Warm weather and mixed precip of snow and rain earlier in the week has colored up the river a bit. It still has solid visibility for fishing but there is some color to it. We would say that vis is in the 2-3 ft range. Nothing to scare you away from fishing but something to consider before coming over. We have had some boats out there and fishing seems to be solid here in the valley. It seems that most of the traffic has been focused between Pine Creek and 89 Bridge. We haven’t gotten a confirmed report, but it is likely that the Shields River is putting some dirty water in the Yellowstone as well. Temps are on their way up which is definitely a positive. Cold weather the last couple of nights have brought river temps down to the low 40s but they have been consistently bumping back up to the upper 40s and around 50 degrees. Weather outlook looks solid this weekend with some rain on Saturday. Don’t expect it to have a major effect on the river but we can never be too sure.
Those that have been out are having the best luck on the usual stuff. We’ve got midges, baetis and March browns active in the system. Fishing black zebra midges, pheasant tails and prince nymphs are always a good bet. Stoneflies are always in the system so using a larger Pat’s rubberleg will never be a bad bet. If you’re itching to dry fly fish, make sure that you are looking for the deeper slower stretches on a calm overcast day. We’ve seen solid windows of rising fish when the wind isn’t ripping and the bugs come out. Keep your eyes on foam eddie lines or deeper slower water. It’s always a good bet to get out of the boat and get multiple casts through slower deeper water. Sometimes it takes the 50th drift to finally put that fly where the fish wants it. Clarity still isn’t at a point where fishing anything over 4x is necessary. Be sure to use led to get flies down if you are nymphing the deep waters under a bobber.
Streamer fishing is obviously going to get going soon. Most guys are having the best luck using smaller articulated bugs or various woolly bugger patterns. Krystal buggers in black or olive, slumpbusters, or sculpzillas would be good. Fishing a mini dungeon in tan or yellow would also be a good bet. Fish them slow in the slower deep stuff that you are running nymph rigs through.
If you have any questions about water clarity, bugs or stretches to fish feel free to call the shop. We are here Tuesday through Saturday, 9am – 5pm.