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The Stoneflies Importance in Winter Dry Fly ...

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Published by Maurice Chioda [Maurice] on 11/30/2017 (685 reads)
Fly fishing during the winter can be an enjoyable endeavor if you put some effort into finding where the wily trout feed during the cold water temperatures. An important “hatch” in winter is that of the early black and brown stoneflies.

Stoneflies both little and large are the canary in the coal mine for water quality. They are one of the first species to disappear on impaired streams. They thrive as nymphs in highly oxygenated fast moving waters like rapids or heavy riffles and often where the thick moss grows on the rocks. I presume this helps them keep their footing while foraging on the bottom in the fast water. This is where I always find them and where I look for them to be effective when fishing larger freestone streams.

"Little Winter Stones" Illustration by Dave Weaver
"Little Winter Stones" Illustration by Dave Weaver


Limestone spring creeks are slow moving with low gradient and few if any riffles over their short length. This is why you don’t see them in great numbers there. Larger freestone streams are more likely to get too warm in summer and are not great fall or winter trout streams, unless they receive a fall stocking or have a limestone spring influence (i.e. Penns Creek).

So where you find little black stonefly "hatches" to be prolific you likely are not fishing because they are mainly stocked trout streams. And few are stocked in fall or winter after the summer "trout drought."

Their onstream behavior is an egg laying, more than a mating ritual or traditional hatch. That's why they are seen as solitary, usually downstream and across courses where the fly daps the water or skitters. If you observe their behavior and how the fish take them it’s pretty easy to mimmick but it is not a typical mayfly behavior to be sure. But it is similar to caddis fly egg laying.

This hatch is more like fishing a streamer or a wetfly that doesn't sink. I really enjoy this hatch and fish it with a #16 black bodied Henryville special with a Z-lon wing. Sometimes I trail a black bodied soft hackle on a dead drift while waiting for the initial reaction strike and then I slowly lift and drop the rod tip as the fly swings across the slower waters where the stoneflies lay their eggs. Most of the strikes come on the swing to be sure.

If you see half a dozen at a time in the air and hitting the water at a time during a still, sunny period of the day, you've hit it right.

There are several stonefly species that hatch in the winter/early spring. The tiny winter black / snowflies, aka needle flies that are smaller and hatch in the middle of winter are a good example. You can often see them crawling on the banks in the snow.

Usually a little later in the winter to early spring, the early brown and black stoneflies hatch. They are a little larger.

I have had little success fishing the tiny winter blacks vs the early brown and black (nymph or dry). The main reason, in my opinion, is the lower water temps in mid winter vs. late winter when the days are longer and temps warmer. But to be sure, often the best results come on sunny, snowy days with temps above 45 degrees, regardless of the water temp.

So find a big freestone stream with a fall/winter stocking of brown trout (more likely to rise) and on a warm sunny day in the winter/late winter, January through March. Swing ‘em if ya got ‘em.
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Published by Dave Weaver [Dave_W] on 10/31/2017 (1167 reads)
Susquehanna River, Lancaster Co., 10/21/17

WEATHER: Blue bird skies with highs in the 70s.

WATER: 3.2' at the Harrisburg gauge, gin clear, 60 degrees. A few boaters and yakkers but not a lot of activity.

HATCHES ETC: Nothing significant. A few scattered bugs, no rises; large schools of small minnows around 2" in length around shoreline areas. No crayfish seen. One bass caught in a riffle today had multiple caddis larva in his mouth and gullet. These caddis were dark colored and about #16.

Teamed up with Afishinado today to put some autumn hurtin on the Susky bass.
We arrived at mid day about 11am and fished until 5:30pm. It was a tough day. The bright sun and very clear water seemed to have the river switched off. We fished some very good sections with little success. Around 4pm, with the sun lower in the sky and softened by haze, the river seemed to wake up. We found active fish in fast water, mostly along current seams but also in shallow riffles. I had expected to find SMBs around ledge rock and and deeper tailouts today, but these spots didn't produce. The active fish were in pretty fast water. Had luck high sticking a helgy nymph and swinging a Clouser. I tried poppers briefly with no success. I managed about eight fish with three in the mid teens. Afish got fifteen bass with one at 18 inches.

