After a quick brush with a winter storm early this week, we are settling in to a nice late winter weather pattern with daytime temperatures in the 40′s for the next 7 days. As long as our nighttime temperatures stay below freezing to keep the runoff in check, there should be some good fishing opportunities for those wanting to knock the dust off their fly rods.
The Yellowstone River has been fishing well when the water is clear and the wind behaves. I’ve had a couple good afternoons catching cutthroats and browns on small baetis dries as well as some larger fish sinking a double bead stone trailed by a flashback pheasant tail. The surface action has been best between 1pm and 3pm but the fish are spooky so long casts and a low profile are a must or you’ll put them down for the day.
The fishing outlook for this summer is both good and bad depending on how you look at it. Our snowpack is hovering around 140% of average so we will see some good water coming down the Yellowstone and the other rivers in the Park this spring. It is likely that these waters won’t clear up and get fishable until at least two weeks later that the past two years pushing the float fishing season into early to mid July. Bad news if you like to fish the Salmonfly hatch near Gardiner, but great news for the fishing opportunities in August and September. Higher flows and colder water means the fish will stay near the banks longer and will continue to feed on top even late in the summer…can you say hoppers?
I’m planning a trip to the Boulder River in the next few weeks as well as a couple days on the Bighorn River in early April with our guides Tyler, Brogan, and Jeremy. Can’t wait to get on the water again… Steve