Its August - Hit the Yellowstone and Flat Creek for a change
The entire river continues to fish well with larger fish being taken on the upper reaches above South Park but more showing up on the lower river from South Park down to Sheep Gulch. Dry flies is the name of the game – caddis in the morning and PMDs in the afternoon. There are also a more than decent amount of grasshopper and carpenter ants around. To top it off, we are beginning to see our first Claassenia stones of the year. Imitations of all of these will work well (and even great some days).
Larger foam attractors are definitely getting into opportunistic fish that are seemingly everywhere. Grasshopper and attractors should be targeted heavily at banks, bankside troughs, and submerged structure, particularly from the early morning hours until around 1pm. Caddis, PMD, and ant imitations are producing in the same, but really perform in riffles, side channels, and seams from 11am until around 4pm. They are also working in the larger eddies below South Park, more so than further upstream.
Double and triple nymph rigs is the best way to get into larger cutthroats on the lower river below the Hoback confluence when targeting seams, submerged structure, eddies, and riffle pools. Dry-dropper rigs are working best from Pacific Creek down to the confluence with Flat Creek. Go with two to four feet of dropper tippet and target riffles and riffle pools, the tail of seams, and confluence currents.
Streamers are starting to get into solid size just about everywhere, but nowhere more than the upper river above Wilson Bridge. Large to moderate sized baitfish patterns fished on floating or intermediate sinking lines should be targeted at banks, riffle pools, seams, and confluence currents. Downstream retrieves are working best. In slower water, allowing hesitiation before the initial retrieve to access deeper water is key.
Dry flies – Mary Kays, Circus Peanuts, Winged Peanuts, Rubber Legged Double Humpies, Will’s Winged Chernobyls, Parachute Hoppers, Dave’s Hopper, Snake River Winged Carpenter Ants, Power Ants, Elk Hair Caddis, Peking Caddis, CDC Caddis, Parachute Adams, Rusty Duns, Copper Hazes, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Parawulffs, Booty’s PMD Emerger, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Soft Hackle Princes, Nymph Formerly Known as Prince, Flashback Hares Ear Nymphs, Rainbow Warriors, and Copper Johns in red or copper.
Streamers – Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Strolis’ Head Banger Sculpin, Coffey’s Articulated Sparkle Minnow, Galloup’s Mini Dungeon, Booty Call Minnows, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow, and J.J. Specials.
Flows from Palisades Reservoir are at 8,500cfs. The South Fork remains one of the best pieces of water to hit at the moment with water temps fairly consistent in the 57 to 62 degree range, decent hatches of caddis in the morning, and PMDs out strong in the afternoon. Every reach from Swan Valley down to Lorenzo is fishing well, although the lower river has been best from the early morning hours until roughly 2pm before slowing down noticeably. Still a lot of surface feeding on mid to large sized attractors throughout the day when fished along banks, structure, bankside troughs, riffle pools, and seams. Nonetheless, PMDs are getting into the lion’s share of action from the time they appear around 11am until the late afternoon hours. They are the thing in riffles, riffle pools, seams, flats, and banks with slow to moderate currents and moderate depths. Fish tandem rigs with an adult as lead fly and emerger as a trailer.
Double/triple nymph rigs(six to nine feet of leader from trailing fly to line/suspension device) are producing throughout the day and performing best when fished in riffles, seams, eddies, and bankside troughs. Dry-droppers three to four feet of dropper tippet) are working best when fished along submerged structure, riffle shelves, flats, and eddy pools and eddy current margins.
Streamers fished with fast to moderate retrieves on sinking tips in the 3ips to 8ips range are producing when targeting banks, structure, riffle pools, and seams tails. Use large to moderately sized patterns and hesitate with pauses in between every four to seven line strips. Many takes are occurring on the first couple of retrieves after pauses.
Dry flies – Chubby Chernobyls, Barrett’s Ant, Bean’s Orange Crush, Will’s Winged Chernobyls, Circus Peanuts, Parachute Hoppers, Sparkle Ants, Elk Hair Caddis, X-Caddis, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Comparaduns, Thorax PMDs, Pink Parachutes, Pink Alberts, Parachute Adams, Booty’s PMD Emerger, Booty’s DL PMD Cripples, Pink Sulfur Emergers, Quigley Cripples, and Quigley’s Film Critic.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, 20-Inchers, San Juan Worms, Duracells, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Sanchez’s Glass House Caddis, Mathew’s Sparkle Caddis Pupa, Mercer’s Bead Tail Caddis Pupa, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Psycho Mays, Bruised Mays, Redemption PMD Nymphs, Prince Nymphs, Psycho Princes, Robins, and Hickey’s Auto Emerger Nymph.
Streamers – Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Sudell’s Night Fire, Purple Passions, Silvey Sculpins, Booty Call Minnows, Chicklets, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, J.J. Specials, Galloup’s Stacked Blonde, and Tequilleys.
The Refuge reach opened this past Thursday. PMDs and caddis have been around primarily in the mid-day hours from around 9am until around 2pm. There is also a decent amount of crane flies and dragon flies around. Not a ton of action on the surface but not a ton of anglers out there either compared to most years. Nymph droppers and lightly weighted double rigs (four to six feet of leader from trailer to suspension device) are working best when fished along undercut banks, inside turns of riffles, and eddy current margins. Most of the surface action is happening in the evening hours (after 7pm) and when there is extended periods of cloud cover and/or precipitation. Target riffles, eddies, and seams.
Dry flies – Parachute Extended Body PMDs and Mahogany Duns, Film Critics, Booty’s DL PMD Cripple, Comparaduns, CDC Wing Caddis, Mathew’s Sparkle Caddis, and Will’s Crane Fly Perfection.
Nymphs – Mathew’s Sparkle Caddis Pupa, Mercer’s Beadtail Caddis Pupa, Psycho Princes, Bruised Mays, Pheasant Tail Nymphs, Bubbleback Pheasant Tails, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, and Mopscicles.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone Lake – Pretty solid fishing at the moment, particularly out in the open park of the lake and leaning towards the morning hours, primarily 7am until around 1pm. Flats are active early in the day but wane after around 10am, when the action truly turns to drop-off and shallow (10 to 15 feet) bars for the rest of the morning and early afternoon. Small baitfish imitations, damsel imitations, and swimmer nymphs are working best. There is surface action on flats early with midge and carpenter ant patterns. It will only last a couple of hours.
Yellowstone River – The resurgence of the Yellowstone or the past couple of year is continuing. Still not the hundreds of thousands from thirty years ago, but a lot better than a dozen years ago, and some damn big fish to boot. A healthy broadness in terms of hatches. Caddis and PMDs dominate the scene, but there are also green drakes, flavs, and a smattering of smaller golden stones (the latter of which should wane this week). Riffles are by far the prime targets. Eddies and seams are a distant second. If fishing a dropper nymph, go fairly short with dropper tippet in the 18” to 24” range.