A very nice day to be outside, but fishing was sub-par for what I'd expect on the big river in October. Nevertheless, with water levels still quite low, if you're a wading angler, the Susky is in great shape for FFing right now.

Members can follow along with comments in the forum here.

"Susquehanna>


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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 10/05/2017 (1540 reads)
By Brian McGeehan at Montana Angler Fly Fishing

September in the greater Yellowstone region is quickly becoming one of the most popular times to visit and fish. September is a great time to fish Yellowstone National Park because water temperatures are dropping into the optimal range and trout feel the urge to pack on the pounds for the upcoming winter. Weather in September is usually very pleasant with cool, crisp mornings and warm afternoons. September is the only month of the year when literally every river in the Park is fishable. The Madison drainage has cooled enough for productive fishing but the high country streams are still warm enough for fish to be active. Throw in a few bugling elk and some fall colors and you have the recipe for a great trip. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of September fishing in the park.

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Firehole River

As the weather cools, the Firehole once again becomes a viable option for fishing. At the beginning of the month, it may only be cool enough to fish in the mornings, but by the middle of September it should fish well all day. The main attraction during September is the White Miller Caddis, which typically emerges from mid morning until early afternoon. On cloudy days, especially towards the end of September, Blue Winged Olives emerge in the middle of the day. When no hatch is present, swing soft hackles through the riffles. I prefer drab, generic flies like a soft hackle pheasant tail or hare’s ear. In the fall, primarily due to low water, the fish in a Firehole can be a bit pickier than they were in June. Downsize your tackle a bit and take care not to spook fish with your movements.

Madison River
The main attraction on the Madison River in Yellowstone Park in the fall is the run of fish out of Hebgen Lake. While this run peaks in October and November, there will usually be some fish in the system in the latter part of September. The best way to target these fish is by nymphing or by swinging a streamer in a down and across fashion. No matter the technique, the key to catching these fish is locating where they are holding. These fish are used to a lake environment, so look for deeper, slower water. When nymphing, I prefer a stonefly nymph as my lead fly and small, nondescript mayfly pattern as my dropper. If I am swinging a streamer, I like the intruder style patterns that are popular with steelhead fishermen.

Lamar Valley- Lamar River, Slough Creek, Soda Butte Creek
Fall fishing in the Lamar Valley can be challenging due to low water and the cumulative effect of fishing pressure throughout the summer. On sunny, warm days turn to small terrestrials like ants or micro hoppers. On cloudy days, especially towards the end of the month, look for mayfly hatches of Blue Winged Olives or Tan Drakes. Plan on fishing a 5x leader that is a few feet longer than your standard 9ft length.

Yellowstone River
The Yellowstone River inside the park is a nice option in September as it falls off the radar for many once the famous stonefly hatches have ended. The river hosts an excellent Blue Winged Olive hatch, especially on cloudy days and towards the latter part of the month. Hopper patterns and attractors will still be your bread and butter for much of the month. September is a good time to start working in mayfly style attractors such as a purple haze or parachute adams as the fish may be a bit more selective than they were in July and August. A small streamer will fill the void if the dry fly bite slows.

Gardner River
The entire Gardner River should fish well in September, as the section below the Boiling River will have cooled sufficiently for all day fishing. In the early mornings, I like to nymph fish with a stonefly trailed by a attractor pattern like a prince or copper john. As the day heats up, small hoppers and various attractor patterns are your go to. Cloudy days will see hatches of Blue Winged Olives. Remember that the Boiling River essentially creates two separate rivers. Fall mayfly hatches will appear above in the cooler water first while hopper and attractor fishing will hold on longer in the warmer waters below. During the fall, keep in mind that there is always the possibility of a surprise up from the Yellowstone.

Fall fishing is truly one of our favorite windows for both Montana and Yellowstone National Park. Cool mornings and warm afternoons often produce the perfect blend of ideal water temperatures coupled with fall hatches and late season terrestrial fishing. The general family vacation season has slowed dramatically leaving the park to more serious anglers.

