Still fishing the Yellowstone and lovin’ it! Where else can you go and catch fish on little drys, hoppers, nymphs and streamers? Oh, I forgot. Saw three boats yesterday and one today (Saturday and Sunday). Also destroying trout on the Shoshone with one or two boats per day. You go fish the Horn, I’m doing just fine!
While the closure of the majority of the Yellowstone and it’s tributaries is an unprecedented event, it does not mean the end of fishing as we know it! Rock Creek and the Clark’s Fork remain open. That means we have the only fishable trout water from Gardiner to Billings! Montana Trout Scout will be running walk and wade trips on Rock Creek and the Clark’s Fork. We will be floating the Yellowstone below Laurel, the Shoshone at Cody, and the Big Horn. We have been fishing these waters for over 20 years. All of our readers from the Yellowstone region can rest assured that we are among the most experienced guides on these waters. If your outfitter has cancelled your fishing trip, give us a call! We are still going strong!
Fish are eating the hopper on the Stone! Good action on the hopper from about 11 am right up until the closure at 2pm. FYI, Hoot Owl restrictions apply on the Stone and Stillwater. No fishing from 2 pm till midnight due to high water temps. A double nymph rig is the best bet early. A big stonefly nymph on top with a #14 prince, pheasant tail or other standard freestone attractor below. Best action by far is from 10:30 or so until 2 pm.
Here are some pics of the Stillwater and Yellowstone last week. We are catching fish nymphing (yes, with a strike indicator.) The Stilly in particular is producing some nice size brown trout on a stone fly nymph. A hare’s ear trailer is tagging good numbers of rainbows and whitefish. Check out the mondo whitey Molly caught on the Stillwater!
For you dry fly folks, there are some fish sipping the reddish-yellow mayfly spinners in the slicks on the Stone. A tan elk hair caddis caught trout sipping egg-laying caddis in the morning on the Stillwater yesterday. Nothing eating hoppers yet, but should start any day!
The dry fly bite is heating up on the Stillwater and Rock Creek. Fish are still looking for the big stonefly adults. The Chubby Chernobyl, yellow Stimulator and yellow PMX are all working well.
Area streams and rivers are starting to fish. The Stillwater and Yellowstone rivers are in great shape for float fishing. Rock Creek, the Rosebuds and the Clark’s Fork are in clear and fishing well. Wade fishing is going to be a challenge for a while longer, so respect the river at all times.
There are several kinds of mayfly in evidence along with yellow sallies, giant golden stoneflies and the big brown stoneflies. Fish are taking a big dry, with the yellow stimulator and yellow PMX being the best bet. Chubby Chernobyls are taking some fish as well. The fish have slowed down on the big stonefly nymphs. Small mayfly patterns are working best for a dropper or nymphed deep under an indicator. Montana prince, pheasant tail and standard prince are the best producers.
All area streams are dropping fast. Wade fishing is still very challenging on most. Red Lodge Creek is one of the first to be fishable every year, and this year is no exception. Rock Creek and it’s tributaries are beginning to come around. Stoneflies are still in evidence and several flavors of mayfly are available to trout as well. Not only are the big stones around, but yellow sallies are abundant. (Small, yellow stonefly. Imitate with a yellow elk hair caddis size 14, or small yellow stimulator). The size 14 prince nymph was the big winner on Red Lodge Creek this week.
Hey out there! We usually don’t get to fish the Stillwater when the Giants are in full swing due to high water. This is one of the rare years that the water is clear this early. It’s still very juicy (high and fast). Wade fishing is very, very challenging. Float fishing is excellent. Fish ate the big dry fly well, but the dropper nymph was key. Try a Stimulator, Yellow PMX or any foam and rubber leg dry. The Montana prince and pheasant tail killed as a dropper. Stonefly nymphs took some bigger fish in the morning.
The bass were willing at the ranch this morning! Two kids caught their first fish on a fly rod. Doesn’t get any better than that.
Area rivers and streams are still swollen from snow melt, but are dropping. The Stillwater is clear and high, but floatable. It’s about 2300 cfs, which is well below average for this time of year. Not ready for wade fishing, but great for float fishing! The Yellowstone is dropping and clearing some, but it’s a long way from fishable. If you plan to float the Stillwater, try a stimulator, Jack Cabe or other stonefly dry with a rubber leg stone nymph dropped about two feet below it. Fish stonefly nymphs deep under an indicator if you aren’t hooking up.
Due to the heat wave of the last week, area rivers and streams have risen. Flows have leveled out and even come down some in places due to today’s cooler weather, but expect them to remain unfishable for the next couple of weeks. My prediction is an early end to high water this season. That means the Stillwater should be ready to float fish by the last week in June. Wade fishing will remain a challenge into early July. The good news is that the lower elevation lakes are fishing well right now. The damsels and dragons are out early. Small wooly buggers in olive or black are a good bet to imitate the nymphs. Strip ’em slowly to imitate the natural fly swimming. Damsels are being taken dry as well. There is some mayfly activity in early morning. A parachute Adams should do nicely.