We haven’t heard of any epic hopper action on the Yellowstone River as of yet. But hopper patterns have been taking fish pretty consistently lately, at least when the river hasn’t been muddy. Chances are, you didn’t get out last weekend because of the weather and the mud, so you should fish this weekend. Put on your favorite hopper dry and give it a shot. If you’re not getting takes, try a different color and/or size. Then a different pattern. You’ll get it dialed in. We’ve been doing well with the Thunder Thighs Hopper, but we also like the Sweetgrass Hopper, Kingfisher’s Red-Legged Hopper, the Grand Hopper, the Panty-Dropper Hopper, and of course, the Morrish Hopper. Choices, choices! Tie on an ant or beetle dry as a dropper and expect to get some takes on the little terrestrial as well. It’s that time of year, when there isn’t much in the way of hatches and the trout are looking for any morsel that hits the water. If you want to go subsurface, most of the foam hoppers will hold up a Rubberlegs just fine. I’ve been doing well with the tan/brown color in a size 8. Dropping off a Wooly Bugger or a Zonker is another good option right now. If you’re willing to enter Whitey World, smaller beadhead nymphs will pick up some trout as well. No one section of the Yellowstone has been fishing better than others lately, but if you’re intent on getting some fish on hoppers, you might try somewhere down below Livingston. Above Yankee Jim Canyon has been fishing very well lately as well. If you’re wading, that’s a good area to check out. Slip and Slide, Cinnabar (Corwin Springs) and Lo Duke Springs are all good wading spots, but be aware that road construction in the area might slow down your drive.
If you’re willing to drive a little, you might head up into Yellowstone National Park. All of the rivers in the north-east corner have been fishing well with hoppers and other terrestrials, when they haven’t been muddy. Take your pick of the Lamar, Slough Creek, or Soda Butte Creek. Just don’t expect to be alone on any of those, unless you’re willing to hike a ways, say to the second meadow of Slough. In addition to hoppers and ants, I like to try cricket patterns (or a black Morrish Hopper) on those streams. Recent events in the Park are a good reminder to be bison and bear aware, fish with a companion, and carry bear spray.
See you this weekend. Stop by Sweetwater Fly Shop to stock up, give us a fishing report, or for the free BBQ on Saturday evening (5:30-7:30)!0