Brian McGeehan is a Pennsylvania native and has been guiding Western rivers in Montana, Wyoming and Colorado for 19 seasons. He is a licensed Montana outfitter and owner of Montana Angler Fly Fishing based in Bozeman, MT.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 05/24/2017 (1993 reads)

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Inside the cabin by TigerTrout4wt (Kevin)

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I went out with Tom Ciannilli on Friday evening to my favorite place on the the Little J. Great night and a classic May Sulphur hatch at about 8:00 pm to close the evening.

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Saturday Dave, Maurice, Tom, Mick and I went over to Penns. A big change in the weather with a cold front dropping the temps into the 50's and some light rain in the morning.

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Dave showing off with catching a nice bow on his first cast in the Class A section of Penns.

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The long and winding trail to fly fish.

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Tom looking kinda serious about his fly.

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We move off the Class A Section and Maurice pulls together another one of his masterful fly fishing tailgating experiences.

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Yeah that is pretty damn good when you've been standing in cold water all day.

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Of course we had an IPA with a trout on it. The bonus was it was 14 proof.

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Back at the Seven Mountains Campground the crew converges after fly fishing all day. Saturday was tough for everyone. The good news is we had some spirits to loosen everyone up and get warm. Some of the attendees for the weekend: JackM and Gino, DaveW, Maurice and Mick, Afishinado (Tom), Aducker (Jeff), pcray1231 (Pat)
DanL, tomgamber - sons Joe and Adam, Swattie87, TigerTrout4wt (Kevin), Bikerfish and Chuck, lestrout (Les) Ace Sedgley (Darby) Pennypack Flyer and friend Jerry, csoult, Bruno, Alby (Greg) & Glenfidich (Don) Trapshooter , chuckyblack09 (Chuck/Charles) Tim Robinsin (Derek), ryguyfi (Ryan) zenherper (Chris)
GenCon, Don Thompson, Paparise (Phil, +2), Captain Hook Bearfish, (Rookie) (Dave), Bopper (Tom) Skybay (Jared), and Shakey!!

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Mick was the winner of Dave Weaver's wonderful painting

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My own personal team of rivals: Jack, Maurice, Dave Kile, Tom, and Dave. The best moderators on the Internet and why we have the community we do!! Thanks guys for all your help.

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Until the next Jam!

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Published by Joe Dziedzina [Dizzy] on 05/09/2017 (17311 reads)
The Sulphurs are here!
With the best hatch of the season fast approaching, I thought it might be helpful for some of the “Newbie’s” to post a few words on the Sulphur Hatch to get them off to a flying start this month… so if anyone has anything to add in the way of tips, tricks, details, etc. PLEASE feel free to chime in!

The months of May and June here in southeastern PA bring forth the greatest event of the fly-fishing season… the SULPHUR HATCH. These yellowish mayflies are actually made up of three (3) different mayfly species; Ephemerella rotunda, E. invaria, and E. dorothea. Most streams in SEPA hold all three (3) species which can be good AND bad. It’s good because it extends the sulphur hatch from 1st/2nd week of May through much of June (most seasons)… and it’s bad because there are subtleties that the fish notice and key on (sometimes) and if the angler does not adjust, he (or she) could be in for a long evening. The good news though, is that the “bad” is well within your control.

First a quick overview of the three (3) players, in order of emergence;
Ephemerella rotunda: Duns have a medium yellow body color with slight “olive cast” to them… the largest of the three by a hair, could be as large as a size 12 hook size, but a size 14 will do (a true “tweener”)… often hatch out of very swift water (just below riffles)… hatching usually begins around Mother’s Day and lasts 2-3 weeks… hatch most often in late afternoons (4-6 pm)

Ephemerella invaria: Duns have a yellowish/orange body color … best imitated with a size 14 hook… often hatch out of slightly slower flows than rotunda’s… hatching usually begins around 3rd week in May peaking around Memorial Day (slowing down in June)… hatch most often in early evenings (6-7 pm)

Ephemerella dorothea: Duns have a pale yellow body color … best imitated with a size 16 hook (sometimes 18)… often hatch out of slower pools… hatching usually begins in last week of May and lasting well into June… hatch most often in evenings (7-8:30 pm), sometimes right at dusk in a quick “blizzard” of activity.

