It’s finally warming up here in Montana and the fish are eager to eat. But the warmth has also increased flows on the Yellowstone River, with accompanying decreases in water clarity. Some are speculating that runoff will hit before we even have a chance to fish the short but spectacular Mother’s Day Caddis Hatch! Not me. I believe we’ll be catching fish on caddis dry flies starting around 10 days from now, the first weekend in May. Dropping and warming water through next week should get things started (see the USDS flow predictions below). Cool nights at high altitudes will hold back the runoff onslaught. Be ready to take some sick days (“caddis fever”), as the madness will only last a short time before the high-altitude snow starts melting and the river turns to chocolate milk. But that’s just my educated guess; I’m confident enough to wager a 12-pack of PBR, but not a bottle of good Scotch.
In the meantime, check our fishing reports often for caddis updates. And you shouldn’t hesitate to fish the Yellowstone River before the craziness begins. Folks have already been pulling plenty of nice trout from the Yellowstone on nymphs and streamers (both stripped and dead-drifted). Blue-Winged Olive (baetis) and March Brown mayflies have been bringing fish to the surface on the river and the Paradise Valley spring creeks. Spring fishing in Montana is so much fun!0