“They’re Finally Here…”!!
The Gallatin is fishing great!
Salmonflies have been seen by both humans and trout from Moose Creek to green bridge this past week, and have even landed on the window at the fly shop here in Big Sky. They should be flying above Red Cliff and well into the park by tomorrow.
A couple days ago Andrew challenged each of us, throughout the day, to go across the street and try a size 10 Golden Chubby to see whether they’d be fooled; and they were. While many a trout to ‘a look-see’; I caught one and missed another within 10 minutes!
Since then it’s been report after report from our guides and guests of fish eating all kinds of salmon fly patterns from huge True Stones, size 8 Yellow Stimis, to Paulson’s Flutter Bugs (the latter “with a little action added”)!!
Finding the right back-eddy, inside-bend, or side-channel is what’s key. Slow moving water essentially. The fish will be there too as long as you approach such pockets ‘with some stealth’ and don’t barge right in knee-deep to announce your presence.
Dry flies right now are the ticket and caddis are coming off great too. If they won’t eat a salmon fly and you’re a dry fly nut like me; put on a size 14 or 16 elk hair caddis pattern at dusk and you should be into fish in no time. If you can’t fish till sundown and things get slow up top in the afternoons, try going below the surface with late June Gallatin staples like brown or orange girdle bugs, large BH princes, pink or red san juan worms, and silver or purple lighting bugs (ad way more than usual split shot though as she’s still running at fairly fast clip).
The Upper Madison is the place to be for float trips right now.
Its nymphing small patterns like 18-20 Shop Vacs or caddis pupa, for the most part in the upper stretches; with several fish taking Pat’s rubber legs, in black and olive.
For dry fly purists however and it’s big bugs you’re after use Pteronacys Chubby’s 8-10, big Yellow or orange Stimi’s, or similar colored and sized patterns and hit the banks for miles.
The streamer bite in olive and black seems to have picked up a bit too when weather’s overcast; while a weighted white zonker is a good pattern a bright sunny days; only if you’re after the biggest fish in the river.
For those wanting to walk-and-wade there are several options on the Upper try caddis dries or salmonlfies with a caddis pupa dropper around 3 Dollar or West Fork Cabins and you should find some hungry fish.
The Firehole in YNP still has some good dry fly action in afternoons and evenings using PMD’s and caddis; though traffic in the park has picked up a bit; so going during the week is better.
The Yellowstone River in the Paradise Valley section and below Livingston is still a bit high and fast, but getting better day to day; so we hope to be floating over there in next week or so.