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Last Minute Memorial Day Fly Fishing Ideas

5/25/2017 5 minutes

As Memorial Day Weekend arrives, busy season kicks in for most popular fishing hotspots. The key to survival is usually to plan ahead, especially if you’re looking to fish with a guide (things can get pretty crazy over the holiday weekend). If you’re a little behind on things, or just starting to consider a last-minute fishing trip, you’re not out of luck. We have a few ideas to get you started on your spur of the moment fishing adventure.

Secluded Montana Fishing Lakes

If you’re looking for a place where you can still find some good off-the-beaten-path fishing, Axolotl Lakes may be just what you’re looking for. Fishing for rainbow trout in Southwest Montana doesn’t get much more serene than this. One of the best ways to get to Axolotl Lakes is by horseback, which is why you don’t find your everyday angler fishing there. If you’re not keen to make your way there yourself, you can hire one of several outfitters in Ennis (if they’re not already booked), or at least ask for directions and what the fish are biting on. 

Everybody knows Montana fly fishing is as real as it gets, but not everyone knows the hidden spots that keep you away from the main (overcrowded) rivers. A 30-minute drive from Ennis will get you to the trailhead and just might make your Memorial Day weekend one of the best ever.

Backcountry Fishing Stream in North Carolina

The western part of North Carolina is home to renowned fisheries—the Tuckasegee River, the Davidson—and all offer great opportunities to spend a day, or even a weekend, on the water. But in order to enjoy solitude over the holiday, a backcountry fishing trip may be best the option. For that, there’s no better place than Hazel Creek. As a wilderness fly fisherman’s haven, the small stream paradise received a write up from the Underground’s Tom Chandler during the height of his chronicles.

To get there, you must take a boat ride (or canoe, or what have you) across Fontana Lake—located within driving distance of Asheville, North Carolina. Buried in the woods, you can lose yourself (but try not to actually get lost) in the untamed backcountry while taking in some beautiful scenery and feisty little trout. Get a reservation at one of several wilderness campsites for overnight trips or hire a friendly Asheville fishing guide to plan your adventure. Keep in mind that guided North Carolina fishing trips are known for hospitality and smorgasbord-style cooking.

Memorial Day at Memorial Park Utah

If you’re a fly fisher in Ogden, Utah, chances are you’ll be looking up fishing reports for the Ogden River, Weber River, or the Provo this weekend. Memorial Day can bring out scores of anglers, but one place you may be able to avoid the people hatch is Weber Memorial Park. One of the least fished of Utah’s major trout waters, the Ogden is nonetheless a prime fishing water that rivals well-known rivers with less crowds. Weber Memorial Park is adjacent to Causey Reservoir which is located on the south fork of the Ogden. Fly fishing in Utah always provides a memorable experience with abounding blue ribbon waters that are easy to find. Talk to local outfitters about other great fishing locations nearby. 

Read More Five Best Rivers for Summer Fly Fishing in Utah

Rocky Mountain Gem in Colorado

It’s no secret that some of Colorado’s best fly fishing rivers are located near Basalt, a fly angler’s paradise. The Frying Pan River and the Roaring Fork are crowd favorites, with Gold Medal stretches teeming with large trout. But often overlooked is a little backcountry gem known as the Crystal River. Local outfitters will tell you that late spring can be one of the best times to fish this fast-moving tributary of the Roaring Fork. Current seams and banks present the most fishing opportunities, since feeding requires less effort in the slower patches.

Last year, the Underground ran a series on planning a Colorado fishing trip, featuring Basalt and its prime access to local streams. Fishing guides in Basalt know that their go-to spots can rival even the most iconic fishing destinations anywhere in the world. This weekend, you may just need to carve out your own little slice of fly fishing heaven, and the Crystal could be calling.

