Mid-August Yellowstone River Fishing

Mid August is here and with it the Dog Days of Summer. Or so it seems in a lot of places. I won’t be one to upstage how the Yellowstone has been fishing. Frankly, it’s been getting pretty tough out there. Water levels are low without a doubt. Cooler weather last week and a day or two of muddy water from the rain we had were much appreciated. Longer nights, shorter days all have helped as well. While there are Hoot Owl restrictions to fishing hours on the Stone, those were lifted on 8/8 from Carter’s Bridge and moved downstream to Springdale bridge. It’s the river water below Springdale to the Clark’s Fork Confluence now that has the 2PM curfew on casting flies. Fishing has been best in the morning hours so getting a decent start to the day really helps. Being on at the crack of dawn has not necessarily been as beneficial. Believe it or not, we’re starting to see that fish are not responding that much until after 8-ish. Mornings we have been seeing goodly numbers of Tricos which for us on the Stone is not a hatch that has typical significance for us. But, they have been showing in generous clouds in certain places on much of the upper river all the way East. And there are nice trout to be had on a well presented small trico. Some may not care for the trico game, others seem to think it’s pretty fun. So take your pick. Small parachute Adams, purple Haze, copper haze, 2-wing tricos, small Royal Wulffs, H&L Variants have all been good. For those not caring to fish dandruff type dries, Spruce Moths have been out and the trout know about those as well! Upper valley down to around the Rest Area south of Emigrant has had the best “cover” for Sprucies. By that it’s meant that the spruce moths are found in the areas where there are evergreen trees in some proximity to the water. Won’t find them much where the Cottonwoods are. AM time has been best. The Nocturnal stoneflies have been present for several weeks now and are by and large up and down the whole river. Fish are definitely liking the medium sized Chubbies and such and again the morning times have been best. By midday, most anglers are finding themselves tossing a grasshopper as a dry and dropping a beadhead nymph off the back. How deep do you go with your dropper? If you are seemingly stuck thinking 16″ is deep, maybe think again! Try 3’…. Or as many are finding themselves doing once the morning activity wanes, bobber up and go deep. Dredging with Pat’s Rubberlegs or a small sculpin streamer as the point fly followed by smaller nymphs behind that seem to be the way most roll. And the guys that spend time doing this are successful….. Another option is that August is a great time to go and explore the smaller streams around the area! Cool water. Cool surroundings. Perhaps few people. Not bad! As seen by long-time guest, Suesy, above, there are fine trout to be found in little waters on 2-3 weight fly rods and these fish usually are quite willing to eat a well presented dry. Specific patterns don’t matter as much. Just present the fly properly!

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