.............................Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park


I am calling this series Yellowstone Journals and Additional Information. It is a collection of a
rambling mixture of experiences on the streams with some notes, tips and additional
information thrown in. Some of this comes from my video tape logs (record of video shot)
and  notes made on my daily note books.

Fly Fishing the Madison River - Summary

It occurred to me that I may have indicated that I recommend fishing the
Madison River throughout the season in Yellowstone National Park. I have
mentioned before that during many years the water in the Madison gets too
warm for the trout and the fishing slows down. Conversely, I have given detailed
information on hatches that occur during the summer indicating that I am
suggesting you should fish there during the summer.

During the years when the water does get too warm for trout, or the years the
locals call "bad water" years, you should not fish the Madison River in the park.
There are many other places in the park and outside of the park that you could
fish with much better results. At least most of the larger trout move into the
cooler water of Hebgen Lake during the hot summer.

The amount of the annual snow pack affects this as well as the amount of rain
the river drainage gets in the warm months of the year. If conditions are good
and the stream stays cool throughout the summer, the larger trout may not
move into Hebgen Lake. The fishing can remain good all summer under these
conditions. This is not a rule or guideline that is official by any means but my
own guideline regarding this is when the water temperature reaches the high
sixties, say 68 or 69 degrees F., it is time to consider moving somewhere else. If
it is seventy degrees or higher, don't fish there. You will not only experience
lousy fishing conditions, you may harm the trout you catch.

When the Yellowstone fishing season first starts, the Madison may offer good
fishing but it strictly depends on the runoff. The water can be high and cold. The
Firehole River provides the best option. Other than that exception, fishing in the
Madison can be great and stay good up until about the first week in July. It
depends on the water levels and temperatures that we have discussed above
and several times before in other articles. As we have said, some years it is
possible to fish the river throughout the summer. Normally, it will be about the
third week of August before the water temperatures get low enough to bring
good fishing conditions. From the last of August until the season ends at
Yellowstone, the Madison River inside the park can provide excellent fishing

I just want to make sure I haven't confused the issue by describing hatches that
occur in the hot summer time. I suggest fishing those hatches only if the water
temperatures are reasonable.

Copyright 2009 James Marsh
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