Record heat across some parts of Montana has brought temperatures into the 90′s around the greater Yellowstone region, a rarity at 6500 feet. The hot weather, equals the heat of the fishing options in the area as well. The Salmonfly craze is in full swing, with the big bugs making their annual appearance on the Madison, Gallatin, and Yellowstone rivers simultaneously. On the coattails of the salmonfly are the rest of the “bugs of summer”, including, but not limited to; Pale Morning Duns, Green Drakes, big caddis, little caddis, medium caddis, yellow sallies, and goldenstones. As is often the case, despite what seems logical given the sheer size of the salmonfly, trout sometimes prefer the more numerous and smaller bugs that are present concurrently with the salmonfly. Yet the lure of the salmonfly is sometimes too strong for some of the bigger residents of our local trout rivers. So where are the salmonflies; well they are slightly above Palisades on the Madison, around Yankee Jim on the Yellowstone, and quickly approaching Big Sky on the Gallatin. However; we are far enough along with this hatch, that fishing behind, in the middle of, and ahead of the hatch, are all effective strategies at this point.
The Henrys Fork continues to fish very well with a plethora of bugs emerging in the Ranch water, including the Brown Drake in the slower sections around Millionaires and Osbourne. The Box shows its consistent strength with good nymphing with smaller beadheads. The lower river around Warm River to Ashton remains a good bet as well with the higher flows presently.
High water temperatures means the Firehole and Madison in the Park ought to be avoided. Give the fish a break, and try the colder streamin the north east corner and Gardner river. Drakes and goldenstones are present on all of them. Make sure to have some bug spray with you!
Good Luck and Jumping Fish
Senior Firehole Ranch Guide and Photographer at www.fishonphoto.com