Yellowstone National Park Fly Fishing Report 10.24.12

Snake River brown trout

Pre-dawn 19" brown from the Snake River

The thermometer on my Tundra read 17 degrees as I pulled into the South Entrance of Yellowstone National Park.  It was 7:15am and still dark out.  The plan was to get to the Firehole/Madison/Gibbon Rivers early to fish for run-up Brown trout from Hebgen Lake.  Unfortunately the road was closed due to the snow we had been receiving with an additional 3″ overnight.  A quick search turned up an employee who said they were sanding the roads and were trying to get them open by 8am or so. I decided to make the most of my time and went ahead and rigged up and took the short walk to the Snake River. After all there were run-up browns from Jackson Lake in there too.  After a few casts with a dark colored streamer, I was quickly into the first fish of the day, a 19″ brown! By 8:30 am, I had released both 17″ and 18″ browns that looked to be pretty fresh from the Lake.  Not bad for a detour! I took off to get back on track with the original agenda, but Craig Pass was still closed, so I was forced to drive the long way east around to Canyon and Norris.  Along the way, I spotted a solo Bison trying to cross the the slow moving Yellowstone River, before I eventually made it to the Gibbon River below the falls.
Yellowstone Bison

A Bison swims the chilly Yellowstone River

The Gibbon’s low flows and spooky fish proved difficult, despite good cloud cover to shield my efforts. I finally landed a few good trout to 18″ near the falls after scaring off the rest of their breathren.  A #6 Natural Home Invader tied by Doug McKnight did the trick.  Soon the sun popped out from behind the clouds and all the low-light loving browns went in for a siesta around 1pm, so I decided to head down to the Madison to look for a Baetis hatch. I arrived at the Madison not too far below the junction to see a sporadic hatch already in progress. I pulled out the 4wt and strung up a #20 Pablo’s Baetis Cripple.  I managed to catch a handful of smaller rainbows and browns out of the long, slow-moving runs, but didn’t see any larger trout working the surface.  The same held true for the Firehole River near Fountain Flat before the bugs and rising fish subsided around 4:30pm. All in all, it was a great day with Browns being landed on both sides of the Continental Divide between 4 different rivers!
Gibbon River

Love the blue spots on the browns!

Madison River

An nymphing angler lands a nice brown on the Madison River

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