Yellowstone River Fishing Report
After a brief fishable period over the weekend, the Stone is back on the climb. With the warm weather forecast, it will be tough over there, and probably best on the Spring creeks instead over in Paradise Valley. Salmonflies should start showing up in about a month or so over there, only time will tell what the water will look like during the hatch.
Big! Stick to the spring creeks over in Livingston as those will stay clear year round. Pretty neat to see the Yellowstone get so big and powerful though. We will be back on the Yellowstone sometime early summer once flows drop.
Variable flows with the typical spring weather. As a result fishing has been variable as well. Currently, the river is on the drop after the last push of higher darker water. When its on the drop it usually starts to clear into that awesome green color and the fishing can be great. We have been floating the valley mostly this spring, having success on darker deaddrifted streamers and stoneflies. More and more BWO's showing up so look for those foamy lines and eddies. Keep an eye on the USGS graph and head this way when flows have been steady or on the decline. Are big brown trout what you seek? Put the odds in your favor and work those edge pockets methodically with some meaty options such as larger streamers or large stoneflies.
We floated through Livingston earlier this week. The water had a green tint to it with about 2 feet of visibility. Our schedules had us putting on earlier than we should have, but it was better than not getting to go at all. With chilly water temps in the morning, it was very slow until about noon time. The fish were on the soft hackle hares ear, not as much action on the bigger lead nymph. Moved a couple fish off the banks on a big streamer, but no hook ups. Move around, keep trying new types of water. The wind was rough, but overall, had an awesome day with the river to ourselves and plenty of mountain views.
Should be good in and around the Spring Creeks area. Lots of open water mid Paradise Valley. Less crowded than the Gallatin or the Madison right now. Seek out that walking pace water and get those nymphs deep. Stonefly patterns with a smaller dropper is where I would start. If a challenge is what you seek, book yourself a day on the Spring Creeks and try your luck fooling the "honor roll" students of trout. Dry fly bite? If the W is down, keep those eyes peeled.
The river is mostly free of significant ice at least in the Pine to Carters stretch from what we can see from the bridges. Use caution while fishing over here. Keep your eye out for floating ice. Look for that slower walking-pace water, stonefly nymphs with midge droppers. The Yellowstone can also be a cool place to swing a two handed rod. Look for those long slower runs and cover them thoroughly.
Very icy and dangerous pretty much throughout Paradise Valley right now. The Spring Creeks are where its at right now, and the rates are discounted for the winter season. DePuy's for $40 and no crowds? Yes please! Be ready for rising fish mid-day, especially if the wind lays low and a few clouds move in. Firebead nymphs, small midge and BWO nymphs subsurface, use stealth and "hunt" for feeding fish.
A bit of a wildcard as of late. If you are looking for great scenery, no crowds, and maybe a crack at a big brown trout then this is your spot. If you are looking for super consistant easy fishing, maybe not so much. Watch the wind, keep an open mind and enjoy the last few ice-free warm days over in Paradise Valley. Always nice to fish the Stone from a boat, but the access points often put you into some great swinging runs for the two-hander crowd. Perhaps some blue-wings out and around, and fish up on them if the clouds come.
After a shaky late summer season, the river is finally back open to fishing with exception of the Emigrant to Pine stretch (as of 9-22). The trout survived the parasite pretty well, and some really large brown trout have been caught as of late. Spring creeks are also fishing well, as we are starting to see BWO's in good numbers. If I am over on the Yellowstone right now, I am tossing meat for big pre-spawn aggresive brown trout. Dead drifted or stripped large streamers will give you a quality over quantity style of fishing. For numbers, stick to the nymphs, with larger lead flies such as stonefly type stuff, trailed by a small and shiny dropper. And definitely keep your eyes peeled for the BWO hatches, especially on the cloudy days.
Same as the suggestions above. Fishing is good early and good late, but tough in between. Nymphing the usual runs results in a high whitefish to trout ratio, but hey, they still tug, right? Gotta love the natives. Looking for the trout? Fish the sneaky, secondary riffles, runs, and back channels.
Flies: ants, beetles, small hoppers, caddis dries, caddis pupa, midnight rubberlegs, psycho prince, lil' spankers