Putah Creek Fishing in NorCal 

Don’t let the name fool you, it’s no small stream. Putah Creek is a technical fishery located in Northern California that features several species of trout, and chinook salmon. It’s a formidable river, flowing from the Mayacamas Mountains and through Napa, Yolo, and Solano counties. Monticello Dam defines the southeastern corner of manmade Lake Berryessa and presents fine fishing in its tailwaters. While other anglers are busy on the open waters of the Sacramento, savvy fly casters can head out to Putah Creek for an exciting weekend adventure.

There are many other great locations to get away last minute, and sometimes, the best fishing is found right in your own backyard. But if you’re itching for a getaway and just now realizing that the time is here and now, hopefully these suggestions will get you started planning your trip. Wherever you end up, Yobi wishes you all the best this Memorial Day, and tight lines!

Where will you be fishing this Memorial Day weekend? Undergrounders want to know! (Share your ideas in the comments section below)
Culturally inclined and well preserved, Asheville is surrounded by majestic mountains, lush national forest lands and scores of fresh water rivers and streams. Long recognized for ... moreits art-deco architecture, performing arts and numerous music festivals, this mid-size city of about 84,000 has also become well known for its abundant trout fishing and is frequently referred to as the Trout Capital of the South.


And, you don’t have to go far to fish! The Davidson River, named after an early settler to the area and voted one of the top 100 trout streams in America by Trout Unlimited members, runs right alongside town. Less than an hour’s drive easily gets you to the Tuckasegee River. The South Fork Holston River (SoHo) considered one of the finest tailwater trout fisheries east of the Mississippi, and the Watuga River, also highly regarded, can be reached in 2 hours or less. By some estimates, there are over 4000 miles of public waters within driving distance of Asheville.

Rivers like the Davidson are most popular during the spring and fall months although year round fishing is permitted in tailwaters. During the hot summer months you may find yourself competing with tubers, kayakers, canoeists, swimmers and people just enjoying a waterside picnic.

Steeped in history and surrounded by natural wonders, Asheville offers a wide variety of options to those not choosing to fish. These include:

The Biltmore Estate, the largest single family home in the US

Asheville Art Museum

Black Mountain Golf Course

Beer City Bicycles

Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians

Great Smokey Mountains National Park

Appalachian Trail

There are several options for traveling to Asheville, including:

Fly into Charlotte’s Douglas International Airport and drive for about 2 hours

Fly into Piedmont Triad International Airport (serving Winston Salem, Greensboro and High Point) and drive for approximately 2 hours

Fly into Knoxville’s McGhee Tyson Airport and drive for approximately 2 hours
Fishing Waters
Often overlooked by visitors to the area, the Crystal is an undiscovered gem worth finding. Starting at the confluence of its north and south forks, the river winds down from the alpine ... moremeadows of the Elk Mountains above Marble, Colorado and drains into the Valley of the Coal Miners. Because there are large shale deposits in its drainage basin, the “crystal” water can get muddy after a hard rain or during spring runoff, but if you catch it right it can deliver some great trout fishing.

Public access is quite good since most of the river flows through the White River National Forest and runs nearly parallel to highway #133. In the fall, brown trout come up from the Roaring Fork River to spawn, which can provide a great opportunity for anglers. The state stocks rainbow and cutthroat in the public sections between Marble and Redstone because hatches tend to be lower here than in other parts of the river. This is the only section that is stocked.

Higher concentrations of rainbow are found as you move toward the river’s confluence with the Roaring Fork. Because this is a swift moving river, the fish are known to hold out in current seams and banks where it’s possible for them to feed without exerting too much energy. Most consider late spring to early fall the best time to fish this wading river. 

Between Crystal City and Marble, the river works its way through the Crystal River Canyon, a narrow valley with a challenging landscape. Fishing is known to be good here but the terrain is rugged and access is difficult due to seasonal mudslides, snow slides and rockfalls. If this type of adventure appeals to you, be sure to only go in with an appropriate, 4 wheel vehicle.
Putah Creek is a major stream in Northern California, a tributary of the Yolo Bypass. The 85-mile-long (137 km) creek has its headwaters in the Mayacamas Mountains, a part of the Coast ... moreRange. The true meaning of "Putah" in Putah Creek has been the subject of discussion and speculation.