Believe it or not, there are other “yellow” mayflies hatching during these same times as well, but those listed above make up the Sulphur Hatch as most anglers know it. As you can see there are differences between the three and it will save your sanity to have the proper sizes/colors to cover the gamut. At the very least I would carry size 14 dry fly’s in sulphur yellow to cover the rotunda/invaria and size 16 pale yellow imitations to cover the dorothea (some anglers use a Light Cahill for this). To compound the mayhem, in addition to the over-lapping hatch activity, trout will often key on a certain “stage” of emergence from drifting nymphs, to struggling emergers, to floating duns… and just when you think you have THAT all figured out, there could be spent spinners on the water as well!

If you show up to the stream in the mid afternoon and no fish are rising and no insects are on the water (or in the air)… you could be in for some fast action by tying on a Pheasant-tail nymph (size 14-16) and fishing the riffles and runs. Prior to emergence these nymphs will fill the water column as they struggle to reach the surface. Trout will be gorging on them and you will often see flashes in the stream as fish slash from side-to-side engulfing drifting nymphs by the mouthful.

Once a good supply of duns are on the surface the trout will come up for them and the real fun begins with dry flies… fish staging in faster water will be easier targets as they have precious little time to inspect your offering. Trout holding in slower pools will be a bit tougher, but may be larger and you should still dupe them easily with a stealthy “down & across” approach. If the fish refuse your floating dry, try tying an emerger pattern or weightless nymph about 6” off the back of the dry. This will take fish that are targeting these hapless naturals. Some of you may have heard people say that the trout are easier to catch at the beginning of the sulphur hatch but get smarter as the weeks wear on? These are the guys that don’t adjust to the dorothea activity and are missing out big time. The difference in a size 16 or 14 hook may not sound like much, but place the fly’s next to each other and you will see why the trout key on one or the other. Just pay attention to what is on the water and you’ll be OK.

The last piece of the puzzle is the spinnerfall. Again, this can be as frustrating or as rewarding as you want to make it. Personally I take my largest “dry fly caught” trout every season during the spinnerfall. It’s an easy meal and one that large trout rarely pass up. As you survey the stream take notice of the presence of any swarms of “dancing” mayflies over the riffles. These will be egg-laden females preparing to drop their cargo into the drink before dying and dropping in themselves. The males in all likelihood have already fallen, spent from mating activity. During sulphur season this activity most often takes place during the early evening if not right at dark (maybe early morning if air temp’s are too high for mating flights). These mating swarms start out high above the stream surface and if you happen to notice flocks of insect-eating birds (swallows, swifts, nighthawks… maybe bats) high above, you can be pretty sure that a spinnerfall is about an hour away. Sounds complicated but it is surprisingly simple… for this activity I carry just one fly—The Rusty Spinner—in sizes 14-18. Look for subtle risers, often times near the tail ends of pools, just “dimpling’ the surface and float your imitation right down into the waiting jaws of a heavy brown. If rising fish continue to ignore your floating dun, tie on a Rusty Spinner and 9 out of 10 times you will be surprised at the response.

Always keep in mind that ANY and ALL of the above described activities could be going on… sometimes simultaneously! Just be observant, let the trout tell you what they want, and you will enjoy your cigar and cold beverage a LOT more back at the parking area… this I promise.

*NOTE* The referenced taxon above is a bit outdated as the society of entomologists (or whoever they are) have decided that E. invaria and E. rotunda are now the same species (E. invaria)… also they have added a second dorothea to E. dorothea (E. dorothea dorothea). This info is strictly for the angler’s that are over-obsessed with details (like ME for example)… the trout still eat them the same as they always have.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 05/08/2017 (3461 reads)
Friday, May 19th is the start of our annual gathering for the Paflyfish Spring Jamboree Weekend. This is our annual meet-up for members of the site to get together to fly fish, tie flies, camp and share a few stories. We have a lot of fun fishing over some of Pennsylvania's finest streams including the Little J, Penns Creek, Spring Creek, Fishing Creek and plenty more in the region.

