Yellowstone River Fishing Well Early

Good early season fishing is upon us on the Yellowstone. But if you were out fishing yesterday and haven't yet renewed your license - you shouldn't have been fishing, get in here and get your license renewed for 2016.

The river is appropriately greened up, just enough so as to conceal your efforts from the fish while allowing them to also feel a bit more relaxed feeding in the otherwise low flows of late winter. The weeks weather ahead is fairly cold at night and shouldn't get the area tributaries running much, keeping us at our current level of clarity.

Things are still a little colder in the upper valley, nymphing will be best, work stonefly nymphs, caddis larva, midge pupa and PT's.  Streamers are taking fish in the upper valley but you'll want to dead drift them or keep them on a slow swing.  

From Emigrant down stream the bite is more willing. You still want to target slower deeper winter holding water but we are starting to see fish move to more moderately paced runs. Nymphing with dark small to medium sized stoneflies (#8 & #10's haven't been too big and will thin out the whitefish) will lead to any one of the rivers resident species grabbing your offering and have done well particularly earlier in the day. As the day moves on think more about offering baetis nymphs and midge pupa as they will get more active from early afternoon onward. Dry fly action on midges has been best in late afternoon, being willing to hunt out individual fish rising as the light wanes is a lot of fun and will put you into quality fish on top. Midges are now clustering up in good numbers, think Griffiths Gnats #16-20. BWO's should not be far off, watch for dreary weather moving in to prompt them to hatch out.

For those focused on streamer fishing, look a little further downstream for water that has warmed up even a little more and you will find late post spawn browns are doing their best to recover and fatten back up. Target areas of moderate current with a lot of rocky ambush points, don't over work your retrieve but you can impart a little more action than in the upper valley.  In terms of color, think about matching your fly to the color of the water, don't just bang away with the same color all day, keep an eye on the color of the water and make changes accordingly. Dark olive, brown, and white have been hot colors as of late, good time of year for purple also.  

Lastly, it's that time of year to remind everyone to leave actively spawning fish alone. Be aware and on the lookout for fish paired up and on redds, leave them alone and seek another target. Be mindful of where you place yourself in the streambed whether it be on the river or in the creeks, don't just dismiss an area as a non-spawning area, actually look and determine if you are about to stomp through a redd. They don't all spawn at the same time leaving you with plenty of other fish to target on any given day, while promoting healthy numbers for the fishing to follow in the years ahead.


 Nymphs-  Girdle Bugs #10, Pheasant Tail Biot Bugs #12/14/16,  Prince Biot Bugs #12/14/16, Blue Copper John #16-18,  Olive Hares Ears #12/14/16,  Fur Caddis Pupa BH #12/14, Olive Caddis Pupa #12/14, Lightning Bug #18, Pheasant Tail FB Nymph #16-22, Zebra Midge #16-22, Red/Green Midge Larva #16-20, Pink/Red/Brown San Juan Worm #8-16, Tungsten Real Worm #8-12

Dries-  Griffiths Gnat #16-22, RB Midge #16-22, Ostrich Midge Para #16-20, Red Top Midge Emerger #16-20, Umbrella Emerger (Red/Olive) #16-20








Streamers- Olive/Brn Yuk Bug #4/6, White Marabou Muddler #4/6/8, White/Grizzly Conehead Bugger #4/6, Chinchilla Double Bunny #2, Zonker (chinchilla/silver) #4/6/8, Olive Mohair Leech #6/8, Olive RL Krystal Bugger #4/6


Pondering an early spring fishing trip? Time to plan your annual trip back to Livingston? It's not too early to book your guided fishing with Dan Bailey for the 2016 season. We are steadily taking bookings for the summer season and this is again a year shaping up for some fine early spring fishing. Don't rule out the possibility of giving March or April a go as they can present some of the finest fishing of the year.



1-800-356-4052, 406-222-1673   




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