Streams Outside of Yellowstone National Park
.............................Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park


Fly Fishing the Ruby River Tailwater

The Ruby River tailwater, located below Ruby Lake, is a fine brown trout stream. As
much as I dislike telling about the ones that got away, I can't pass this one up. The very
first time Angie and I fished the tailwater section, we started right below the dam from
the bank. I rigged up a fairly heavy nymph rig with a strike indicator. About the third
cast with the nymph drifting right along the bank close in, a large brown took it. I fought
the trout for probably five minutes and had it almost within reach of a net (which was in
the car) but it managed to get off right before my eyes. It would have easily gone over
eighteen inches.

I went back to the car to get my net and proceeded to fish the same area the same way
and again, on about the third or forth cast I hooked another one. This one looked to be
the exact same brown trout but I feel certain it wasn't. I fought it to within reach of the
net and just as I started the scoop, it came unhooked. I was really getting frustrated. I
fished for about four more hours along that banks that day in July and managed to
catch only three more trout, all browns but none over fourteen inches long. I managed
to ruin the day by loosing the two best trout.

Since that time, we have made several stops to fish the same area and several other
places downstream of there. We have always been able to catch some trout and on a
few occasions we have caught some nice ones over eighteen inches long. I have not
been able to catch anything on a dry fly right below the dam but we have had some
decent dry fly action downstream at a couple of places you can access the stream. We
have seen several anglers just below the dam but very few downstream of the dam.

One day we meet a gentleman from Washington DC who gave us a good tip. In most
areas, if you get out of the water you are on private property. He gets in the river and
wades up stream for three or four hours and then return back downstream without
casting unless he sees a rising trout. We have not been able to try that because we
always have a TV camera along with us and trying to hold a heavy camera that long
above the water isn't a good idea.

The river is a relatively small stream below the dam. It is probably about thirty feet wide
in most places we have fished it. There are some areas that are wider of course, but
for the most part it is a narrow stream. During the summer, much of the water below the
dam is diverted for irrigation purposes and the river can get very low. It is exposed to
the sun in most places because that part of the Ruby is in open agriculture county.

We wouldn't rate the Ruby above the nearby Madison  or any other of the well known
streams but we could recommend it to anyone with the time that wanted a change of
pace. It does have some large brown trout and apparently, quite a few of them.

Copyright 2008 James Marsh     
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