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The pavilion at Seven Mountains Campground is rented by Paflyfish and is used as a meeting point during the weekend. Plenty of impromptu conversations, fly tying and meet-ups take place at the pavilion. The idea of the weekend is to provide a setting for a casual weekend of fly fishing in a great region of Pennsylvania . As with every year we will be meeting up in the evenings at the pavilion to catch up on the days fishing trips. Friday and Saturday mornings we meet for coffee and plan the day. Often plenty of opportunities for some fly tying and casting lessons being shared.


Video provided by Skybay


This year we are going to make the weekend at little more informal. At this time we are not going going to be planning any special speakers or activities. There is always plenty of impromptu fly tying, casting lessons and support on where to fish. So if you are unsure about the area, do not worry there are plenty of members from the site that can help get you started. Many anglers from the site come up early or stay later after the weekend. Follow the latest details in the forum here.

Friday – May 19th - Sunday, May 21, 2017
• 7:00 am Coffee at the pavilion Saturday and Sunday mornings
• 9:00 pm Gathering after the day of fishing Friday and Saturday evening (BYOB)

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Please contact Sevens Mountain Campground directly if you would like to stay there that weekend. They have a limited number of cabins and campsites. I encourage you to make your reservations now.

Sevens Mountain Campground
101 Seven Mountains
Campground Rd.
Spring Mills, PA 16875
(814) 364-1910
(888) 468-2556
Call between 8:30-4:30 M-F
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Published by Dave Weaver [Dave_W] on 03/28/2017 (1898 reads)
While most Pennsylvania fly fishermen target river smallmouths during the summer, bass can be successfully targeted all year and the "pre-spawn" is among the best times, especially if you're after large fish. When water temps hit the mid 40s - this would usually coincide with mid March here in the southcentral part of the state - river smallies become noticeably more active and move up out of their winter hibernacula. These winter locations are usually the deepest part of a river, often the low, deep, slack water in front of dams. As bass become more active, they start to spread out a bit but still tend to eschew current.

By this time of year, they start to feed quite a bit more but, unlike summer when most of the bass lay up in front of boulders and mid river structure and aggressively hit poppers, my experience has been that pre-spawn bass are shoreline denizens. In part, this is simply due to the higher, cloudier, water conditions so often prevalent in March and April. However, this preference for specific shoreline locations makes locating pre-spawn river bass more predictable. When you catch a bass, there's usually more in the same spot. Often these are large females staging to move to eventual spawning sites later in May.

Finding these spots starts in summer. If you've got a bass river nearby, walk the bank during summer and familiarize yourself with the shape of the shoreline when the water is low and clear. Come high water, you'll know where to go. Perhaps the ideal pre-spawn location would be a point of land that projects out into the river, especially if there are large chunk rocks or boulders on it. Oftentimes there are river willows or vegetation that grow on the point in summer, but that often has water flowing thru it this time of year. If downstream from this point, there is an eddy (there almost always is) and the water is at least 3-4 feet deep, it's worth checking out. If the water in the eddy is very calm with little current or swirling action, and if there are boulders or woody debris along the shoreline of the eddy - it's a hotspot! Mouths of feeder creeks are usually good too.

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Bass stage right on the current break along shoreline eddies this time of year. A typical hot spot would look something like this diagram. Image courtesy D. Weaver


These eddies don’t have to be large. I have taken multiple fish in the upper teens over the years from a single eddy that is only about 4 feet deep, maybe twenty feet in length, and the current break is only four or five feet from the shoreline. The key is slack or very slow water swirling back. When water temps are still cold, usually under 40 degrees, bass are likely in the slack water in the deepest part of the eddy, right on the bottom. As temps move up to and over 40 degrees, the bass move out and sit right along the edge of the current break where the faster water is moving as can be seen in the accompanying diagram.

