Sure sign of spring in Red Lodge!
The Stillwater and Rock Creek are in early spring mode! Rainbows are running up the Stillwater for the spawn. Caught several nice ‘bows around Absarokee today. A couple were definitely Yellowstone fish in spawn color.
Baetis nymphs are starting to darken up before the hatch. The Stillwater is crawling with them! Should have a good hatch this season. They could start hatching soon, judging from the change in color over the last week.
Little black stoneflies. That’s my scientific name for, well… the little black stonefly that comes out on area streams this time of year. There were quite a few out today. Every once in a while, a fish or three would rise, once. Once. Not in the foam lines, out in flat water. I associate that with the stoneflies. There tends to be one here, one there. Hard to dry fly fish that kind of action. Nymphing, on the other hand, can be really good. It was good today. I fished a baetis nymph and some stonefly looking stuff. The stonefly stuff killed it. Try a Montana Prince in size 14. Regular Princes work very well, too.
Streamer fishing has been up and down. Stripping a black and blue wooly bugger worked great last week, not so great this week.
Here’s hoping for March Browns and Caddis in a couple of weeks!
The Yellowstone really gave up it’s treasures this week! A 24 inch brown and a 20 inch rainbow came out to play, both on the same day. We caught the brown nymphing, the rainbow on the streamer AND had a great baetis hatch in the afternoon. Cline and Lewis tagged lots of trout on size 18 dries to close out a fantastic day of fishing.
The Yellowstone, Stillwater, Rock Creek and other area streams are responding well to the cooler weather. We started seeing some of the fall hatches on the Yellowstone last week during the snow and rain. Baetis are already hatching on those cool, cloudy days. The big yellow duns are also starting to make their presence known. On the warm and sunny days, nymphing is the key. The standard girdle bug/prince nymph combo is producing. Don’t forget about a nice dry dropper combo as well. A yellow Madam X with a prince dropper is working well on Rock Creek. As the weather continues to cool down, expect the fishing to heat up!
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!
Baby Bald Eagles on the Stillwater
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.
George only posts pictures of himself on Facebook, but Paula caught fish, too!
Like father, like daughter! Love those whitefish, right Scott?
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.
First Fish on a Fly! Nice brown from Red Lodge Creek.
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.