Things are seriously heating up here on the Yellowstone River. We are beginning to see more and more hopper activity on the banks and fishing is getting good. Not too hard of a decision when it comes to flies right now. Our aquatic insects are starting to slow as water temps rise. Hay has been cut here in the valley and has pushed lots of those grasshopper closer to the banks in search of taller grass. Likewise, as things continue to dry out, the grasshoppers are going to move to the banks where grass is healthier. We're still seeing the majority of hoppers in the smaller sizes(#12-14). Expect that to change as summer continues to dry things out and those smaller grasshoppers mature. Most of those small hoppers are still flightless as their wings have not developed and are not as likely to get blown into the river. Doesn't mean that they aren't though!
With the hoppers, come the many other terrestrial insects that make the Yellowstone River so special this time of year. Ants, beetles and crickets are going to make their way into the water as well. We haven't had any significant flying ant hatches but there are certainly some out and about. Trailing an ant pattern behind a larger bug can be an effective way to find fish that are targeting ants while they're on the water. Bloom's Para-ant, Galloup's Ant Acid and the LRO Para-ant are all great bets. Be sure to have a variety of colors! We haven't seen or heard reports of many beetles but doesn't mean they aren't out there. They may be best fishing on smaller tribs or on the spring creeks. Can't say it doesn't work if you don't give it a shot!
We should start to see our nocternal goldenstones out again soon. Fishing Chubby Chernobyls, Dornan's Water Walkers and Micro Gold Members will work when trying to imitate those patterns. Rubber legs should also continue to produce while out on the river.
As far as nymphs go, there are plenty to go with. Try imitating our most common aquatic insects like BWOs, PMDs, Caddis and Yellow Sallies. Lighter bodied flies can be deadly on a bright and sunny day. We've got a lot of really good bugs in the shop if you're in need of some new patterns. It's time to put the worms away and start fishing flies!
Be efficient when out on the water. This is the time of year when you really need to test your ability to read water and find where fish are holding. Try mixing things up and fishing different types of water. We're not going t make it that easy for you! Take the time to dial things in and get it done.
The river is still big out there, especially below Livingston(4,710cfs). We've heard numerous reports of boats flipping in the town stretch. If you are not familiar with that water, go with someone who is. It is not worth losing your gear or life for a day of fishing. We will be happy to point any of you in the right direction in order to be safe on the river.
Once again, we are here to remind folks that we all need to use our due diligence on the water and at FAS sites. This has been an insanely busy season and we aren't even through July. Most of you know this, but boat ramps are meant for loading and unloading BOATS. Rigging rods, setting up boats and loading coolers is meant for the parking lot. We cannot tell you how many times we've been delayed at the boat ramp this season. Be sure to have everything in the boat ready before getting to the ramp. It shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes to be in and out. Likewise, everyone please respect the high water mark while floating. We understand people want to get out of the boat, but we cannot over step our boundaries. Use bathrooms at boat ramps when possible and do not trespass just because you want a little more privacy.
Thanks everyone who has been stopping in when you can and we look forward to seeing many of you soon! Stay safe and healthy out there!