Most of the time, I like a 7 or 8WT fly rod with floating line and a 8-9' tapered leader. Don’t go lighter than 12 lb test for your leader unless you absolutely have to. I typically use 14 or 15 lb. test. Despite smallies' reputation for being jumpers, in reality big smallies, especially in colder water, are bulldogs. They fight down and dirty close to the bottom and cover. You'll need a stout tippet to keep 'em out of the woody debris and shoreline brush.

bassDuring the months from about November until April, I prefer minnow imitating flies, the estimable Clouser Minnow is always dependable. For the (usually) cloudy water this time of year, black or chartreuse/orange is tough to beat. Many gear bass anglers like a black hair jig for early spring bass. I usually keep my flies for this time of year a bit on the smaller size, typically about 3-5 inches in length.

For rigging, place a large strike indicator at the base of the leader, or maybe a foot or so down the leader from the junction with the fly line. A "thingamabobber" would likely work well. I prefer the large, split, peg type bobbers you can get at the kids' fishing section at big box stores. Roll cast this rig out; you're aiming to get the fly to drop right at the outer edge of the eddy's slack water along the current break. This is often the money spot where bass are positioned during the pre-spawn. Roll cast your rig and do a mental five or ten-count to allow your fly to sink. In effect, you're just fishing a jig under a bobber. The key is to keep your retrieve slow. The indicator will suspend your streamer in the zone. Smallies often scrutinize baits/flies very carefully, then suck 'em in and turn away. Strikes are subtle this time of year and I find a big, floating strike indicator really helps detect these subtle strikes. When that indicator budges, do a strip strike and fight the fish hard. Despite the light takes, large bass are much more catchable on flies in the early spring than summer in my opinion. Big bass see a constant barrage of tube lures, plugs, and other stuff raining down on ‘em in summer and they can get shy or nocturnal. An eighteen-inch river bass in Pennsylvania is probably ten to twelve years old and has seen it all. In the early spring, I believe trophy sized smallmouths are just more willing to feed on flies after a long winter.

While it's easy to get distracted by the prime trout fishing this time of year, don't ignore river bass. Scout out a shoreline eddy on your favorite river, watch those water temps, and then present a fly low and slow along the current break. River smallies are definitely active now and this is a great time of year to catch big fish.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 02/09/2017 (1777 reads)
By Doug Casey, Montana Angler

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As a fishing guide in Yellowstone National Park, I am often asked questions like, “Where can I fish close to West Yellowstone in August?” or “What rivers near Gardiner fish well in early June?”. I pick these examples because, frankly, you would be very disappointed with the answer to each one. While Yellowstone Park is justly famous for its trout fishing, it is a very seasonal affair. You can find good fishing in the park every day of the fishing season, but no single river drainage fishes well for the duration of the season. Given that Yellowstone encompasses 2.2 million acres and sees over 3 million visitors per year, you can find yourself facing significant travel time to productive fishing if you do not plan your stay accordingly.

The two factors that drive fishing in Yellowstone are snowmelt, which is true all over the West, and the effect of thermal heating and thermal runoff, a situation unique to the park. Streams that are heavily influenced by snowmelt will not be low and clear enough to fish until sometime in July. On the other hand, streams that drain thermal areas will be too warm for fishing during mid-summer. Understanding this dynamic will help you to make sure that you are in the right place at the right time during your Yellowstone fishing trip.

Early Season: Late May thru Late June
Without a doubt, the Madison drainage is the place to be during Yellowstone’s early season. When the season opens over Memorial Day weekend, the Firehole River will be fishing well, and it is often the only river in the park that is fishable. Both the Gibbon and the Madison River will begin to fish well within about a week of the opener. Good mayfly hatches are a common occurrence in June, allowing anglers to toss dry flies while many rivers around the West are choked with runoff. Around the middle of June, several lakes in the Gibbon drainage like Grebe Lake and Cascade Lake will become accessible and the bite will be hot. The Firehole also offers several tributaries that hold fish, such as Nez Perce Creek, that can provide some variety to a trip.

The town of West Yellowstone, MT is the hub of early season fishing activity. From West Yellowstone, you can be on the Madison within 10 minutes and the Gibbon and Firehole within 20. If you wish to stay inside of the park, camping at Madison Junction puts you right in the middle of the action. Old Faithful is a good choice as well, as the Firehole River is just minutes away.