The creek originates from springs on the east side of Cobb Mountain south of the town of Cobb in southwestern Lake County. It descends eastward to the town of Whispering Pines, where it turns southeast, parallelling State Route 175. It passes the town of Anderson Springs, where it joins Bear Canyon Creek. North of Middletown, it curves counterclockwise around Harbin Mountain, merging in close succession with Dry Creek, Helena Creek, Crazy Creek, Harbin Creek, and Big Canyon Creek. From Harbin Mountain, it flows east again, joining Bucksnort Creek, then enters Napa County at a confluence with Hunting Creek about 11 mi (18 km) east of Middletown. In Napa County, the creek flows southeast, merging with Butts Creek just before it empties into Lake Berryessa.

Downstream of Monticello Dam, on the southeastern corner of the lake, Putah Creek leaves Napa County and becomes the boundary between Yolo County and Solano County. In this section it offers excellent fishing opportunities year round. California Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations require "catch and release" in this section of the stream, as well as the use of artificial lures with barbless hooks. The stream continues east along State Route 128, receiving Pleasants Creek before arriving at Lake Solano where the Putah Diversion Dam diverts flows to the Putah South Canal, carrying water to the residents of Vallejo. Below Lake Solano, Putah Creek receives McCune Creek, then its last tributary, Dry Creek. After the Dry Creek confluence it passes through the town of Winters to reach Interstate 505. From there Putah Creek channel continues eastward, parallelling Putah Creek Road to Stevenson Bridge Road.

Putah Creek used to flow near downtown Davis in what is now the UC Davis Arboretum channel, but early settlers redirected the creek south of Davis in 1871, and in the late 1940s the Army Corps of Engineers added levees to what is now the South Fork Putah Creek. A few miles east of Davis, the county line turns south, but the South Fork Putah Creek continues eastward, passing south of Davis to feed into the Yolo Bypass about a quarter mile (400 m) west of the Sacramento Deep Water Channel.

Steelhead trout (coastal rainbow trout) (Oncorhynchus mykiss irideus) and Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) continue to survive in Putah Creek. Although these anadromous salmonids cannot pass the Putah Diversion Dam, stream resident rainbow trout continue to thrive above Monticello Dam in the upper headwaters and grow to large size in the first few miles directly below the dam. In December 2014, the California Fish and Game Commission designated Putah Creek a "Wild Trout Water" and efforts by citizen groups to restore the creek appear to be resulting in increased salmon rearing in the lower watershed.
Game Fish Opportunities:
The Madison River is arguably one of the best trout fishing rivers in all of southwest Montana, if not the entire world! It’s certainly the most talked over, written up and frequented ... morein the state of Montana – which is considered by some the capital of fly fishing. Anglers will find plenty of great access sites to wade or float along the Madison’s banks and reservoirs (including Hebgen Lake and Ennis Lake). Rainbows, browns, cutthroats, and more abound in this majestic fishing stream.

The Madison begins its course almost twenty miles into Yellowstone National Park. Within the Park, fishing rules apply: no live bait and catch and release only. Once outside the Park the river meanders past working ranches, stately conifer forests and cottonwood lined banks, interrupted by riffles and quiet runs that contain large rainbow and trophy brown trout. Flowing alongside Yellowstone’s West entrance road, the river enters Hebgen Lake, created by Hebgen dam, until it reaches Quake Lake, a bit downstream from the dam. At this point the river is commonly called either the Upper Madison or the Lower Madison, although in fact, they are one and the same.

