It’s hard to imagine a better time to be fishing the Yellowstone River (though fall fishing sure is fun), with so many bugs emerging and returning to the river. Still a few goldenstones about, plus Caddis, Yellow Sally stoneflies, small terrestrials (ants & beetles)…. The river is dropping and the clarity is about as perfect as it gets, green but not milky or muddy. Whether you’re wading or floating, float a single dry, dry and nymph dropper, or 2 dries right along the bank, and you’ll almost certainly catch fish. Even though the salmonflies have moved upriver and the goldenstones are getting sparse, I wouldn’t hesitate to fish a big Chubby Chernobyl or even a more specific goldenstone pattern, such as a Bearly Kicking Goldenstone or a Drowned Goldenstone. A size 14 or 16 light tan caddis is a no-brainer, as it could imitate a Yellow Sally as well. We’ve got a bunch of sweet Yellow Sally patterns, if you want to go that direction. And don’t forget about nymphs and streamers. Fish whatever attractor nymphs you have confidence in, either as a dropper off a high-floating dry or under an indicator. Stripping streamers has been a bit slow with the bright sun, but get a bugger, Sparkle Minnow, or other smaller streamer deep under an indicator and get ready. Fish are starting to move into faster riffles, so if you’re not picking them up along the bank…. However you want to fish, you should be fishing the Yellowstone River right now! And you should be stopping by Sweetwater Fly Shop on your way to the water for the latest skinny!
Oh, and the water’s getting into the low 60s in the afternoons. On a hot weekend, that water will sure feel refreshing (after the initial shock, at least). Time to ditch the waders!0