Transition Time: Late June thru July 4
The last week in June marks the transition from spring to summer fishing in the park. The waters of the Madison drainage are becoming too warm for good fishing, especially in the afternoons. This can be a tricky time, as the Lamar drainage is not quite ready yet. Fortunately, the Gardner River provides a good option during this time frame. The river will just be dropping into shape and the Salmonflies and Golden Stones will be starting to hatch. Trout Lake, which opens to fishing on June 15th, is a good option during this time frame as well. If it has been a lean snow year, it is possible that the Yellowstone River may be fishable as well. You shouldn’t count on this, but be prepared if the opportunity presents itself.

The town of Gardiner, MT makes a good base during this transitional period. You can be on the Gardner River in a matter of minutes and Trout Lake, in the Lamar drainage, is a manageable day trip. The Yellowstone flows right thru town, and you are close to good access if it is in fact clear enough to fish.

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Mid Summer: July 4 thru August
The entire northern portion of Yellowstone Park will fish well in this time frame, giving the angler plenty of options. The Gardner and Yellowstone will fish well early on in July, with Slough Creek, Soda Butte Creek, and the Lamar River gradually becoming fishable in that order. The Lamar is usually fishable by mid-July, but won’t be ready until the end of July after a winter of above normal snow. This is the time of year to fish terrestrials, and hopper fishing is something that serious anglers look forward to all year. During August, the above rivers are still fishing well, but fishing pressure can be high. This is a great time to get out the hiking boots and check out some of Yellowstone’s small creeks and backcountry waters.

The best mid-summer bases are out of Gardiner, MT and Cooke City, MT. Cooke City is very convenient to access Soda Butte, Lamar, and Slough. Gardiner provides easy access to the Gardner and the Yellowstone, while the Lamar Valley is a manageable day trip.

Early Fall: September
September is an interesting month, as it can be warm and sunny or snowing, sometimes both in the same day. This is another time of transition in Yellowstone Park. During early September, the Lamar Valley streams are still fishing, though the fish are quite spooky as they have been fished hard all summer. By mid-month, the waters of the Madison drainage will have cooled enough to fish well again. Both the Yellowstone and Gardner River should fish well all month.

If you are visiting in early September, Gardiner, MT is probably the best base. The Yellowstone and Gardner will fish consistently, and you can make the day trip to the Lamar Valley if it is fishing well. Towards the end of the month, West Yellowstone would make a good base as well. The Firehole will be fishing well and some early migrants will be showing up in the Madison from Hebgen Lake. While this run peaks in October, a few fish will be present later in September.

Late Fall: October thru early November

Just as it was at the start of the season, the Madison drainage is the place to be for the last month, up until the season ends on the first Sunday in November. Large trout push out of Hebgen Lake on their spawning run, giving anglers the shot at the biggest fish of the year. These fish are available in the Madison River as well as the lower reaches of both the Gibbon and Firehole. Target these fish, which average between 16” and 20”, with large nymphs and streamers.

On the Firehole River above Firehole Falls, hatches of Blue Winged Olives draw fish to the surface all the way to seasons end. The Firehole provides a great change of pace to chasing the big migrants during the fall. As in June, West Yellowstone, MT and the surrounding area is the place to be in October.

[Montana Angler is a sponsor of Paflyfish and was asked by me to contribute this article. I think it is important for anglers on this site to hear about all kinds of fly fishing opportunities and Brian McGeehan was gracious to share some of his adventures and images from their travels this fall. Please contact Brian if you are interested in joining him on one of these great trips. Montana Angler offers domestic fly fishing trips in Montana and Yellowstone National Park as well as international trips to Argentina, Chile and the Bahamas. - Thanks Dave Kile]
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 01/04/2017 (2644 reads)
Fly Fishing ShowWinter can chase even the most avid angers off the water for months. Some focus their time tying flies or bantering on the forums. Many enjoy the many outdoor shows. The Fly Fishing Shows are the best programs focused exclusively on fly fishing. They are highly regarded for the opportunity to check all the new gear. But the shows hold so much more!

