Summer is a long time coming to the high country, but the wait is always worthwhile.
Despite two snow storms during the month of June, the rivers in most of the Yellowstone region have stabilized after extensive spring runoff and the lakes are at maximum capacity. While mornings are inevitably cool even in July, we have not seen frost in more than a week. With these components in place the blooming of summer hatches is currently underway and the menu can only be described as extravagant.
On the Henry’s Fork alone we are currently being treated to Green, Brown and Gray Drakes. Smaller mayflies including Pale Morning Duns, Flavs and Blue Wing Olives are a daily feature on this and other nearby rivers. Summer caddis in assorted sizes and colors adorn both moving and still waters in morning and evening, which are the most comfortable times to be on the water when temperature and wind are considered.
Whether wading or launching a drift boat, I am struck by the number of different fly patterns that may be called into service during a day on the water in early July. With this in mind, my vest holds weight unbecoming a man of my years, but I dare not leave a single fly box behind.
These are the longest days of the year, and a starting time of 7:00 A.M. or earlier is not unusual. A day beginning with PMD Spinners and ending perhaps fourteen hour later with a Brown Drake emergence can be somewhat exhausting but to complain would be a criminal act in the mind of a true fly fisherman.
With months of far less opportunity only recently left behind, such opulence is like a feast for a starving man. Summer is a season far too short in the mountains and I plan to utilize these treasured days in the most appropriate way.