Idaho, Montana, Wyoming in June/July

edwardo

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Living in Alabama I don't get much opportunity to fly fish for trout; I do fly fish for bass and bream. My wife and I will be traveling in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming this summer and I want to fish as often as I can (or as often as I can get away with considering I'll be with my wife). In late June I'll be in Stanley at Sunny Gulch CG on the Salmon and near Redfish Lake and Valley Creek. How will these fish at that time? Any other waters?
Next will be near Pollock on the Little Salmon. Will temps be too hot here? How about bass? Next stop is Hwy. 12 at Wilderness Gateway CG on the Lochsa R. The first few days of July will be at Kit Price CG on the Coeur d'Alene R. Early July will put us in West Glacier, MT. Mid July will be at Henry's Lake State Park (will spend most of time in Yellowstone NP).
I would like to know which areas I should concentrate on, as I will likely not get to fish at all areas and keep the wife happy; early mornings or late afternoons near the campgrounds would be my best bets. I would judge myself an intermediate fly fisher; I'd prefer quantity over quality of fish. I just want to catch some fish. Any of these campgrounds have good fishing nearby? Tips on where to fish? Thank you for any help you can give.
 

cpiercem

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I haven't been in the Stanley area for a lot of years, but I will share what little I know.

Late June in Stanley maybe really nice or really cold or both, but it is certain to be beautiful! Depending on the water year streams maybe high. When you get close to coming or are there you should check with the fly shop in Stanley. (Used to be one there I think) If the streams are high, try going upstream further or fish the lakes. Valley Creek can be be fun for brook trout and cutthroats. There are streams all around the Stanley area and up in the Cape Horn area. Stanley area also has some hot spring pools.

Be sure and read the regulations for the area carefully and study the fish pictures. There are salmon, steelhead, and bull trout in the area. All of those have special regulations. Also there maybe some spawning redds it the streams. Google on how to recognize the redds so that they can be avoided.

It sounds like you have a great trip planned. Good luck and have fun.



Also Idaho Fish and Game has a very nice "Fish Planner" data guide on their website. You can use it to see what fish are in the streams and stocked in lakes. Idaho Fishing Planner
 

cwb124

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As someone who lived in Idaho for 3 years and has fished there every year for the last 10 years, Stanley is not a great base camp for fly fishing for trout. The Salmon river near there is somewhat devoid of trout, and if you get into them they will be small stocked fish. Yes there are bull trout in the drainage but you won't likely stumble across one and it's just not worth fishing around there in the low % of getting into one. I can't speak to the lakes around there as if you can drive to the edge they get hammered by spin fisherman. You're 45 mins from a great fly fishing spot but in late June the runoff will likely still be very high and fishing will be tough. I usually don't visit the backcountry until at least mid July. The area is already at ~100% snowpack with another month or so left for possible snowfall so backcountry freestone waters being fishable by June 30 is somewhat unlikely.

If you can push your trip at least 2 weeks, and ideally 3 you will be in great shape for landing a pile of native cuttys and I can tell you where to go.
 

cwb124

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Yeah if your timing is set in stone then you are better off trying the alpine lakes. Maybe even hike back into some of the lower elevation ones as some of the highest ones might not be ice out yet.
 

MCHammer

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Henry's Lake State Park, in addition to being right on the shore of Henry's Lake, is not very far from the upper sections of the Henry's Fork. You could probably get to the highway bridge on the lake outlet in about 10 minutes. It's quite a bit farther to the more popular sections, but any of the Henry's Fork should fish well in mid July. It would be a shame to travel all that distance, camp that close, and not wet a line in the Henry's Fork at least once. However, the Henry's Fork can be difficult to figure out on your own, and you may not get into numbers of fish.

