The Yellowstone River continues to drop into shape as we approach prime time here in Paradise Valley. Clarity continues to improve and we are starting to see lots of hatch activity. The river is still quite big but we have been able to get some trips out on it and the fishing has been pretty good. Should you come to fish with us, you can expect to fish under a bobber for most of the day. Which should be changing soon! Afternoon hatches are starting to get going but clarity is keeping fish from really keying into those bugs on top. Yesterday afternoon on the river we saw good number of caddis, PMDs, and yellow sallys with a few golden stones and salmonflies in the mix.
Everyone is excited about the prospect of throwing big salmonflies at the bank but we are still waiting for it really get going. There are plenty of shucks to be found along the banks but they just haven't really gotten into the swing of things as we would like them to. Golden stoneflies are certainly the majority at this point so far. In searching the banks, there were mostly golden stonefly shucks in the willows on along the rocks. We took time to look for nymphs but was mostly recently emerged shucks to be found(see pic!). There was a larger salmonfly shuck to be found occasionally, but as I mentioned, we are still waiting for them to really go. We were able to get into fish using both larger Pat's Rubber Legs patterns in black and brown, but did better on smaller stonefly patterns. #8-12 TJ Hookers black/brown and tan/brown; Delekta's Mega-Prince and #14-10 Mercer's Poxy Back Biot Stone brought trout to the net. As a dropper, we found that either larger(#10-12) Prince Nymphs or Pheasant Tails were effective and PMD nymphs also worked well. Due to the amount of bugs in the air, there was a lot of activity going on subsurface. Our bet would be to fish a golden stone nymph trailed by a pale colored nymph in the #16-14 range.
Be as selective as you can when it comes to the water you are fishing while out on the river. Flows are currently at 10,100cfs at Corwin and 10,700cfs in Livingston, MT. We found most fish in soft water tucked along the bank. Work the inside seems when you can and keep flies tight. We were running short rigs on heavy tippet. First fly was around 4 feet from the bobber. Be sure to use some split shot to get those flies to the bottom.
We want to remind everyone out on the river this weekend, this is still big water. Don't let your impatience fool you! We've already had reports of one skiff flipping this season. The river is no joke, if you are going to get out, please don't hesitate to reach out to us regarding river conditions. We want everyone to be safe out on the river. With that, we have a lot of rain coming in the forecast. There is a good chance that we will have some mud coming, as well as a big spike on the graphs. We will be sure to update you all on the blog, Facebook, and Instagram as things continue to develop.