Green is good! Green means GO…
Boats are back on the Yellowstone, it’s finally summertime! Flow levels have been in the “good” range for well over a week, but until the past day or so, the clarity has been leaving quite a bit to be desired. Sunday we started to see a change. No longer brown. Green was showing. With all the work that FWP, the Forest Service and others have been doing, we are all very thankful that access sites are open and allowing anglers and recreationalists get out there and check things out. More ramps are re-opening and things are definitely looking up (see later for ramp updates). Guides are getting back to the river with guests and while it’s not “lights out”, it has been about what one might expect from post runoff, just getting back on the river. A good handful plus trout of all size ranges as well as active whitefish is what you might expect. There are surprisingly good numbers of bugs hatching. We had been cautiously optimistic. Loads of salmonflies over the weekend were seen in the bushes, rocks along the river and a huge flight at Corwin on Sat/Sun. Along with these, lots of Goldenstones, Yellow Sallies, PMDs, and Caddis. Very encouraging to see that it is much like a typical July situation. Fishing and fish catching- it’s been a more subsurface game than it has been dry flies, though some nice trout have been caught on a dry stonefly pattern. Streamers both stripped/moved off the bank edges or drug on a tight line are definitely working. Both the short and long game nymphing with big stonefly patterns with or without smaller droppers has also been a great way to go. Fish are tight to the banks that have heavy cover, and are just off if it’s been a little more open. You are going to lose a ton of flies right now. Water clarity is variable. It’s been a good 10-14″ right on the edges but it does change throughout the day. There are continuing sloughing banks both in the Park along the Gardner as well as we’re sure of it along the Yellowstone and Lamar drainages. These are causing our continuing turbidity and it’s likely to be for some time yet as things re-establish themselves and settle. So you will likely see good green clarity change to turbid, less viz, and then readjust again throughout the day.
Flies to have:
Black, Olive LE Wooly Buggers sz 4-8, Bitchin’ Buggers sz 4-6, Dungeons in white, black, olive sz 2, Bow River Bugger olive/black sz 4, Sculpzilla black, olive sz 4, McKnight’s Home Invader black, yellow sz 2, Pat’s Rubberlegs (forever a staple!) in black, coffee/black, brown sz 4-12, Yuk Bugs sz 4-8, RL Crystal Bugger black, olive sz 6-8, Mega Prince sz 6, Zirdle olive, brown sz 6, Slumpbuster black sz 6, Prince nymph sz 12-16, FB PT sz 12-16, Hares’ Ear sz 12-16, Copper Johns in copper, red, olive sz 12-16, Kyle’s Sally sz 12-14, My Gal Sal sz 14-16, Delekta Big Spanker PT, and Little Spanker PT, Purple, HE colors sz 12-16, Jigged CDC Yellowspot PT sz 14-16.
Following up from our last report and the Yellowstone river boat ramp status. As of today, Wedneday, almost all the major boat ramps along the Yellowstone from Gardiner on downstream to Big Timber are open. With a few exceptions. Starting from the top by Gardiner and working downstream, here’s the list. I’ve highlighted the changes from last week’s report:
1.Queen of the Waters (Gardiner Airport) is closed. Ramp needs repair. But then it’s always been a bit of a rugged launch anyway.
2. McConnell Landing- open
3. Brogan’s Landing- site is gone and will not be available
4. Cinnabar/Corwin Springs- site has had work done to re-cut a boat ramp and gravel it. It’s a difficult launch site as there is no break from the river’s current either upstream or immediately down from the ramp area. The banks are quite steep. Assesment would be that it could be used for a hand launch of rafts, kayaks, etc but very difficult for boat & trailer. Forest Service has plans to create a more user friendly ramp downstream from the current location but has to go through state permitting process before that can happen.
5. Slip & Slide- walk in use only. Very steep banks
6. Joe Brown/Yankee Jim -open and in usable shape with the old boat ramp having been re-graveled. Parking areas have been enlarged and are by and large free of debris. Lots of big sandy piles. Toilet facility is still closed
7. Crystal Cross walk-in at Carbella bridge is closed.
8. Carbella- BLM- Open. There was a front end loader in there yesterday that was scooping the sand & silt off the boat ramp.
9. Point of Rocks West- open
10. Point of Rocks East- open, walk-in
11. 26-Mile- unofficial site, all but washed away. No real way to put-in or takeout at this point
12. Emigrant East- open, both boat ramp spaces totally usable
13. Emigrant West- open, walk-in access
14. Grey Owl- open. Roadway in is still a bit rough, but usable. Boat launch area much the same. FWP still has work to clean up more of the debris. Large piles and trees are in the parking lot area
15. Chicory- closed and will remain that way. Site all but washed away
16. Mill Creek Bridge- unofficial site, has not been used to our knowledge
17. Dan Bailey/Paradise- open and in good shape
18. Loch Leven- both day use and boat ramp as well as campground are open and usable. Roadway has been repaired. Remember to drive slowly through the neighborhood!
19. Mallard’s Rest- closed and will remain as much for the season
20. Pine Creek- open though debris piles in the access area
21. Carter’s Bridge- open
23. Highway 89 North, remains closed. FWP working to get this one open, but the concrete ramp was cantilevered over a very steep and deep drop-off. Could be a bit yet…
24. Sheep Mountain -open
25. Springdale- open
26. Grey Bear- open but hearing that there’s a big pile of debris and sand one has to deal with getting on the boat ramp
27. Otter Creek- open
28. Pelican/Greycliff -open
29. Bratten- open
30. Indian Fort/Reed Point -open
Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks website has closures and restrictions are updating on their pages regularly.