Yellowstone River Fishing Report May 18th, 2020

Well, the Yo-Yo-Stone is still doing her thing. We were able to avoid catastrophe this past week and get out on the river for what may be the last time until runoff is over. With that being said, keep an eye on the flows and our blog for any changes!

It may not have been on Mother’s Day, but our beloved caddis arrived in epic fashion. The last week on the Yellowstone proved why we have one of, if not the best trout fishery in the lower-48. Throughout the week, we had windows of opportunity where caddis were plentiful and the fish looking up. Flows were stable and we had a good window of visibility to work with. Depending on the day, the caddis were really active around midday until dark with the blanket hatch being between 3:30pm and 6pm depending on conditions. It was an incredible time to be on the water with fish rising in every direction and clouds of caddis covering the banks. Despite the amount of bugs, we were still able to get the fish to eat our flies. Double dry fly rigs with #14 attractors and a #16 caddis trailed behind were the ticket. Humpy’s and stimulators were money when bugs were thick and Bloom’s Caddis and Elk Hairs did the trick when fish were being selective. Surely there were emergers and pupae in the water column, but why fish subsurface when fish are rising in every direction! Foam lines and slower stretches of soft water were great places to find heads, and we were able to find feeding fish tight to the bank even in shallow water.

While this is all great and the Mother’s Day Caddis hatch is as memorable as they come, we do have to face the grim reality that runoff will be in full bloom any day now. The river went up over 2000cfs over night and we are looking at a week full of rain here in Paradise Valley and in Yellowstone National Park. With the Lamar spike, it is more than likely that a mud plug will be here by tonight. This is the Yellowstone however, so we can always keep our fingers crossed and hope we will get a couple more days of caddis fishing.

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