Starting out the season look to the rivers on the west side of the park to produce the best numbers. Now is a great time to get out and fish the Firehole – if the water continues to warm up as quickly as it has, look for fishing to be done in the Firehole by the end of June, so get out there while you can. Good stream flows and visibility in the Gibbon and the Madison means that fishing pressure should be more spread out than a typical Memorial Day Weekend. The lower stretches of the Madison inside the park will likely be crowded, but have the best chance at producing large fish. Some of the more popular spots along the Gibbon are usually pretty empty on opening weekend. While your best shot at a real lunker is in the Madison, the Elk Park and Gibbon Meadows stretches usually produce really fun browns that often push into the 18” range. Try streamers and soft hackles swung under overhanging shelves along the river. Keep an eye out for mayflies and caddis in the afternoons.
As for the Madison, your best bet will likely be with rubber-leg nymphs and the ever popular hare’s ear. Fish this time of year are often less selective than some would have you believe, so look to larger sizes for the rest of the month. March Browns and Caddis have been out along the Yellowstone, so I would expect to have some out during cloudy afternoons along the Madison and Gibbon.
The North-East corner of the park will be murky for the foreseeable future, but will hopefully open up earlier than normal this year with lower-elevation snow almost nonexistent in Lamar Valley. If you’re looking for somewhere to fish in Lamar, often Soda Butte Creek is the first fishery to clear up.
Look back early next week for a first-hand report from our guides. Good Luck! We will see you on the water!
Author- Eric Lane