Sure it is a great place if you are looking for trips, rods, reels, flies, waders, tying materials or any fly fishing gear. More importantly, in todays online world it is the best way to get face to face with manufactures, vendors and industry experts. You can even try casting many of the rods you just read about.


A review of the Somerset Show in 2014


Each of the shows is multi-day event that includes a very large exhibit floor, fly tiers, retail shops and plenty educational programs. The outstanding classes are lead by some of the best pros in the business. Many of your favorite celebrity authors are found teaching techniques and sharing some great ideas on how to improve you fly fishing. Some of my favorite classes are programs about fly fishing locations near and far.

For me,The Fly Fishing Shows are a great chance to catch up with some friends I don't often see. There is always plenty of members from Paflyfish wondering the exhibit floors.

The Somerset, NJ show is one of the biggest of the shows and the Lancaster event is clearly located located close to home. Here is a full list of the upcoming schedule. I like going to both!

The Fly Fishing Show Schedule
Denver, CO: January 6-8
Marlborough, MA: January 20-22
Somerset, NJ: January 27-29
Atlanta, GE: February 3 & 4
Lynnwood, WA: February 18 & 19
Pleasanton, CA: February 24-26
Lancaster, PA: March 4 & 5

You can found out more about times, entrance fees and detailed locations here at the Fly Fishing website. For some more conversations follow along here on the Paflyfish forum.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 11/23/2016 (12326 reads)
Winter Fly Fishing - what do I do?

With colder weather many give up on angling, but with the fall clean up finished it can be a good time to explore new fly fishing opportunities. December is the time to get new fishing license and break out a map.

Winter Fly FishingWhere
No secrets, but there are plenty of streams across the region that are open year-round that are often stocked in the fall or have naturally reproducing trout. Some really good opportunities can be found in the limestone spring feed streams too. They generally hold good water temperatures and some of the more challenging fly fishing opportunities. Take a little time and do some research for something new there are plenty of places to explore here in the forums!


When
Any day works as compared to moving your old soccer trophies in the basement. No sense waiting for that late evening sulphur hatch because that ain't gonna happen. On mild winter days your best bet is late morning through mid-day. Trout are going to be the most active when they get a chance to warm up a little (whatever that means when the water is 47 degrees). Certainly it will not be at the crack of dawn so a little sun on the water often helps, but not required.

Flies
If you are lucky on a warm day you may find a BWO hatch or some stone flies coming off. This is rare and will only happen on the warmest of days. So most of your time you spend chucking some lead. Everybody has their favorites and truly it depends on the stream. My approach to each stream is a little different. I often start with some streamers or woolly buggers. For stocked streams I like san juan worms, bead head nymphs and dare I say the dreaded green weenie when I get desperate (after standing in cold water that happens sooner than I like). For limers I might try more natural looking and smaller nymphs like walt's worm, pheasant tail and zebra midges. Do some experimenting.

Staying Warm
So it is pretty simple and this has been told to you plenty of times - Layers, layers and layers: Wool socks, wool hat and fingleress gloves are a must. Use a lightweight wickable base layer that will keep you dry. Winter Fly FishingAvoid cotton layers as they retain moisture and keep you cold. Add warm mid layers and outer shell or jacket that will break the wind. Try your gear on before and make sure it works. I almost busted a gut this year after the the holiday fattening season trying to fit into my neoprenes. I don't know who the jerk was that bought them, but the damn things must have shrunk or something. Throw some extra layers in the car just in case. There is a huge difference in taking a winter walk for one hour in 45 degree weather and standing in a stream that is 45 degrees. For me it is all about keeping my feet warm. I try to move about and stand on the edge of the stream every 20 minutes.

If you find the fishing slow you can get some time in scouting for some new fishing locations or just go home and move boxes from one wall to the other?

PS - leave a note, bring a blanket, food, and water. The last thing I need on my conscious is that you read this post and went fishing, got your arm stuck in a boulder or worse yet trapped in the Rathskeller in State College and didn't come home safely. Finally, as we have learned in our history classes about the Donner Party, bring along a friend, it never hurts.







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