On Henry's Lake in July, you would probably need a boat to get into fish. It might be worth hiring a guide on the lake (or the Henry's Fork) for a day or 1/2 day. You likely wouldn't need to drive anywhere to fish the lake.
 

djfan

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Here in Wyoming the snow has been unusually heavy. I anticipate the run off will be very high this year.
 

salmo7000

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You didn't say how many days you would be staying at Wilderness Gateway, but I recommend a couple at least. The Lochsa River is definitely worth fishing for native westslope cutthroat trout and has easy access over most of its length. In late June the water may still be a bit high, but it will be gin clear. You should be able to catch some nice fish on dries, using your standard patterns. I recommend spending your fishing time on the river and not its tributaries. You may be tempted by Boulder Creek (which flows through the campground), but focus on the river as the fish will be larger. The Lochsa is a beautiful river and can have superb fishing for large cutthroat.

I live near Pollack, Idaho. The Little Salmon is not known to be a great trout stream. It can be good for adult steelhead in the fall, winter and spring (and chinook salmon in the spring), but they won't be there in late June. Water temps probably won't be too hot, but you won't catch much other than small rainbows, most of which are actually juvenile steelhead. No bass in the Little Salmon, although there are in the Main Salmon. In late June they will be tough to find because the river will still be running a bit high and cold.

If I was going to be camped at Henry's Lake State Park, I would be fishing the lake every day, even if I had to rent a boat or hire an outfitter. It's not a dry fly lake, so you'll need flies and gear to go subsurface to catch the trout (e.g. leech patterns and sinking lines). But the trout are trophy sized. I get that everyone wants to go to the park and fish in the park. But Henry's Lake is soooo worth fishing for a day or two, as is the Henry's Fork.

Best of luck with your trip planning!
 

edwardo

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Thanks for the info. We will be 3 days each in Pollack and Wilderness Gateway and 5 days at Henry's Lake. Is it worth the time to fish from the bank at Henry's Lake?
 

MCHammer

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Is it worth the time to fish from the bank at Henry's Lake?
Earlier in the season, it is worth it. The fish come into the shallows after ice-out, generally in April or May. They will be in the shallows sometimes through May and into June, but I doubt they will be within reach of the bank in July. Can't hurt to try, though.
 

salmo7000

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Henry's Lake can be tricky, since it's a big lake, the fish are not randomly distributed, and they usually don't show on the surface. I would rent a boat at a minimum, and row or motor over to where people are congregated. Areas where tributary streams are flowing in, as well as the famous Staley Springs area, will be where most of the fish are. There are people who fish the lake darn near every day, so where you see people fishing it's a good bet the fish are there, and some are being caught.

There is a fair amount of information online on how to fish this lake, so if you're serious about it I would read up.

And of course hiring an outfitter for a day will just about guarantee you'll get into fish. The outfitter will have a boat, all the right flies, and will know where the fish are, so you won't go wrong there. But yeah, if I didn't have a boat or any idea how to fish the lake and didn't want to hire an outfitter?? I'd be fishing from the bank too. No way would I be anywhere near Henry's Lake without taking at least a few casts. You never know what can happen, and one thing is for sure, you won't catch anything unless your line is in the water!
 

pickadrake

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Henry's Fork Anglers or Headhunters, both in Last Chance, ID should be able to help
 

robtmitchell

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Hi,

I think you should check out renting a float tube from the shops in West Yellowstone.
Arricks use to rent them so call around. With a tube, fins and type 2 sinking line you will have options and get into some fish. Henry’s lake , Hebgen and Quake are all there and good fishing. You don’t need a guide on Henry’s just ask the shops for some flies and make sure you have sinking line for Henry’s, and both floating and sinking for the other 2.
For Henry’s you can try the cliffs for both shore angling (watch the drop off) and tubing or the county boat dock. If you can’t catch fish there it is slow fishing and you just have to keep trying or go to a different lake. Henr’ys Lake improved last year but is still not like the legendary past. Watch for wind on this lake and stay near the shore and watch other tubers, the same for hebgen. Quake near the inlet is a narrow so even with the afternoon wind you can still tube across since it is narrow. You can also fish the Madison River or drive to Cliff or Wade lake which are scenic and smaller within 30-40 minutes.
Hope this helps, it is a great area to explore and fish.

Rob
 
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