Upper Madison – Quake Lake to Ennis Lake
Directly below Quake Lake the river roars into 5 long miles of Class V whitewater with steep gradients and large boulders along the way. As the rapids decline, the magic begins. For the next 53 miles, often referred to as the 50 Mile Riffle, the cold river runs north and the fish jump high. Annual runs of spawning trout make their way from Hebgen Lake, rainbows in the spring and browns in the fall. Known the world over for its “hard fighting” trout, it’s not unusual to pull a 25” brown from these upper waters. In deference to the purists and fly-fishing enthusiasts, it’s wading only from Quake Lake to Lyons Bridge. Boats may be used to access the river, but if you’re going to fish, your feet must be on the riverbed. Fortunately, the Hebgen Dam releases water throughout the year, leveling its flows and relieving it of spring runoff issues and summer shrinkage.

Lower Madison – Ennis Lakes to Three Forks
A short section of the river between Ennis Dam and the power station maintains relatively low water levels and provides wonderful opportunities for wading. Past the power station the river regains its muscle and for 7 miles winds through Bear Trap Canyon. Hiking trails offer the only entry, great for those that like to walk and seek the solitude of a designated wilderness area. Floating is permitted but requires a lengthy shuttle and the ability to work through Class III-IV whitewater. Once out of the canyon the river flows in shallow riffles until it reaches Three Forks and joins the Missouri. From Warm Springs to Greycliff, the river is easily accessible for drifters and wading.
/ Angler
1 - 3 anglers
4 hours - 1 day
Fishing Waters:
Fly fishing on the Weber River is one of Utah’s overlooked gems, just a short ride from Park City Utah. The Weber River is slightly smaller than the Provo River, and can be characterized ... moreas a medium sized stream perfect for wad fishing. The Weber River has numerous access points so it never to hard to find a bit of solitude even on the weekend. Often over shadowed by the Provo River, the Weber River is a blue ribbon tailwater, that is a trophy fishery in its own right.

With a healthy diet of sow bugs these fish tend to be big. The average trout on the Weber River is 16-18 inches with many fish over 21+ inches. the Weber is largely populated by brown trout but you have a good chance at catching Rainbows and Cutthroats. The Weber River has some exceptional hatches throughout the year, including its incredible early season, “mother’s day” caddis hatch. Park City Fly Fishing Company primarily focus its guide trips on the weber river between Rock Port reservoir and Echo reservoir. The easy wading on this stretch makes the Weber River great for beginners and also challenges the most experienced anglers. Let the Park City Fly Fishing Company help you explore this diamond in the rough.
/ Angler
3 - 6 anglers
On Wed, Jul 14 2021 - Mon, Aug 23 2021
5 days - 6 days
Montana fly fishing in the Bob Marshall Wilderness is an opportunity to get a long way from anywhere, enjoy the company of your friends, and fly fish the extraordinary headwaters of ... moreMontana. Fishing trips range from 5 to 7 days and may stay in one camp location or move about several camps.

The wilderness fly fishing trips take you some of the purest, most exciting fly fishing with exceptionally beautiful country as the backdrop. On a hot summer day fly fishermen can catch 60 fish a day and rarely see anyone else on the river. There are many excellent fly fishing rivers in Montana, and remote wilderness fly fishing is truly unique and exhilarating.

Comfortable camping, safe horseback riding, outstanding wild river fishing, and quality time with friends and family are the hallmarks of a fishing trip adventure with A Lazy H.

For the non-fishermen in your group, we offer horseback rides to nearby lookouts and mountain meadows filled with wildflowers, or hikes to nearby mountain peaks. Everyone can regroup at the end of the day for recollection of another great day.
/ Boat
1 - 2 anglers
5 hours - 1 day
Join us for a fun day of fishing on one the Madison River, one of the top rated trout rivers in the US, and a legend in southwest Montana.
Welcome to Southwest Montana's finest fly fishing adventures. Blue ribbon trout water is literally steps away when you visit us in the picturesque town of Ennis, Montana. You may spend ... morethe day on our home river, the world famous Madison or drive to one of our other local rivers such as the Big Hole, Beaverhead, Ruby or the Jefferson. Whether you are a new angler or an old pro we have the expertise and patience to make your time on the water chasing wild trout a success.


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