Welcome to Parks' Fly Shop's detailed fishing trips reports page. Here you'll find detailed accounts by our guides and shop staff covering their recent fishing trips in Montana and Yellowstone Park, including specifics on flies, the quality of the fishing, and photos. These reports will cover the specific waters we've been fishing. If you'd like a general overview of current fishing conditions, check out our General Fishing Report.
If you'd like to submit a report to appear here, please contact PFS Head Guide Walter Wiese. You can also post comments on reports that have already been posted, including any questions you might have. Your comment will be held for approval to combat the ever-present threat of spam.
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Read on for the trip reports. If you'd like to comment on an entry or to read previous comments, click the entry title to be taken to a new page.
Here’s a fact of life: when we don’t make many posts, we’re buried in guided trips and shop customers.
Here’s a little rundown on where our full-time staff have been guiding and what we’ve been using.
Richard hasn’t been running too many trips. Mostly he’s been doing an occasional park trip with old clients. On his most recent trip on the Yellowstone near the Lamar confluence, his clients had a couple big fish on gold Chubby Chernobyls with 20-Incher droppers.
I (Walter) have mostly been running float trips lately (AM trips the past few days due to warm water. Water temps will break on Monday-Tuesday with the upcoming cooldown). My top bugs in the past couple weeks have been #16 Purple Hazy Cripples, #16 Red Missing Links, light brown and peach Bob Hoppers, and occasionally red Copper Johns and #16 Bead, Hare, and Copper nymphs. Probably 7/8 of my clients’ fish of late have eaten dry flies of one breed or another. I have been mostly floating from McConnell access down to Yankee Jim Canyon, since floats further down are often tough when the sun is bright and hot, as it has been lately. My first Yankee Jim Canyon float is now scheduled for Tuesday. I just got a new raft to replace my ancient high-side drift boat and it has taken longer to outfit it than I expected. On the plus side, I now expect to run Yankee Jim trips at much higher and lower water levels than before, and will also use some more “creative” (read: ugly/terrifying) launch points than I could use with the drift boat.
Rob has been running a mixture of floats and walk-wades in the Lamar drainage, especially the mainstem Lamar. Not sure what has been working for him on the Lamar, but on the Yellowstone he has mostly been running the same floats as I have, with a side dish of the Carbella to Point of Rocks run in Paradise Valley. His top bug choices have included the Bob Hoppers and Purple Hazes, but he’s also had clients move big fish on giant Turck’s Tarantulas.
Trevor has been running a mix of beginner brook trout walk/wades and trips to the Lamar River Canyon and lower Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Top bugs have been Bob Hoppers in various colors and Fat Frank hoppers in pink and purple, as well as small purple Chubby Chernobyls. Zebra Copper Johns have been his top nymphs of late.
Kody started guiding beginner brookie trips last month but has also had a few experienced anglers out. He has sold the rest of us on the purple Fat Frank, particularly for trips on rugged stretches of the Yellowstone.
Here’s a graphic showing predicted flows for the Yellowstone River at Corwin Springs.
That graph on the right side of the screen is crucial. That’s flow in thousands of cubic feet per second (cfs). 8000-9000cfs is the level at which the river typically becomes marginally fishable, with the Salmonfly hatch hot on the heels of this flow. According to this prediction, we’ll be looking at this flow in about ten days. Get your 6-7 weight rods and 1X-2X leaders ready.
We still have guides available most days from July 2-10 (not so much thereafter). You might want to think about booking your Salmonfly trip for July 5-10 now…
It’s a heck of a drive to get there with the road construction between Mammoth and Norris, but this season the Firehole has been SO worth it. We’ve had a couple years in a row of big flushing flows in May, and this might explain the hyper-abundance of several different types of insects we’ve been seeing all season on the Firehole. Most years, there’s a brief flurry of BWO and a smattering of tan and olive caddis, with the White Miller (Nectopsyche) the star of the show. For the past ten days or so, we’ve had a mix of White Millers, tan caddis, olive caddis, PMD, and even little olive stoneflies. This smorgasbord has the fish eating well. On Wednesday, I took a longtime client (good fisherman, if a little wedded to the dry fly) and his beginner granddaughter. Grandpa did well on Blonde Palmered CDC and Elk Caddis, while granddaughter caught good numbers of fish on Glasshead PT Soft Hackles swung in the riffles. Pictured are grandpa and granddaughter and granddaughter with her second fish (grandpa was busy fishing dries upstream for #1).
While the hatches have been good all day on the Firehole, expect them to shift to the morning to early afternoon with the warming weather, with cloudy skies typically best.
As many of our customers know, 2017 was an off year for me since I had open heart surgery on July 7th. When all was said and done it added up to two bypasses, a valve replacement ( I am now part cow ), a valve repair, a stent and installation of a pacemaker. I was in the hospital for eight days, pretty much completely out of play for a month, and on very limited duty for the remainder of the season.
Thanks to my great crew who all stepped up to fill the gaps we weathered the season and managed to meet all or our commitments. I spent a good deal of the fall and winter in rehab and am now in better shape than any time in the last three or four years.
With parts of three days in the field I am happy to report that I am now officially back in the saddle. Kody Marr, our new staff member this year, and I took a few pokes at the Firehole and spent a bit more time on the Gibbon May 30th during an orientation tour. We had our best results on the Gibbon. I got 3 browns including one about 13 inches in the hour or so we spent and then got out just ahead of a rain squall. Trevor Robbins, new last year and a huge help, and I were out with a beginner family June 13th on a half day guide trip. This was Trevor’s first ever guide trip and my first since the fall of 2016. A good time was had by all except the several brook trout landed by the clients.
On the next day Kody and I went to check out one of our favorite little creeks for beginner trips in the park. Access to the creek is complicated by the major road construction project between Mammoth Hot Springs and Norris so mission #1 was to figure out a practical way to get kids to the water. Despite it really being still too high and too cold we ended up with about a dozen brookies ranging from just under 4 inches to about 9 inches which is about the usual range for this stream. Conditions on our northern park streams are improving as the spring runoff ends and will be getting better with each passing day.
Spring Runoff… Words no angler wants to hear, but like most things in fishing you just got to work through it. A few of the guides and shop guys got out on the water and explored the Northwestern quadrant of the park with some surprising success on smaller creeks and streams. The Gardiner River was one of those sweet spots over the past few days! Although the water more closely resembles a churning cauldron of chocolate milk than a mountain stream, the fishing was GOOD with Brook and Brown trout eager to eat Stonefly nymphs of various life stages. The water is moving quick and the runs were deep leaving little choice in tactic, high sticking your larger nymphs and weighting your smaller nymphs under an indicator.
In addition to the Northwestern quadrant, we also headed over to the Madison Drainage to find better water, lower flows, and all in all better conditions for hungry trout. The water is not quite ideal as there is still a tannin hew (which almost looks like Richard’s tea), but fish were rising to drys and crushing nymphs with authority. The water was more crowded during this venture as you can expect this time of year, but fending off the crowds proved worth while giving us a taste of what’s to come over summer. This will be the best time to enjoy this drainage as water levels are dropping quickly providing clearer and slower water, soon enough this water will be nearly unfishable once the waters warm. Don’t hesitate or you may need to wait till fall for this fishery to become more active again!
For the most up to date river conditions and river know how drop us a line at (406) 848-7314. Tight lines and hang in there, clear water is around the corner!