hover, and intermediate sinking lines or INT to 3ips tips and go with slow to moderate retrieves.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail Jig, San Juan Worms, Squirmy Wormies, Copper Johns in red, Flashback Hare’s Ear Nymphs, Prince Nymphs, and Ice Cream Cone Midges.
Streamers – Galoup’s Peanut Envy, Booty’s Quad Bunny, Silvey Sculpins, Strolis Headbanger Sculpins, Sculpzillas, Chicklets, Lil’ Kims, and Kreelux.
Flows from Palisades Reservoir currently stand at 11,000cfs and even a little more visibility then there was a couple of weeks ago. The big change has been warming water temps, which are now firmly in the mid to high 40s. Bureau of Reclamation has stated that they will attempt to keep flows from the dam stable for the until late June with only minor adjustments. All of these has led to a big uptick in production. Caddis are still around and when the weather is right there can be a good number of blue wings.
Blue wings represent the best opportunity for surface action at the moment in riffles at tat the head of seams. The surface feeding can be good enough in late afternoon (2pm until dusk) that there can also be action on smallish attractor patterns. It is debatably the best top water fishing since November.
Nymph rigs are working best on the Swan Valley reach and throughout the Canyon reach. Targeting riffle pools, seam tails, and the current margin of eddies. Go with nine to twelve feet of leader from trailing fly to line/suspension devices. Egg patterns are killing it on the rainbow beds.
Streamers are worth trying and are still working better on the lower reaches (below the canyon) than nymphs. Hit slower currents along banks and structure, side channel pools, and riffle pools. 3ips to 6ips tips and slow to moderate retrieves are a good choice. As has been the case most of this past month, double streamer rigs are worth considering in moderately fast currents.
Dry flies – Chubby Chernobyls, Will’s Winged Chernobyls, Barrett’s Ants, Parachute Extended Body BWOs, Parachute Adams, Booty’s BWO Emerger, and Film Critics.
Nymphs - Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, PR Muskrats, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Rubber Legged Flashback Hare’s Ear Nymphs, San Juan Worms, Squirmy Wormies, Redemption BWOs, Hickey’s Auto Emerger, Veiled Eggs, Nuclear Eggs, Clown Eggs, Glo Bugs, and Otter’s Soft Milking Eggs.
Streamers – Silk Kitties, Strolis Headbanger Sculpins, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Galloup’s Boogeyman, Sundell’s Night Fire, Silvey Sculpins, J.J. Specials, Booty Call Minnows, Galloup’s Mini Dungeon, Bow River Buggers, Lil’ Kims, and Chicklets.
Nymphs - Pat’s Rubber Leg, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Rubber Legged Flashback Hares Ear Nymphs, Pheasant Tail Jigs, Zug Bugs, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, San Juan Worms, Veiled Eggs, Glo Bugs, Nuclear Eggs, Clown Eggs, and Otter’s Soft Milking Eggs.
Yellowstone National Park
YNP opened up this past weekend and the Firehole, Madison, and Crayfish Creek are some of the best waters to fish at the moment (water temps on the Firehole are in the low 50s most days). Blue-winged olives are around on cooler days. Expect caddis mostly on warmer days along with a smattering of PMDs. Target riffles, seams, eddies, and undercut banks (the latter with small streamers, especially Woolley Buggers, Baby Clousers, and Kreelux). Crayfish Creek is fishing best with smaller nymph patterns like Rainbow Warriors, Lightening Bugs, and Copper Johns.
The Hank’s remains one of the best places to fish at the moment with March browns and caddis still about and a lot more activity by salmon flies (especially in their nymphal stage). The best action has been on the lower reaches from Warm River down to Chester. The canyon reaches from Riverside down to Warm River is a close second. Target structure, bankside troughs, riffles and eddy seams with your nymph rigs and/or dry patterns (particularly tandem dry rigs). Nymphs are performing best along structure and eddy seams. Surface action with salmon fly, caddis, and March brown imitations are working everywhere when trout aare actively feeding.
Streamers continue to working best on the lower reaches from Ora Bridge down to Chester. Go with full sinking intermediate lines or intermediate to 3ips tips and moderate retrieves. Swinging streamers through riffles pools is getting into larger fish them other methods or tactics.
Dry flies – Chubby Chernobyls, Will’s Winged Chernobyls, Great Whites, Circus Peanuts, Parachute Adams, Parachute Extended Body Cahills, Quigley Cripples, Elk Hair Caddis, X-Caddis, Mathew’s Sparkle Caddis, Booty’s BWO Emerger, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, PR Muskrats, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymphs, Hare’s Ear Nymphs, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Bubbleback Pheasant Tails, Robins, Mercer’s Bead Tail Caddis, Mathew’s Sparkle Caddis Pupa, and Soft Hackles.
Streamers – Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Silk Kitties, Galloup’s Boogeyman, Silvey Sculpins, Galloup’s Mini-Dungeons, Sculpzillas, Booty Call Minnows, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, and Chicklets.